I live in a neighbourhood where, no joke, there are three different places to buy an e-bike within four blocks.
I thought the e-bike overload it might just be a Kitsilano thing (we lazy!) but, no: it was merely the first leak in what would soon become a flood of e-bikes into our fair province.
For those out of the loop: these e-bikes are bicycles with an electric assist. You get the benefits of cycling (breeze in your hair, easy parking, environmentally friendly, a slightly elevated heart-rate) without any stupid hills slowing you down. The electric boost makes elevation feel effortless: picture yourself flying up Oak and rejoice.
And with the introduction of ebikes to Mobi racks, a new Evo-backed bike share in Whistler, and Lime ebikes in North Vancouver, we're ready to go electric, baby. Here's what you need to know about all three ebike share programs.
Where to Rent an E-bike in B.C.
The infamously cumbersome Mobi bikes have long been a dream on the Seawall and a burden on even the slightest elevation, so the quiet addition of electric-assist bikes to their hubs last month has been a delightful surprise. The app has been vastly improved as of late, too, not only indicating which racks have e-bikes, but actually showing where you are on the map too (we are not asking a lot, here).
How to ride: Sign up for Mobi via the app.
Cost: Without a membership it's $0.35/min plus $1.50 to unlock; with an annual membership, no unlock fee and $0.15/min.
The e-bike program is available to the public in Whistler only for now, but a few lucky Vancouver-based businesses have access to private fleets as well (Deloitte, Lululemon). Seems reasonable to anticipate a wider Vancouver release in the future, if everything goes smoothly.
How to ride: Evo members will see the bikes already on their app when they're in Whistler. New users can sign up (no drivers license required for ebike access) via the app and get started riding right away.
Cost: $0.35/min plus a $1 unlock fee.
It feels right that the hilly, hilly North Shore gets credit for hosting the first e-bike sharing program in B.C (and they're available in hilly Kelowna and not-hilly-at-all Richmond, too). It's national transportation nuisance Lime, who operated bikes and scooters rentals in city around the world, with much criticism for their "drop-and-go" model that leads to some seriously cluttered sidewalks and roadways (not to mention some frustrating scavenger hunts trying to locate the scooter you booked). But when you're using these sweet red cruisers to get around Lonsdale, who cares? North Van and West Van city hall has also mitigated the common issues with these bikes by insisting on parking hubs.
How to ride: Sign up for a Lime account with the Lime app.
Cost: $0.30/min plus $1 to unlock; monthly pass options also available.