by Paola Bassanese
Moby Move app download? Tick.
Registered your details? Tick.
Added payment method? Tick.
Then, just unlock your bike and go! Yes, it’s that simple to use a bike for hire in Athlone. In a few clicks you can start riding a bike around town for as little as one euro.
Moby Move urban rental bikes are very economical because their hourly charge works out cheaper than taking a bus (at the time of writing in June 2022 a single bus ride on a Leap Card is 1.10 euro, and a bus journey could be only one bus stop).
How To Hire a Moby Move Urban Bike
As mentioned earlier, you simply download the Moby Move app (choose the appropriate location) and add your personal details (name, email address, phone number).
Then, add a payment method. Personally, I have added a card that I use for my freelance activity and I am finding using the bike to travel to meetings to be the most efficient mode of transport (my alternatives are buses and my own legs!).
Rental bikes are a great options for tourists and other visitors to Athlone, as well as for residents. I think it’s great to place my food shopping in the handy basket at the front of the bike and cycle home without breaking my back walking while carrying heavy bags.
Once you have your app installed, launch it on your phone and scan the bike you want to rent by scanning its QR code. This will unlock the bike and start your rental.
The hire costs 1 eur per hour and the app will round up your time spent riding to the nearest hour, so for example if you ride for 30 minutes the app will round it up to one hour and charge you 10 euro. When you add your payment details the app will retain a 10 euro deposit and will deduct money from it as you use the bike. If you use the app for less that 10 euros (ie. less than one hour) you will be charged 1 eur.
The app will also show you through its map icon where the nearest bike is. In my opinion there are not enough docking stations and bikes, and this is particularly the case in the West Bank of Athlone.
You can stop or put the rental on hold, for example to go to the shops, and the app will lock the bike for you. When you get back, scan the QR code on the bike to unlock it and continue your rental.
Your rental ends when you manually lock the bike, take a picture of its location to confirm you have returned it to one of the docking stations and confirm “end ride”. If you don’t end the ride the timer will continue to be on and no other people will be able to hire that bike.
The Rental Bikes
Each rental bike has a unique (and, mostly, impossible to pronounce) name. The bikes themselves are quite clunky and heavy, so, at least in my experience, it takes a couple of rides to get used to their weight.
When I rented a bike for the first time in May 2022 I found the handlebar heavy so I had troubles navigating. I also didn’t use the gears and I was struggling for no reason. There are three gears and, while the 2nd gear is fine for most terrains, when you go uphill you really need to switch to first gear for exple.
Each bike has a cable for securing it to its docking station and a basket. One of the advantages of renting instead of owning a bike is that you are not responsible for any punctures. You can give feedback via the app, for instance if you spot that a bike has a flat tyre.
If you click on the “i” icon you can read all the instructions, report a problem, check the Frequently Asked Questions and familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions.
The MOBY bike sharing scheme is made possible thanks to MOBY BIKES, a company based in Ireland within Dublin City University Alpha Innovation Campus.
From my own personal experience I would say it’s worth renting a bike to go around Athlone: you do get a good workout, you manage to move quickly without delays (for example, in Athlone buses run only every 30 minutes so you tend to spend a long time waiting), the price is very affordable and you even get to meet new people! In fact, I made new friends at the docking stations, as I am finding myself giving short tutorials on how to use the bike sharing scheme (and I don’t mind that at all, I am actually having a nice time doing it).