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Lyft’s New Bay Wheels Ebike

Starting June 11, 2019, Lyft is rebranding its bike program from Ford GoBike to Bay Wheels. At the same time, it is unveiling a new ebike to the Bay Area that will feature pedal assist for hills and a new lock that will allow users to lock their bike up outside of the docking stations.

Lyft acquired Ford GoBike in 2018 and with it purchased company Motivate that operates ride share programs around the country. At the present time, Lyft will still use Motivate to operate their programs which include others around the country such as New York’s Citi Bike.

The new Bay Wheels bikes look different than the recognizable blue Ford GoBikes with the name Bay Wheels prominently displayed on a flat black frame with splashes of pink. Lyft has also announced that it is teaming up with new artists such the company Hueman out of Oakland, to present new designs for future Bay Wheels bikes.

Pedal Assist for Hills

The new Bay Wheels bikes will all come with pedal assist, a feature that was suspended on Ford GoBikes in April of 2019 because riders complained of the brakes grabbing too much. At least one rider said the bike threw him over the handle bars when he braked for a motorcycle that cut him off.

The new ebikes pedal assist is said to be improved over the older models and will allow riders to easily scale some of San Francisco’s famous hills. This is great new for some riders who were upset when Lyft pulled their pedal assist bikes.

Expanded Locking

The new bike also comes with the ability to lock the bike in other places than just their official docking stations. The bike comes with a cable that allows you to end the ride by locking the bike by using the cable with any of the bike racks in the service area of Bay Wheels.

Program Timeline

On June 11, 2019, Lyft launched its new bikes in San Jose and plans to place them in San Francisco and the East Bay by the end of the month. This new rollout comes just a couple weeks after Lyft filed a lawsuit against San Francisco for announcing it is accepting applications for new companies to add dockless ride-share bikes to the city.

Lyft maintains that it signed a 10-year exclusive contract in San Francisco for all ride-share bikes while the city says that exclusive is only for docked bikes and not dockless bikes which the city wants to see increased.

Eventually, Lyft will convert all of its fleet in the Bay Area, and around the country, to its Bay Wheels bikes. This will phase out the traditional blue Ford GoBike and Lyft feels that then new bikes will give riders the best of all options: docked, dockless and pedal assist.