The Rebirth of a LimeBike
It was driven over by a truck, and left for dead.
Its fate was a County scrap dump.
And it cheated death.
This, friends, is the backstory we know to the third official member of the Bike Share Museum – a genuine, second-generation LimeBike.
Where we are, these aren’t easy to come by. Lime has never willingly donated their bicycles. Ever. Those that we do see, we can’t recover legally, but when Miami-Dade seizes them and they’re not picked up, they eventually become County property, which gives us a chance to acquire them. Lime never claimed this one. Author’s note: Two others also followed, but their lock brackets had been broken off their frames. The featured bike was ultimately restored using the parts of the other two.
Lo and behold, thanks to this, the Museum now has its first LimeBike.
Or the remnants of a LimeBike.
While the severely mutilated front basket doesn’t do it any favors in the beauty department, it still looks like a relatively functional bike. Or is it?
The rims are bent – both of them – and one spoke has pulled through the rear rim. When the vehicle that backed into it smashed the basket to pieces, it also bent the handlebar and twisted both brake levers. Somewhere along the line, someone harvested the grips and twisty bell for themselves, and the fender stays have also been bent in every possible direction except “straight.” The top surface of the fenders have turned chalky from UV exposure, and the fender stay damage has broken the unique QR code tag off the fender.
Possibly the single worst bit of damage is on the frame itself: The chainguard tab has been bent inwards from vandalism; as such, the tab was gouged heavily by the chain. I know this is laughable in some respects – I should be happy the frame and fork aren’t damaged – but there’s no way this tab will bend back. It’s an aluminum frame, and what bends one way stays one way – so fixing this is
probably going to involve involved some excruciating emotions.
Even I would generally relegate this to a parts bike – but it’s the only LimeBike the museum has, and I’m grateful for it. Like GM’s EV1 electric car and the streamlined New York Central Hudson locomotives of the 20th Century Limited, it’s unknown how many of these will survive the scrapper in 30 years – and though these may be more numerous than either the EV1 or the Hudsons, their numbers are dwindling fast.
But the dead shall rise again.
And it is already rising.
So far, we’ve been able to free it of its front rack. While I don’t mind a challenge, salvaging the rack was out of the question. Surprisingly, I discovered the solar panels on these must be installed on the rack first, as there’s no way to disconnect it that doesn’t involve soldering, and the panel only fits in from the top. I haven’t inspected the headtube cover plate, so maybe the connections are kept in there. Whatever the case, I slid the remains of the shattered panel out of the rack and left the remains strapped on the front for future use.
I knew that bending the chainguard mount back had two potential outcomes: 1. It’d break, and 2. It’d break. I pulled the chainguard and chain to get to it as gingerly as possible, though the top of the tab had already been sawed almost completely through by the chain. I knew I couldn’t fandangle the frame into my hydraulic press, and I knew heat would ruin the lovely green powdercoat.
So, against my own wishes, I removed the handlebars, propped the frame on its side, and applied careful pressure with a block of wood.
The tab broke anyway. Remember what I said about those excruciating emotions? Exactly.
Time to enact Plan B. Or, more accurately, Plan JB. As in J.B. Weld.
Eventually, it should be possible to clean the JB mess off and fix the tab properly with a highly focused tig weld from the back. I don’t mind touching up the back; it’s ruining the drive-side aesthetics that worries me.
And so this is where I am right now. It’s going to take another wrecked LimeBike to get this thing into something museum-worthy, and given the condition of the Limes that eventually pop up – much less those that are legally acquirable – that’ll be a miracle in itself.
Nevertheless, just because life handed me a lemon doesn’t mean I’m not going to make some limeanade.