Lime Bikes - The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Chiswick Riverside councillor Garbriella Giles reports back

Cllr Gabriella Giles

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August 13, 2023

August is normally a quiet month, with a lot of people enjoying their summer holidays. For we councillors, it’s a chance for us to take advantage of a break from the rigours of the formal and informal council agenda to take stock and start preparing for the very busy time that marks the start of the new school term and the busy schedules of the autumn.

So while others may be resting and recharging, some of us are planning. The next Chiswick Area Forum will be held on 12th of September, at Chiswick Town Hall and will revolve around the theme of the environment. While I am still waiting for confirmation of a few of our agenda items, I have invited various teams from the council to report back on what they have been working on, and we should at last see an insight to the Hounslow Flood Strategy.

As a member of the executive review board of the Thames Landscape Strategy, I attended an event at the House of Lords in early July to launch the Joint Thames Strategies Refresh, and where I was able to meet the consultant responsible for working on this on behalf of Hounslow Council. I am therefore delighted that I’ve been able to put both a name and face to the position and expect that we have a clear presentation on what the council has been working.

This meeting will also include the informal marketplace, where you will be able to come and talk to councillors, officers, and voluntary groups.

Lime Bikes

Alongside other case work, I have been party to multiple emails and messages from residents across Chiswick Riverside. It would seem that apart from being disturbed by bikes being left randomly outside their houses, or in the middle of footpaths, they are also being woken in the middle of the night when bikes are being checked and redistributed.

While many people are reporting this to FixMyStreet to get Hounslow Highways to resolve, this isn’t the correct route (email as per my previous blog) - why should it be the responsibility of Hounslow Highways to rectify yet another poorly executed traffic scheme? I worry about the additional costs of this to the council, and am sure that Hounslow Highways will be pushing back on this work due to it not being included in the original scope of works. It may well be that the contract between the council has been amended to account for this, but am sure this would not be done free of charge.

Lime Bikes - as a user

Unfortunately, last week my bike was the subject of some petty vandalism - somebody decided that they needed the front wheel to my bike more than I – while my bike was locked up at Chiswick train station. As a result, I have both literally and figuratively been without wheels. For the last 10 years, my trusty bike has been my main form of transport in London, and so getting around town this week has resulted in a reliance on the reliability of the Lime bike service.

Following dinner with a friend where they told me about the Lime Ride Pass - which for a set amount of money, you can use the bikes for a set number of minutes over a set number of days as many times as you like (the choice is up to the user). This was great to hear as, when I have used the bikes in the past, I’ve always been surprised by the cost of the ride, and how uncomfortable the rides can be. As a shorter woman, the heavy bikes and riding position are a change to a very nimble road bike!

Anyway, this week has been a bit of an experiment for me of the user experience within Hounslow and beyond. I decided on a 120 minute pass for use over five days, for a cost of £10.99 which I thought was reasonable. This has proven true, as I’ve taken seven rides that would have otherwise cost me £21.31.

Although, saying that, it’s not been seamless. Growing up in Chiswick, I’ve usually felt safer travelling by bike than walking late at night. Put it down to my own sense of self-preservation more than anything else. However, this week, after a late night at work, I found myself walking across Chiswick Back Common around midnight in search of a bike only to find it locked up behind a fence. Despite the fact that I had been able to book it. This was great. Not. Luckily, there was another bike round the corner, on Fishers Lane. Was it in the bay? No! But on the pavement on the opposite side of the street.

As this was the only bike around, I quickly hopped on, only to find out that the saddle had been irregularly manoeuvred into a very uncomfortable position. I was then able to ride to a bay near the town hall where there was a man maintaining the bikes. Knowing that I have unlimited rides with the pass, I was quickly able to switch bikes to one that worked. However, I had booked and used three bikes in the space of 10 minutes.

En route to my house, I had to go and feed a friend’s cat and, knowing that there was a bay close-by, I was pleased when I arrived at my destination and tried to park outside the house, only to be told by the app that I couldn’t leave the bike there. I dutifully pootled down to the bay, where I spotted a car turning gingerly round a corner round a bike bay with a bike with a flat tyre parked obstructing the main thoroughfare. I guess you win some and you lose some.

So, what has my experience been? As a user, the scheme has its pros and cons.

Pros: Pretty straightforward to use; quicker than getting around on foot or by public transport; the pass means it’s quite cost effective (but no cheaper than using my own bike); it can be used across London; parking bays in Hounslow are marked on the app; when using the app late at night, it asks you to verify your reflexes (to make sure riders aren’t too inebriated); and they have lights when used properly.

Cons: The bikes aren’t always in the best condition; I had to use multiple bikes to complete a straightforward journey; the bikes are cumbersome; the bikes on the app aren’t always accessible (the example above isn’t the first time this has happened to me); there are no bays close to Turnham Green tube station; the in-app reflex test is only done once, so even though I had booked five bikes over a period of an hour and 20 mins, it only asked me once; not all boroughs have opted into the bay-scheme, so this can be confusing when figuring out where to park.

I’d love to know what your experiences are, so please do let me know. The current scheme is a trial and the council wants to know about your experiences before they make a decision.

Other News

Case work continues, as do estate inspections, surgeries and preparation for the colder months. Consultations are still underway, the Council’s consultation on the Supplementary Planning Documents closes on Monday, 14th August.

Following a great Party on the Pier, the Chiswick Pier Trust has a calendar of upcoming events, which I would recommend you check out.

Councillor Gabriella Giles

Chiswick Riverside




Nothing in the immediate future


Chiswick: Every Saturday from 9.30am to 10.30am at Chiswick Library (the eight Conservative councillors take this surgery in turn).

Gunnersbury: First Saturday of the month from 10am to 11am at The Gunnersbury Triangle Club, Triangle Way, off The Ridgeway, W3 8LU (at least one of the Chiswick Gunnersbury ward councillors takes this surgery). 


Chiswick Gunnersbury (was Turnham Green) ward

Cllr Joanna Biddolph 07976 703446

Cllr Ranjit Gill 07976 702956

Cllr Ron Mushiso 07976 702887

Chiswick Homefields ward

Cllr Jack Emsley 07977 396017

Cllr Gerald McGregor 07866 784821

Cllr John Todd 07866 784651

Chiswick Riverside ward

Cllr Peter Thompson 07977 395810  

Cllr Gabriella Giles 07966 270823 

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