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Lyft Bikes: Pricing, Costs, Rental Tutorial & More

Last updated: December 26, 2021
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vector graphic showing a lyft bike against a background

Did you know that you can rent a bike on Lyft?

Whether you want to do some exercise or explore a new city, Lyft Bikes is the perfect way to do so.

Lyft Bikes also provides a quick and easy way to get around town.

It’s a fantastic alternative to waiting for a driver to show up, and it’s often cheaper and quicker.

What Are Lyft Bikes?

Lyft Bikes is a service that Lyft offers in several cities.

Lyft has partnered with a few bike-sharing companies to allow its users to rent bikes on the Lyft app.

As Lyft relies on different bike-sharing partnerships in different cities, exact pricing and bike availability can vary.

What Types of Lyft Bikes Are Available?

Lyft offers regular bicycles and electric bikes, though that varies from city to city.

A traditional bike is sometimes called a pedal bike because it relies entirely on your pedaling efforts to move.

An electric bicycle, on the other hand, comes with a battery.

It’s designed to move quicker, with less effort on your part.

Depending on your city, you may not be able to find both classical and electric bikes.

For example, in Los Angeles, only electric bikes are available.

The reason for that is that Lyft works with different bike-share companies.

On the other hand, both types of bikes are available in San Francisco and New York City.

In San Francisco and the Bay Area, Lyft works with Bay Wheels, while the bikes in New York City are from Citi Bike.

In many cities, Lyft offers hybrid bikes.

You can park hybrid bikes at e-bike stations and regular bicycle racks.

Furthermore, in some cities, you can also rent a scooter.

These electric scooters don’t require any pedaling, but they don’t have a seat, either.

How Do Lyft Bikes Work?

If bikes or scooters are available in your city, you will see the bike icon at the bottom of your screen when you open the Lyft app.

You can click on that icon to see available bikes near you.

You then unlock a bike with the app, start riding, and park it.

Once the ride has finished, you will pay for it using your credit card or any other payment method.

Where Are Lyft Bikes Available?

Lyft Bikes are available in the following cities:

  • The Bay Area, including San Francisco, San Jose, and the East Bay
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Denver, Colorado
  • The Metro DC area, including Washington DC and parts of Maryland and Virginia, including Fairfax County, Arlington, and Montgomery County
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • New York City, New York
  • Jersey City, New Jersey,
  • Hoboken, New Jersey
  • Portland, Oregon

Scooters are available in Denver, Washington DC, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, and San Diego.

How Much Does It Cost to Rent a Lyft Bike?

The cost of renting a bike varies from one city to another.

You may have to pay a fixed rate to unlock the bike and another fixed rate for every minute you ride.

Sometimes, you will get a set number of minutes included for free with the unlock fee.

Here are some examples of the cost of renting bikes from Lyft in different cities:

  • The Bay Area: Classical bikes cost $3 for the first 30 minutes and then $0.30 per minute. Ebikes cost an extra $0.30/minute, even during the first 30 minutes.
  • Chicago: Regular bikes cost $3.30 and allow 30 minutes of riding. Ebikes cost an extra $0.20/minute.
  • Columbus: In Columbus, the unlock fee is $2.25. There are no free minutes; each minute is an extra $0.15.
  • Denver: In Denver, it costs $1 to unlock a bike + $0.30/minute.
  • Metro DC: Pricing starts at $1/unlock + 0.05/minute for classical bikes.
  • Los Angeles: Pricing starts at $1/unlock + $0.34/minute for classical bikes.
  • New York City: Pricing starts at $3.50 for 30 minutes for classical bikes.
  • Portland: Pricing starts at $1/unlock + $0.20/minute.

Remember that pricing is subject to change at any time, as it depends on the bike-share company Lyft partnered with.

You can check pricing by finding your city on this page.

And, as you have seen, electric bikes usually cost quite a bit more than classical bikes.

Related: How much does Lyft cost?

Save With a Lyft Membership

Depending on your city, you may be able to sign up for a monthly or annual membership to enjoy discounted rates and free rides.

Here are some of the membership programs available in different cities:

  • The Bay Area: For $13/month, you can ride as many times as you want, and the first 45 minutes of each ride will be included in your membership fee. Afterward, each minute will cost only $0.20. The extra e-bike fee is only $0.20/minute.
  • Chicago: For $9/month, you get unlimited 45-minute rides and a lower e-bike fee.
  • Columbus: Members enjoy no unlock fees and lower costs per minute.

