It was as easy as riding a bike.
I have an annual membership to Citi Bike, so I was able to take a bike out for an inaugural spin Monday. (Everyone can start taking them out on Sunday.) There’s a docking station right outside amNewYork’s office and all I had to do was plug my “key” in, pull the bike out and hop on. The bike is a bit clunky, and those of us used to biking will inevitably get frustrated with how slow they go, but the ride is smooth and enjoyable.
The Citi Bikes are very similar to those you’ve likely used in other cities that offer bike share as a mode of transportation.
They are heavy, with tires as thick as those on a mountain bike. The bike has a bell (safety first!) and three gears. I used third gear — the hardest — the whole time because the lower gears slow you down even more.
I rode uptown in the Eighth Avenue bike lane and downtown in the Ninth Avenue bike lane. To my pleasant surprise, going over the bumps in the road was a lot easier. These bikes have shocks galore.
A lot of people smiled at me, and when I was taking the bike out and returning it, even more asked me questions. No one said anything negative, and people seemed genuinely interested in how the program works.
I predict that bike share is going to make New Yorkers’ lives a little easier, and a lot more fun.
Got an errand to run in the middle of the day? Hop on the bike, it’ll be faster than walking or taking the bus or train. Have friends visiting from out of town who want to do the tourist thing? Take some bikes out and show them the sights!
And for you first timers, there’s really nothing to be afraid of. These bikes are super easy to ride and the bright blue color (and the size of them) ensures maximum visibility.