So with my newfound bikeshare savvy, I looked forward to a spontaneous MLK weekend trip to New York as an opportunity to check out the Citibike controversy first hand. Yes, controversy. Some contingent of grumpy New Yorkers objects to the bright blue bikes and the space they take up on the street. Well, they are bright. The blue does seem to catch the eye more than the red CaBis. And each docking station holds way more bikes than any I've seen in DC or Arlington. Ours seems to hold about 15-20 bikes. The ones in NY - more like 40.
|Selfie - with my greasy hand after trying to adjust the seat|
|Classy looking bike parking|
|Bikes as far as the eye can see!|
|View of the bike path below from Riverside Park|
I walked from there to where a large line was forming at the TKTS booth. I got in line, figuring I'd wait till 10:30, when they would post the discount shows for the day. Alas, there were to be no tickets for the shows on my list, so I hightailed it over to the theater where Once is showing, joining the (yay) short line of thrifty theater goers waiting for $40 rush tickets. It was a long cold wait, but the time went quickly talking about Citibike to the fellow behind me in line.
He showed me some helpful features of the app, and I gave him the ins and outs of buying rush tickets - so we had a fruitful information exchange. After about 45 minutes, my fingers were just about numb, so I was grateful when his wife showed up and went on a coffee run for us. The hot liquid was a lifesaver! We were happy when the box office opened at noon, and we got our cheap tickets for the 3:00 show.
|Delivery bikes huddling together to stay warm|
|Hey, WTF…was about to park anyway|
On Monday morning I figured I still had a bit of time left on my 24-hour pass so I took a little ride on the east side, cycling south down 2nd Avenue's protected bike lane from 33rd to 14th, and then back up on 1st Ave. The streets were quiet and, again, I felt perfectly safe.
The other Citibike glitch was that, nearly every time I swiped my credit card, the machine told me I couldn't use my card. Each time, I swiped it again, and was fine. Is it possible that the problem was that I used a Chase credit card, and not a Citibank card??
But here are a few nice features about Citibike. The Citibikes have a bell! I like that. Some of the docking stations are arranged to return the bike at an angle, which is easier than maneuvering the heavy bike straight into the portal.
|Yeah - don't stop your car in the bike path!!!|
I've also found that some bike seats are simple to adjust (as they should be) and others are nearly impossible. Note the greasy hands on my first photo after (unsuccessfully) struggling with one Citibike, before giving up and selecting a different ride. I've also gotten a CaBi on which the seat adjuster poked me in the leg with each pedal stroke (ouch). There's probably a simple fix, but I haven't figured it out.
|Few bikes left near Penn Station|