It’s also worth mentioning that low-income riders who qualify for specific government programs may be able to get a special Community Pass, which will give them access to super-low rates.

For example, in Denver, residents enrolled in a state or federal assistance program can sign up for the Community Pass, costing just $3/month + $0.05/minute for riding.

Eligibility for the Community Pass can vary from one city to another, and registration often requires an application – it isn’t as easy as simply paying the reduced fee.

How to Rent a Lyft Bike

Renting a Lyft bike is easy.

First, open your app to see if there is a bicycle icon at the bottom of your screen.

If there isn’t, bikes aren’t available in your city, or you are outside the service zone.

vector graphic showing a lyft bike against a background

How to Reserve a Lyft Bike

Once you click on the bicycle icon, Lyft will show you where the nearest bikes and docks are.

You may be able to reserve a bike in advance, depending on your city and bike type.

However, you may be charged per minute if you reserve a bike, even before you start riding it, and you can only book it for a set amount of time, such as 10 minutes, after which your reservation will expire.

How to Unlock a Lyft Bike

To unlock a bike, you will need to tap on “Unlock a bike” in your Lyft app.

Then, you will need to scan the QR code on the bike using your app or enter the numerical code on the bike into your app manually.

Whether there is a QR code or a numerical code will depend on your city.

How to Ride a Lyft Bike

Once you’ve unlocked the bike and removed it from the docking station, simply start riding it as you would any other bike.

For the most part, riding an electric bike is similar to riding a regular bike, though it might feel heavier and take some getting used to.

Wear a helmet while you are riding. In some cities, you may be able to get a discount on your helmet if you purchase it from a specific company and use Lyft’s discount code.

Also, abide by road traffic rules. Ride in bike lanes when they are available.

Don’t ride on sidewalks.

Stop at red lights, signal before turns, and follow all laws that apply to bike riders in your city.

How to Return a Lyft Bike

Once you’ve finished your ride, it’s time to return your bike.

The exact process can vary from city to city.

Usually, however, you will have to park your bike at an approved docking station.

Return Process

To return your bike, find a docking station near you with an open spot by clicking on the bike icon in your app.

Go to the station and slide the bike into a docking spot until the light turns green, indicating that the bike is locked in place and the ride has ended.

As this process can vary slightly depending on the bike-share company Lyft is working with, always follow the instructions in your app.  

Can You Leave Lyft Bikes Anywhere?

That depends on your city.

In some cities, you must use a bike docking station that belongs to the bike-share company partnered with Lyft.

In other cities, you can park your bike at any public bike rack or even at lamp poles, signposts, or retired parking meters, but you may be charged extra for doing so.

For example, it is free to park an e-bike at any Divvy docking station in Chicago.

If you park anywhere else, you will have to pay a $2 parking fee.

However, you must always park within the bike share’s service zone.

How Do Lyft Bikes Get Charged?

Lyft or the bike-share company will cover all charging, maintenance, and repair needs.

You don’t have to worry about that.

At the same time, to ensure smooth operations, it is critical to park your bike either at the company’s docking stations or, when it’s allowed, anywhere else (as long as it is within the service zone).

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it your first time riding a Lyft bike?

Here are answers to the most common questions we see.

Can You Rent Two Lyft Bikes at Once?

Unfortunately, no. If you and your friend would like to go biking together, your friend should open a Lyft account and rent a bike by themselves.

Will Lyft Transport a Bike?

No, Lyft does not transport bikes for users.

Instead, you will have to go to the bike to unlock it yourself.

If your bike breaks down while using it, try to get it to the nearest docking station, and always contact Lyft support for advice.

There may be a button on the bike that you can press to alert Lyft to the fact that the bike needs repair.

Who Has Cheaper Bikes – Lyft or Uber?

That’s hard to say, as pricing for bikes on both Lyft and Uber varies from one city to another.

In some cities, Lyft is cheaper, while Uber is the less expensive choice in others.

In some places, they may cost around the same.

You can visit the Lyft Bikes page, click on your city, and then select “Pricing” to see Lyft’s pricing in your area.

If you feel like you can’t afford Lyft, download the Uber app to see if bikes are available in your city.

In the Uber app, you should get a better idea of the unlock fee and other charges.

Remember, memberships help you save on Lyft Bikes.

Final Thoughts

If you want a quick and cheap way to get around your city while staying fit and in shape, rent a bike from Lyft.

It’s not expensive, and if you ride frequently, you can sign up for a membership for free rides and discounted rates.

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