GREENSBORO, N.C. -- You can’t miss ‘em, can you?
Those bikes – a neon, lime green – all over town. Our town. Maybe not our idea …
“I wish I could say it was my idea,” said Matt Phillips, with a chuckle.
Phillips had been working in the bicycle industry for almost a decade when someone out of California approached him with an idea for dockless, rentable bikes.
“Ride it wherever you like, whenever you're done, lock it up in a responsible, reasonable area that's not in the way of anyone who would want to be walking in that area, driving in that area,” Phillips said. “We just ask that you treat it like it's yours.”
Joel Chance has done just that 635 times.
Chance is the number one user of LimeBikes in America.
“It's an easy-access way to maintain your fitness - sustainability, they've been really good for the community, environment,” Chance said. “At the end of your ride, [the LimeBike app on your phone] will give you a summary of how may carbon emissions you saved - how many it would have been if you'd ridden in a car.”
That brings the whole concept together, doesn’t it?
“That lime green - it just fits with the Greensboro idea and sustainability,” Chance said.
For Phillips, who spent most of his professional life trying to get people on bikes, it makes sense – even for the folks in his former part of the industry, the local bike shops.
“It's been very instrumental in keeping cycling in the forefront of people's minds in the city, which I've been told by several shop owners, have kept people in the stores throughout the winter,” he said. “People are coming in, getting interested in buying their own bikes because when they see them around every day, they're thinking about it. Like, ‘Oh, yeah, I've got that one in the garage, maybe I should go get it tuned up.’ Or, ‘Hey, I need to go and buy a helmet,’ or ‘Maybe I want to get my own bike to use on the weekends that's a little more hardcore than one of these.’”
Both Phillips and Chance see this as something much more than a passing fad.
“Just seeing the difference in the cost of owning a bike, it just makes more sense to me that this should be the way of the future,” Chance said.
“Twenty-five, 50, 100 years from now, we're going to have community mobility options everywhere and they're going to be as ubiquitous and unnoticed as power lines,” Phillips said.
See the LimeBikes in action in this edition of the Buckley Report.