Surprised that a person who owns three bicycles and rides them regularly for transportation and sport would spring for a yearly Citi Bike subscription? It’s actually all the good stuff — convenience, fitness and fun — that I already experience as a New York City cyclist that gets me excited about the possibilities the new blue bikes offer.
Simply put, bike sharing will add a new public transportation option to the ones my family and I already enjoy as New Yorkers. My Citi Bike key, which I will be able to use to check out a sturdy, 3-speed bicycle from a station across the street from my apartment building, will join the MetroCard in my pocket as my constant companion on daily travels around the city. In fact, pairing these transit passes is among the most valuable uses that I foresee.
And to me, the price is right. My $95 Citi Bike membership, which costs a few dollars less than my monthly MetroCard, breaks down to 26 cents per day for as many rides of fewer than 45 minutes as I want to take.
Here are a few specific examples of how I envision using the system that will provide access to 6,000 bikes at 330 stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, 24/7 and 365 days per year, when it rolls out officially some time in May. (View the station map.)
To ride with my family: I’m a bike nerd, but my husband isn’t. The blue bikes will give us an easy way to ride together locally. For example, we like to go to the theater, but hate post-show transportation hassles. We can check out Citi Bikes, ride up the Eighth Avenue bike lane to the Times Square area, then dock the bikes. After the show, we’ll simply reverse the process, riding down the Broadway bike lane, for a quick and easy escape.
To go the last mile: On days when my schedule can’t accommodate my riding my own bike to meet a friend in Fort Greene in Brooklyn, for example, I can envision taking the subway and then using bike sharing to reach my final destination.
For spontaneous trips across town: One of the biggest hassles in Manhattan is traveling cross-town. Meetings and errands take me all over the city from East to West and back again, and my schedule often changes. Short hops across town on the public bikes, especially trips that arise spontaneously, will help me save time and effort.
To show visitors the city: Like many New Yorkers, I’ve got family and friends visiting all the time. What better way to show them some major sites – with the built-in adventure of pedaling from, say, the High Line to a restaurant in the Chelsea gallery district to the Empire State Building — than on Citi Bikes? Unlike some systems abroad, New York City’s bike share will make it easy for visitors to use a credit card for daily or weekly access.
These are just a few personal examples of how Citi Bike will add convenience, flexibility and fun to my life in the city. I know they’re the first of many that will occur to me as I join other enthusiastic New Yorkers in embracing this new public amenity. If you’ve purchased a membership or plan to, how will you use bike sharing? Please comment below for a future post!
Top photo: New York City Department of Transportation