Citibike NYC is now 3 days old, and I've managed to used it 4 times already – a test ride on Monday and three trips to and from my daughter's school. Quick verdict? I'm going to be using this A LOT. Read on for more details.
As of yesterday the app showed all stations as inactive, but it looks like it went live today. The shading in the icons shows the capacity level of each station. The station right by my apartment wasn't on the map yesterday, but showed up this morning. Sweet!
Insert key, wait for yellow, remove key, wait for green. You're good to go.
You need to lift the bike by the saddle to remove and dock it. If a passerby hadn't told me this I never would've figured it out.
There's a basket of sorts and a bungee for your stuff.
Fenders, kickstand, tail lights.
Can't believe Bloomberg didn't get us Campy. I guess that's the Dynohub that powers the lights?
The seatposts are marked, so once you figure out your seat height you can set it quickly and go without any trial and error.
Focus! This center line is a nice touch, makes it easy to get the seatpost in straight.
I've always wanted to ride a bike with one of these snazzy faired forks.
And now I guess I have?
No need to cuff your pants, nothing to snag them down here.
The cockpit's pretty tight. You'll be pretty upright when you get out of the saddle so don't expect to make any quick accelerations. As you can see on the right grip, there's three speeds. Thankfully gear #1 is pretty small, given the bike's 45 pound weight. I tweeted a picture of the shifter a couple days ago and got this response:
I used to hate bike lanes – you can't go fast, they're frequently blocked, and pedestrians use them as an addition to the sidewalk. I found them scarier than riding in traffic. But that was on the speedy road bike. With the Citibike I have a new appreciation for the bike lanes. Without the speed, agility, and escape-ability of the road bike I'm grateful for their protection. It's like going from being the apex predator to plankton.
Naturally one would rather be the predator than the prey, but Citibike has opened my eyes to another way of riding around the city: slow and safe, segragated from traffic, and sweat free on arrival.
On a typical day I'll walk 90 minutes to take my daughter to school. With Citibike I save 30 minutes each day to do...whatever it is I do. And considering the fact that an annual pass is equivalent in cost to 40 subway rides, for most people this has got to be a no brainer.
As for the naysayers who will never participate in this program, just think how much easier it'll be to get a cab or a seat on the bus and the subway. That's the funny thing about this program: even bike haters may benefit from it. Let's just hope they'll realize that.
Thanks to a commenter for pointing out the bell, and here's an out of focus shot of it. I do have an excuse, though. While I was checking for focus a friend distracted me. He was unable to remove a bike and I had to tell him to lift it by the saddle. They really should clarify that. Also, thanks to another commenter for pointing out that the rear fender is also a skirt guard.
Flashing lights up front.
Not that you'd want to steal this crank, but there's an anti theft bolt for it.
It seems there's still some kinks to iron out. The 49th and 8th station wasn't releasing bikes even though it was shown as active on the app, and I had to try a couple of docks before I got the green light that the bike was safely returned.