Citibikes are one of the many great things that have happened to NYC. When they first came here 7 years ago the docks took up some parking spaces on the streets, much to my consternation as we don’t have an abundance of places to park. In the 7 years i’ve used it, often several times a day, it has been life changing and I love it. NYU Citibike rideshare is by far the largest and most successful on the planet.

It keeps track of every trip, here”s my summary since 2013:

Is it a Rent-a-bike?

No, it’s not correct to think of Citibike as a rent-a-bike. If you rent a bike you have to bring it back to the same place you rented it from. A citibike is part of the mass transit system. you pick it up at a dock near where you are, and drop it off in a dock that’s near where you want to be. You’re really just “buying” a one-way ride.

What’s so good about Citibike?

Buying a one way ride means you don’t have to lock it up, do paperwork, return it or care about it. It’s like hopping on the subway. Except the subway is loud, dirty, breaks down and is crowded. If you hear someone cough on the other end of the train you know you’ll be coming down with that very same ‘kennel cough’ within days. So the citybike is much healthier than the ear piercing petri dish down below. Subways basically run north and south. Jimi Hendrix had a song called “crosstown traffic.” The song is accurate. The only mass transit cross town is a bus. buses have similiar problems to the subway germwise and have the added feature that besides standing outside in the weather, walking is usually faster crosstown than taking a bus. In fact the Citibike is not only the FASTEST way around much of the city it’s also the cheapest.

It’s the cheapest and fastest way around the city.

The subway and the bus costs per ride is $2.75. Citibike is unlimited for $165 per year. That means unlimited rides (up to 45 minutes) cost $1.65 per day. I can get around faster than by mass transit, Uber, Lyft or a cab when going crosstown, and it’s healthier, not only from a germ point of view, but also from regular exercise perspective. I could ride my own bike, but then i’d have to lock it up, worry about it and return on the same route I left on. Citibikes are heavy but functional.

Here’s what’s new.

Notice the black growth on the down tube? That’s a battery for an electric assist. I rode one Sunday downtown to my car. They eliminate the gears and essentially leave it in high, but the electric assist takes you right up to full speed – somewhere around 20mph. And you have to pedal, but barely. It usually takes me about 22 minutes to ride from times square to the car if i huff it. With the electric assist it took me 14 minutes and I barely broke a sweat. It was an exhilarating ride.

Additional Charges

HAHAHA, no pun intended. They charge 10 cents a minute for an electric citybike. That was 1.40 to go virtually door to door (can’t do that on mass transit), including a ride down the Hudson River Greenway, to start my day. 14 minutes. Sanitary. Healthy. You never know what you’re going to see in the park. Ain’t NYC Great!

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