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  1. #1
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    Citibikes have started!

    I was on my ride today and started seeing Citibikes being used around town. One guy on one came zipping past me like he was on a road bike. I had a hard time catching him. Of course, I was 70 miles into my ride and he had just hopped on.

    He said they weren't bad for riding, better than the one he had ridden in Copenhagen, where I've tried it too. Those were just ponderously heavy and you couldn't get them moving.

  2. #2
    Senior Member dendawg's Avatar
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    I was expecting to see some in CP this afternoon. There were plenty of tourists on rental bikes, just no Citibikes. Also I thought they were only for annual renters until next week

  3. #3
    vol
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    I saw about 3 Citibikes on the Hudson Greenway today. I first noticed the "hood" under the rear fender and thought it's some kind of fancy expensive bike ridden by a millionaire , then I saw "Citibike" on it. They were all shiny pristine new, of course. I wonder what they'll look like a year from now. I suppose they are equipped with locks; what about lights?

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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    I wonder what they'll look like a year from now.
    I'd expect they will mostly be maintained, so a little duller paint and a little worn.


    I suppose they are equipped with locks; what about lights?
    Built-in lights.

    No locks. When you're done, you will have to return it to a docking station.

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    Not all New Yorkers are welcoming the bike share program:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifest...washingtonpost

  6. #6
    vol
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    No locks.
    It has no rack, so need to have a way to carry U-lock if one needs to park somewhere (as, when going to restroom).

    P.S. Won't it be nice to have public bike pump like this in London?
    Free Public Bicycle Pumps Installed in London

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    It has no rack, so need to have a way to carry U-lock if one needs to park somewhere (as, when going to restroom).

    P.S. Won't it be nice to have public bike pump like this in London?
    Free Public Bicycle Pumps Installed in London
    Good point. How do they keep the tires inflated and what happens if you get a flat ?

  8. #8
    vol
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenji666 View Post
    Not all New Yorkers are welcoming the bike share program:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifest...washingtonpost
    Here is an evil comment posted at the Businessweek website:

    "Why do I as a driver have to suffer? Why do I have to lose 20 PARKING SPOTS for 4 STATIONS within a 2 block radius. Why cant these be on the sidewalk and not take away precious parking spots. Is my 68 year old Dad who does construction supposed to take his tools on a bike? Is my 59 year old mother who is a teacher suppoed to take all her books and paperwork on a bike? I hope people steal and vandalize these bikes. "

    So, Bacciagalupe, let's see what the bikes will look like a year later...

    Some SOHO "artists" actually think their works were comparable to those in the Louvre.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
    Good point. How do they keep the tires inflated and what happens if you get a flat ?
    See above website---"The tires will be filled with nitrogen for longer inflation. ...these big tires will prevent flats."
    Last edited by vol; 05-27-13 at 08:44 PM.

  9. #9
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    You won't need a u-lock. You just put it into the nearest station. If you want to keep riding you take out another one.

    There will be regular maintenance, including air. I took a bike out in Milan last year and found the tires mostly flat. It was a very uncomfortable ride on the cobblestone streets, especially with the tram tracks everywhere too, never mind the trams that you don't hear coming.

    The bikes all have dynamo hubs and have always on lighting.

    I didn't start seeing them until I was away from the greenway. As for tourists using them, today was for annual members only, so no tourist would likely be one. I'm still puzzled by the rate structure though, there doesn't seem to be a single use price, just daily, weekly and yearly.
    Last edited by zacster; 05-27-13 at 07:09 PM.

  10. #10
    vol
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    I hope I won't run into a salmon on the Citibike. A head-on collision will definitely hurt my bike more than those tanks.

  11. #11
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    There's a wrench button on each dock that you're supposed to press if the bike needs repair. I presume the next person can't take it till it's fixed, and you can take a different bike.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Papa Tom's Avatar
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    When I checked out the rental rates a few months back, it seemed more cost effective to just buy a beater bike and give it away when you're done with the ride.
    Papa Tom

    "I just need a rest...and by 'rest' I mean a really long bicycle ride."

  13. #13
    vol
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    Sadly, while an immense convenience for the users, this program may cause negative impact on some good old LBSs, especially in such extreme cases as when "a rack of 40 blazing blue Citi Bikes was installed a mere 150 feet from Frank’s Bike Shop on Grand Street on the Lower East Side".

    The folks at Frank's Bike Shop are great, especially Frank the owner. I hope its business will continue to do well.

  14. #14
    Senior Member flattie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
    When I checked out the rental rates a few months back, it seemed more cost effective to just buy a beater bike and give it away when you're done with the ride.
    The pricing is clearly geared towards annual memberships vs. daily or weekly rentals. With tax I think I paid $103 for the annual membership. Compared to the $110/mo unlimited metrocard for the subway it's a bargain.

    I rode the citibike over the Brooklyn Bridge into lower Manhattan today. Nice weather for a ride. First time on a bike in over 6 months and I felt it going over the bridge

  15. #15
    vol
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    It seems to me the 45-min and 30-min time limits can potentially cause a lot of troubles, even fatalities! I can imagine someone riding in high speed while keeping looking at the watch to make sure to arrive at the station in time, and getting an ugly accident.
    (Still, the overtime charge is better than an automatic preset braking when reaching 45/30 minutes )

    P.S. The First Citibike Has Been Stolen
    Last edited by vol; 05-28-13 at 08:25 PM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member OntheRun.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    It seems to me the 45-min and 30-min time limits can potentially cause a lot of troubles, even fatalities! I can imagine someone riding in high speed while keeping looking at the watch to make sure to arrive at the station in time, and getting an ugly accident.
    (Still, the overtime charge is better than an automatic preset braking when reaching 45/30 minutes )

    P.S. The First Citibike Has Been Stolen
    Goddamn it. I was hoping no one was going to post an article about the first citibike being already stolen!

