As a Bike Owner, Here’s Why I Joined Citi Bike

Citi Bike Founding Member Key Fob

Like thousands of New Yorkers, I scooped up Citi Bike founding memberships for my husband and myself as soon as online registration opened on Monday morning.

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

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  • Great post thanks and dead on. I also own a bike and commute in from Queens regularly but am a proud Founding Member as well. First I don’t always have my bike with me and I am looking forward to using CityBike to get me away from the neighborhood of my office so I can both try some new places for lunch and work in a bit of exercise. There are also times when I might use the subway to get to a meeting to keep my suite nice and fresh, but afterwards I’ll loosen my tie and take a bike to get back to the office and enjoy the ride. Also, when I do bring my own bike in I then store it in my office thanks to the bikes in buildings program. Unfortunately pulling it out in the middle of the day and waiting for the freight elevator to come get me and then reversing the process when I return is a pain in the ass. Much easier to walk across the street and grab a bike for that ride cross-town.

  • Here in Boston we have the Hubway system (same bike style from Bixi). I use a very nice Breezer for my everyday transportation but I am also a yearly Hubway member. It has saved me on numerous occasions, most recently last fall when one of my pedals came apart completely. I was able to limp to the nearest station by a bike shop (oh yeah they don’t open until 10 or 11, fat lot of good that does for somebody commuting in the morning and they have a problem) and hop on Hubway to my destination, knowing that I could get my pedal fixed at the end of the day and bike home like normal. Yes I could have taken transit and if it were during the winter I would have, but having that yearly membership was worth it even if it means I don’t have to squeeze into a packed green line train (I have to have a monthly transit pass so it is “free” either way). Current bike owners getting a biksehare membership makes a whole lot of sense.

  • You missed out on a few other reasons bike owners (like me) might still get CitiBike (proud to say, also like me :-))

    1) I bike to work. If the weather is bad, I can take a subway to work, and if it improves in the evening, check out a bike back.

    2) Alcohol Consumption. Ride to the bar/restaurant. Take the subway back.

  • Thank you for this post. All these ideas help persuade people that bicycles can be useful for transport. They also help disprove a common theme from the anti-bike lane crowd – “you want to ride a bike?, go to the park.”

    Here are a few more ideas. Some of them are sort of covered by other posters.

    “Big shopping days” – Take Citibike to the store and then carry all those big and/or heavy items back on the subway or by other means.

    “Big nights out” – look fresh as morning dew by taking the subway to your big evening out. Ride Citibike home. Alternatively, as mentioned by someone else, take Citibike to your destination, engage in robust eating and drinking and take the subway home.

    “The Romance Factor” – gone will be the dilemas of people who want to spend the night at their significant other’s apartment, but are concerned about leaving their bike out all night. Citibike it.

    “The Bike Shop pickup” – your steed is being repaired, take Citibike home or to the shop.

    “The Compatibility Factor” – you own a $1,500 Gazelle or $5,000 Moots and feel a little funny about meeting your friends who ride clunkers. Citibike it.

    “Looking for Love” – Funny as it may seem, in Paris, the Velib stations have supposedly become hot spots for singles to mix and mingle. NYC’s lonesome hearts may want to try Citibike and look like they need help navigating the kiosk.

    I hope these help.

  • Citibikes will increase the accessibility mix of NYC transit. I have an injury that makes standing and balancing on crowded crosstown buses impossible. I can’t wait to ride Citibikes from the subway on Lex to my doctor’s appointments on 1st Ave. and York.

  • Exactly! The no-hassle one-way trip is going to be life-changing, especially since I live quite far from work and rarely want to commit to biking both ways in case I need to work late, etc.

  • I also own three bicycles that I ride regularly, but here are situations where I would love to use Citibike:

    To work: As much as I would love to commute on my own bike, I work long hours where my bike would be left unattended. My bicycles were expensive and I would hate to have one stolen or vandalized. Better to commute by Citibike!

    To the grocery: I sometimes ride to go grocery shopping but invariably buy too much stuff to carry home on my racks. Now I can bike to the store and walk home or take a cab.

    When bad weather is coming: There are times I would ride my bike but I know a storm is coming in and I would have to ride home in the rain or snow. Another occasion where Citibike would come in handy for a one-way trip.

    Going out: Another occasion where you might prefer to get home some other way, either because it’s late or you had a few drinks. Also great for when you meet up with friends who don’t ride but want to move from place to place, or you get invited back to someone special’s apartment…

  • I have a commuter bike I don’t mind leaving locked up outside for long periods, a Cannodale for long rides, and a folding electric but I can easily envision using the Citibike to hit several different neighborhoods in the City. Take the train to midtown for a Drs appointment, then take the bike to the Highline to kill a half hour before taken another to the East Village to meet friends for drinks. After I might ride another bike to Wo Hop in Chinatown for a late night snack, then ride back uptown or across the bridge to the F train to go home. Sure I could take a train or a cab to each of those places but a short bike ride is faster and cheaper than most of the other options.

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