Life on Two Wheels: Dockless Bikes Take Charlotte By Storm

styleblueprint.comGrab a bike, and travel around Charlotte on two wheels. Image: LimeBike

Shannon Binns, the Executive Director of Sustain Charlotte says, “It’s fantastic! We’re such an auto-oriented city, and this is giving the people of Charlotte another option — and an easy option.”

Ofo Bike is the world’s first and largest dockless bike share operator. They’re in 25 cities across the country – including Charlotte. Taylor Bennett is the head of communications and says, “We’ve already seen an incredible response from residents and visitors in Charlotte. As the weather begins to get warmer, we are already seeing new peaks in the number of rides per day, and we expect those numbers will continue to increase as we get into the spring and summer.”

Dockless bikes allow users to rent a bike from virtually anywhere in the city and park it at the end of your ride, wherever you want. It’s all run through an app you download on to your phone. Once you download the app, you see a map of where all the bikes are located. The app allows you to “unlock” the bike (usually using a QR code on the bike) once you’ve paid a rental fee. The rental fee varies by company but can be as low as $1 an hour, and you can usually ride as long as you want. Dockless bikes are different from the B-Cycle model that’s been in Charlotte for a few years now. With those bikes, they are locked and have to be picked up and dropped off at certain locations around town, usually along the greenway.

The bike companies all say they love being in the Queen City and hope to stay here long after the city’s pilot program wraps. Spin is another of the dockless bike groups that’s here, and the Charlotte City Manager for Spin, Buzz Morley, says, “Charlotte is one of America’s fastest growing cities, and we’re excited to work with the city’s forward-thinking leaders to enhance Charlotte’s unique cityscape. The city is laid out very well for bike transportation and has a population that is incredibly open and willing to try out new ways of getting around town.”

Some bikes are as inexpensive as $1 per hour!

On a recent sunny weekend, Taylor Kenan and a friend rented bikes to go from Southend to Plaza Midwood. She says, “I think the bike share programs are awesome. It was a really nice day outside, and we had to get home but it was too far to walk and we didn’t want to Uber, so biking was perfect and there were tons of the shared bikes around us. It was very convenient. I would definitely use it again if I find myself in a situation where the weather is nice, my destination is too far to walk to, and I can find a bike nearby.”

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