Review: LimeBike’s electric scooters are underrated
By Isabelle Bennett, Features Editor
I spent this year’s short summer out of town, so one could imagine the curiosity I felt when I returned to my downtown dwelling only to find that the city I’d previously known and loved had become saturated with something I’d never seen before: electric scooters. To pique my interest further, a huge percentage of them were identically, lime green.
I recognized the branding from the bikes that LimeBike had released earlier this year, so I could assume that the scooters were likely another mode of transportation where users could pick one up wherever, pay a fee per minute of use, and leave it wherever is convenient for them. The biggest difference I identified between their products (aside from the obvious, one was a bike and one was a scooter) was that I already had a bike, but I’d never even tried an electric scooter — and I desperately, desperately wanted to.
It felt urgent, and subsequent flashbacks to my youth led me to understand why. After a childhood of missing out on the biggest toy crazes, these electric scooters felt like the slightly-grownup version of the Skip-Its, Barbies and Heelys I had missed out on, and they were right there.
As a 21-year-old woman, I realize that Skip-Its are weird toys that lead to loneliness and extremely unbalanced leg muscles. I’ve let go of the Barbie too (and necessarily reevaluated my ideals of beauty). I still think Heelys are incredibly cool, but I have yet to find them anywhere in adult sizes — I’m holding out hope while simultaneously preparing to use that anecdote in the speech I’ll give my future children when I break the news to them that life is just not fair.
These scooters on the other hand, were extremely accessible — by that, I mean they were absolutely everywhere. The process of becoming a user was simple, too — all I had to do was download the app and enter my credit card information before finding a scooter. I chose to upload a whopping $5 credit to my account, which allowed me to ride for 15 minutes. Ordinarily there would have been a $1 activation fee, but it was easy to track down a referral code which I redeemed for one free unlock. You can get the same deal by entering the referral code exclusively for Reflector readers RZYWGTK, which may or may not give me a free unlock as well — thank you and you’re welcome.
A note: those familiar with Calgary’s electric scooter scene might have noticed that I have centred this article around the Lime scooters and ignored Bird scooters except in vague generalizations. The reason for this is because I think Bird scooters are dumb. They lack the screen that Lime scooters have which shows users how fast they’re going (from my experience, Lime scooters cap at around 20 km/h, FYI) and they’re $0.05 more per minute (Lime charges $0.30 per minute) with a higher activation fee (Lime charges $1 to get started while Bird charges $1.25). That considered, Bird appears to offer literally no advantages over Lime, except arguably being an opportunity for the rich and famous to flex their egos. I, however, find financial responsibility much more admirable and silently judge Bird users every time I see them, but you do you, boo.
Finally and most importantly, I must acknowledge that these scooters are frigging fun. Honestly, I don’t think they are a very practical mode of transportation considering their limited speed and storage in comparison to other alternatives. It also seems unlikely that people would use them for far enough distances to make it worthwhile to scoot somewhere rather than using the totally free and healthful alternative called walking. But if you’re wanting a great date idea, friend activity, or a way to get some fresh air flying solo, this is for you. One of my favourite experiences with them so far was scooting across Peace Bridge, along the river, back across to Prince’s Island Park, and home again after sunset. I hate to be melodramatic, but nothing compares to the wind in my hair, the city lights at night, and a dream fulfilled.