Sunday 30 December 2018

E-Bikes Come to Ealing

Ealing Council has given American bike-sharing company Lime permission to run its electric bikes in Ealing. On 7 December, the first bikes appeared for hire.  They are equipped with an electric battery capable of taking the bike to top speeds of 14.8mph.

Users can unlock the bikes for £1 using the Lime app, and there is a 15p surcharge for every minute of use. This means a ten minute trip, say from Ealing Broadway to Northfields, would cost £2.50. A twenty-minute trip would cost £4.00. This is more expensive than rival operator Mobike whose bicycles are not electric and cost £1 for up to 20 minutes.

However, unlike Mobike, you can currently use Lime E bikes all over Ealing. If you park a Mobike outside of the blue zone shown on the Mobike app, you will be charged £20. If the bicycle is then stolen or goes missing, you could be charged £300.

When using a Lime E-bike, the electric-assist is most noticeable when you start pedalling. It kicks in around the second pedal stroke, and accelerates the bicycle more than you might expect. In contrast, the bike's top speed appears to be limited; however hard you pedal there comes a point when it doesn't seem to go any faster. From experience, this appears to be the 14.8mph quoted on their website. The bikes are likely to benefit people living in hilly parts of the borough, as the electric-assist should make it easier to cycle uphill.

As with the Mobikes, people have raised concerns about the bicycles blocking pavements. Both operators instruct users to park the bicycles in places where they won't cause an obstruction. Ealing Council has opted for dockless bicycle rental schemes as they don't require subsidies. On average each Santander docking station costs about £7000 per bicycle to install and maintain.

You can download the Lime App from the Apple Store or Google Play

Lime Website: