The Improbable Blog

The Longest Limebike ride in history

Over the Easter weekend in 2019, my good friend Magnus Mulvany and I left London to set the record for the longest ride on a Limebike in history.

Most people don’t know what a Limebike is, so I’ll explain.

Magnus inspecting the UK fleet of Limebikes

Limebikes are pay-per-minute, dockless E-bikes found in major cities around the USA and Europe. They arrived in London in January 2019 and I became aware of them around a month later while a colleague raved about them in my office.

That same afternoon, before I had ever even ridden one, I contacted the company through Facebook and asked if I could borrow two.

Limebikes UK web page

A few months earlier I had dragged my friend Sergio out to Brixton on a crisp December morning where we rented a couple of ‘Boris Bikes’ – another type of short-term rental bike available in London – and rode them 50 miles to Brighton.

Read about it HERE.

It took ten hours, cost £40 and Sergio didn’t talk to me again for weeks afterwards, so I wasn’t too offended when he told me where to go after I suggested my next idea to him.

This will make sense later (maybe)

Having Boris-biked from Brixton to Brighton, it seemed only right to give Limebikes the same treatment. I started looking for places with Lime in the name and quickly found a route from Dorset to Edinburgh, which would run from Lyme Regis to Limekilns by Limebike.

The catch was that it was 550 miles, it would take (at best) 6 days to get there and back, and Limebikes were charged at 15p per minute. A quick bit of maths showed that this would likely cost £1296 – EACH -so it was crucial to get the company on board.

It’s also worth mentioning again that they are E-bikes, designed to give you a boost when pedalling away from traffic lights and, in the words of the companies CEO, ‘Be difficult to throw up a tree’.

This meant two things:

  1. There is a battery with a range of about 40 miles and that battery would definitely run out long before we reached Scotland.
  2. The bikes are HEAVY, 35kg to be precise.

So it might seem easy to ride a power assisted bike the length of the country, but it was sounding harder by the minute.

I messaged Magnus and asked him to book a week off in April.

A typical Lunch break in April

A couple of months later and I found myself trying on padded leotards (bibs) in Decathlon with a week until the challenge began, and having done no training whatsoever.

The UK operations manager, Conor, had quickly agreed to lend us a couple of bikes, spare batteries and some tools for repairs. He agreed to this for no other reason than he thought ‘it was too stupid an idea to not go along with’.

The stage was set, and so all that was left to do was head to Dorset and apply the finishing touches to our outfits:

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