Me outside the Graduate Center (CUNY) on my Citi Bike (Photo courtesy of Manfrankager)

5 Pros & Woes from a First Time Citi Bike Ride

Like many of my New Yorker friends I let the summer slide by without taking a ride on a Citi bike. As you know if you’ve seen some of my past posts – I do have a couple bikes, so why use Citi bike?  Last week I gave it a try, and here’s what I found:

Me outside the Graduate Center (CUNY) on my Citi Bike (Photo courtesy of Manfrankager)
Outside the Graduate Center (CUNY) on my Citi Bike (Photo courtesy of Manfrankager)

Citi Bike Pros:

1. Crosstown Cruising

It’s great for short little jaunts, like going from the red line to the east side, or from the Graduate Center (34th and 5th) where I go to school, to Baruch (24th and Lex), where our gym is located.

Crosstown NYC
Crosstown NYC

 2. Freedom

You get a little exercise and fresh air, instead of being stuffed in the subways and sluggish buses.

3. One Free Ride!

The price is reasonable, I did the $25 for a week pass, and $100 for the year doesn’t seem so bad either. Citi even has a promotional offer this month – a day for free!

4. Where’s My Bike?

It’s so reasonable that in midtown the bikes were all gone at 6pm – luckily the Citi Bike website has this realtime map so you can check which stations have bikes and which don’t.

Citi Bike Station Map 2:30 on 9-18-2013
Citi Bike Station Map 2:30 on 9-18-2013

5. Room for Two

As Manfrankager and I found out you can even ride tandem – getting more bang (pause) for your buck!

(Sorry no photo – you’ll have to use the old imagination).


$hiti Bike Woes:

(sorry- I couldn’t help myself)

1. The Codes Don’t Work

To get a bike -unless you are an annual user – you need to insert your card into the bike kiosk which then gives you a code for each ride. The codes generated by the machines never worked on the first try, even after trying multiple bikes. When you call the Citi Bike helpline they require your name, phone and credit card number before offering innovative solutions like:

‘Are you sure you typed in the right code?”

The code was 33333, yes I’m sure!

Good news, by that time the mandatory two minutes between getting a ride code is up – so you can go to the machine and try again. For me it was usually the second or third code that worked.

2. Killer Bees!

I’ve been biking in the city my whole life but on my first Citi Bike ride I nearly met my end as a cabby sped to make a quick right – into me! Wouldn’t be the first time an NYC cabbie hit a cyclist this year.

Cab door Killer bees
Killer Bees

3. Doors!

Also on my first perilous trip I watched a woman exit her cab and door a hapless Citi Bike rider (I’ve had nightmares of being doored but  – until last week I’d never actually seen it happen).

4. Sorry Foreigners

According to the Portuguese speaking women trying to get a Citi Bike on west 27th street, foreign cards don’t work, and $25 gift cards don’t work either – I watched them try and fail as I waited (thankfully after the third attempt they let me get my code and get moving).

5. The Annual Pass…Not so fast!

After my trial week I signed up for the annual pass. I was ready to ride on. Not so fast!  It takes up to 10 days to process. Granted they have to mail you a key – but wouldn’t it be easy enough to let people use their cards at the bike kiosks as they do with the week pass?

In closing – the time is now and Citi Bike is the Official Transportation of the Apocolapyse.

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