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LimeBikes showing up all around Greensboro

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Nearly 1,000 bright green bikes are parked around Greensboro, waiting for anyone to take them for a ride.

Since LimeBikes popped up this summer, more than 6,700 people have done just that. Months into the program, the bikes are heading in a different path than first expected.

The bike ride-sharing service is designed to be used all over Greensboro. That way, the company can look at where the organic need for the bikes is greatest across the city.

LimeBike operators are working to make sure the bikes wind up in places they'll be used, and the spots in highest demand may surprise you.

You've probably seen them parked in clusters on UNCG's campus and around downtown Greensboro.

"I can't leave my office without seeing one," said Suzanne Williams, associate director of campus management for UNCG.

In fact, LimeBikes are popping up in places the people behind the bike ride-sharing service didn't expect, like at bus stops all around town, outside of homes and outside of schools.

"I expected it, I think, on a smaller scale," Williams said. "I thought the majority of the rides would be on the greenway downtown and on our campus and on A&T's campus. I thought it would be more contained."

You can pick up a LimeBike at any spot in the city, indicated by a lime icon on the company's app. You can leave a bike just about anywhere too, although the company prefers you to leave them at a bike rack or out of the way from the street and sidewalk.

"That's the beauty of a dock-less system is that your really can ride them just about anywhere," Williams said.

It also means these LimeBikes wind up in places where they're not being used -- left behind in people's front yards or kicked over on the sidewalk.

"We want to re-position that bike and put it in a high-volume area, so that more people can take advantage of it," Williams said.

If a bike stays in one spot without getting used for two or three days, LimeBike operators will get a notification on their version of the app. They'll go to pick the bikes up and bring them to a busier spot, like on Spring Garden Street, a business downtown or to UNCG's campus.

Plus, at any given time, up to 200 bikes can be out of service for maintenance. Between maintenance issues and bikes left in random spots around the city, there are fewer left for the people who want to use them, like Daryn Thomas, a student at UNCG.

"It's a convenience when you can get one, but when you can't it's frustrating," he said.

He says the system still has some kinks to work out.

"I'll pass like six, and all six of them are under maintenance, but they'll show up on the app as available," Thomas said.

But Thomas says the company's customer service is quick and efficient, and he thinks the feature is all-around a great addition to the city.

"Heck yeah, I really do," he said.

"Folks that maybe wouldn't have ridden a bike to these locations prior to LimeBike really feel like they can now," Williams added.

If you find a LimeBike left in front of your home that you want removed quickly, you can send an email to support@limebike.com and their staff will come pick it up as quickly as they can.

Williams said the LimeBike program doesn't have plans to add anymore bikes in Greensboro, but she hopes more people will continue to use the bikes.