LimeBike gets its training wheels on campus


Hannah Shoemaker

Early College student Sydney Pierce rides a LimeBike for the first time on Oct. 27.//Photo by Hannah Shoemaker/The Guilfordian

Getting around Guilford is getting easier, and it’s all because of the many bright green LimeBikes parked around campus.

LimeBike is a bike-sharing program that aims to facilitate on-campus transportation. Unlike most bike-sharing programs, LimeBike requires no fixed docking stations. And unlike traditional bike ownership, requires no bike lock or purchase of a bike.

“A lot of people are curious about riding, but don’t want to sink a lot of money into a bike,” said Matt Phillips, LimeBike’s Greensboro operations and logistics manager.

According to the company’s website, LimeBike’s goal is to help people ride bikes without having to commit to owning one.

Work towards this goal began in June with the debut of the program on the University of North Carolina at Greensboro campus with 125 bikes. In the five months since its launch, the number of bikes on UNCG’s campus has grown substantially.

“We weren’t sure what to expect. We had fairly low to modest expectations,” said Suzanne Williams, associate director of campus access and travel demand management at UNCG. “We were just amazed at how much students loved the bikes.

“We have all ages, fitness levels, faculty, staff, students (riding).”

But the bikes aren’t just for students. They’re meant for anyone in Greensboro who wants to use them.

And on Oct. 12, at the Meadowfed on the Quad event, LimeBikes became available for use on Guilford’s campus as well.

Early College student Hollis Akins has been using the bikes since LimeBike’s citywide launch four months ago.

“The bikes themselves are very useful for short trips,” said Akins. “(They) became a useful thing when I had to go somewhere and didn’t need my car (once I got there).”

LimeBike costs $1 per half hour ride for the public and 50 cents for the same amount of time for a Guilford student.

To ride a LimeBike, a student needs to download the LimeBike app on their smartphone and set up an account using a credit card. The app tells users where the bikes are located and unlocks and locks them at the riders’ request.

Phillips noted that the bikes have already had an impact on the student riders and have been helping them in their day-to-day commute.

“Students say how it allows them to sleep a bit longer because they have a shorter commute to class,” said Phillips.

According to the LimeBike website, one of the aims of the program is to encourage the public to participate more in bike riding.

“Before we got LimeBike, a smaller percentage of people were bicycling compared to those taking buses and cars,” said Williams. “The buses were getting crowded … there was standing room only. And with parking, crowding was starting to creep up.

“(Now), we’re seeing more bikes riding out to apartment communities, and the buses are less crowded.”

Akins agreed that the bikes could be helpful to students, particularly those at Guilford.

“A college campus is the perfect place for (bike-sharing),” Akins said. “I wish I’d had it when my car was in the shop.”

Phillips hopes that others will feel the same way.

“As long as we’re spreading the gospel of bikes, we want people to know how fun it is and how easy it is,” Phillips said.

With the program now available at Guilford, more students may choose to ride. Akins agreed and shared his own thoughts on LimeBike.

“It’s really great for college students,” Akins said. “It’s an app you should have on your phone.”