    I work in the bk heights area, and imo there are way too many docking stations around the whole neighborhood, especially since there is very limited parking space. But at the same time I dont care about the people who have cars in NYC because having one previously...well it sucked and bike riding in nyc is the BEST way to get around. I just feel like there are a bit too much dock stations around and not necessary? We'll see. Also it worries me how citi bank will keep up with the maintenance for the bikes, bikes getting stolen, all the accidents that will happen...etc etc.

  17. #17
    vol
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    The first thief of the Citi Bike was a woman: (link to article)

    "a woman made off with one of the bicycles Sunday evening as workers unloaded them at a Manhattan station, police said. Bloomberg said the bike was recovered. Police were looking for a suspect."

  18. #18
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    New Yorkers always resist change, regardless of whether the change is positive or negative. Velib, the bike share program in Paris, had some problems with vandalism and theft during its first few years. It's now used by roughly 100,000 people per day, with a fleet of 18,000 bicycles.

    Also, the media (especially the Post) love to play up the negatives, because it makes for better copy. They'll exaggerate every opposition, theft and vandalism specifically because it's a hot-button issue.


    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    So, Bacciagalupe, let's see what the bikes will look like a year later...
    Several cities already have bike share programs. As long as the bikes are maintained, they'll be fine.


    Some SOHO "artists" actually think their works were comparable to those in the Louvre.
    Not really, it's that the DOT put a bunch of bikes in a spot that has been used for public art for over 20 years.

    The good thing about the system is that placement of the kiosks is pretty flexible. If the people in the neighborhood and/or Parks Department prefer to give up a couple of parking spaces to make room for some public art, then the DOT ought to accomodate that request.

  19. #19
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    Sadly, while an immense convenience for the users, this program may cause negative impact on some good old LBSs...
    Frank's situation is extreme, but overall the LBS's will be fine.

    Bike share programs tend to increase overall cycling rates. (http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi...nalCode=ajph&&)

    In the same way that taxis don't eliminate cars, Citi Bike is not a replacement for owning a bicycle. It's a public transportation option, which is faster, easier and greener to set up and maintain.

  20. #20
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    ...and the owner of Bicycle Habitat is happy about Citi Bike. There's a couple of stations within walking distance of the shop. Here's part of a note he sent to Sadik-Khan, Via Streetsblog:

    Best story today. One guy came in with his Citibike and told me he has not ridden a bike in NYC for 33 years. He bought an annual membership and at 2:30 had ridden for 2.5 hours. He recycled the bike 4 times at that point. WOW. He loved riding in the city today and wants to try tomorrow.

    Today is just for blue key holders. 4 people came into the shop with Citibikes and bought helmets. A total of 12 helmet coupons redemptions at the Soho store so far.

    Judging by my conversations in the shop on a beautiful first day, CITIBIKE is a hit.

    I saw the article in the Post today about Frank’s bike shop. This is a concern I am hearing from other dealers. I have done my due diligence (spoke with dealers in DC, Montreal, Madison and Denver) and understand the going gets a little rough for the first few months and then comes back.

    Thank you, I feel this will be a major win for all New Yorkers.

  21. #21
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    Frank's situation is extreme, but overall the LBS's will be fine.

    Bike share programs tend to increase overall cycling rates. (http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi...nalCode=ajph&&)

    In the same way that taxis don't eliminate cars, Citi Bike is not a replacement for owning a bicycle. It's a public transportation option, which is faster, easier and greener to set up and maintain.
    That was my thought. Might actually increase traffic into the bike shop.

  22. #22
    vol
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    The biggest benefits from the bike share program for us who have already been cycling on our own bikes will be the increased driver awareness of bikes on the streets, and probably more bike paths and bike lanes.

  23. #23
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    A week later, I've seen lots of people riding with their Citibikes and I have a few observations.

    First, I see people riding in odd places beyond the limits of the program. This means that they are going to exceed the time limit but I suspect they don't realize that.

    Two, I've been passed a few times by riders on Citibikes, so it is possible to get these things moving. However, they never keep it up for long. I've even seen some on the Manhattan bridge going up the hill and doing OK. The MB is probably the only 'hill' in the zone. I'll have to try for myself.

    Third, the lights on these things are pretty pathetic. Putting on a light with a reflector and a lens wouldn't have cost any more than the row of LEDs that they have in front. Those LEDs, both front and rear, just aren't very bright. The bikes have dynamo hubs and could certainly put out more light.

    Overall though, I'm seeing them all over Brooklyn and Manhattan within the zones and they seem pretty popular. I have a freebie coupon for a day's rental so I'll give it a try myself and report back.

  24. #24
    vol
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    Does the bike have a clock or signal/alarm to tell the rider if 30 or 45 minutes have been reached?

    Quote Originally Posted by zacster View Post
    I have a freebie coupon for a day's rental so I'll give it a try myself and report back.
    Where did you get the coupon?

  25. #25
    rhm
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    I keep a folding bike in my office, and sometimes take it on the train. So I really don't need the bikeshare program. But what the heck, I signed up for it anyway. I'm just going to use it for riding from my office to Penn Station, which is a fifteen minute walk or a five minute bike ride. Between walking to the nearest Citybike station by my office, and crossing the street from the Post Office station to Penn Station, I probably won't save much time anyway... but I'm looking forward to it anyway. I'm a terrible pedestrian!

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