It’s taken a long time, but New York has launched its public bike hire scheme. Similar to those in London, Paris and approximately 500 other cities worldwide, Citi Bike is a new network of bicycles you can hire, ride and drop off at your convenience.
As can be expected in a transport network already saturated with traffic, New York’s answer to Boris Bikes are by no means perfect. Cycling in a heavily congested city is always going to be a challenge. But the Subway can be unbearable, taxis unaffordable and the walking nigh-on impossible. So if you’re going on holiday in New York and want a fun yet convenient way of getting around, there are some very good reasons to consider cycling.
How easy is it?
Citi Bike is relatively cheap, easy, and gives you more freedom to go off course than other forms of public transport. From 2 June, you can buy a day pass for $9.95, or a weekly ticket for $25, which gives you half an hour of free riding, and then you’re charged by the hour. Once you’ve registered, you simply go to the nearest docking station, enter your five digit pin to unlock the bike, and – after a bit of tussling it away from the pod – away you go.
Once you set off, you will notice that the city is a lot smaller than you originally conceived. Cyclists in other cities will attest that as soon as you hop on a bike, everything seems closer than it did before, and New York is no different. You can whizz from the Lower East Side to the Upper West Side of Manhattan, traffic permitting, in around 20 minutes. The weight of the bikes makes going up hills and over bridges hard work, but it’s easily doable if you’re used to moderate exercise.
If you’re scared of the traffic – and it really is something to consider if you’re not used to cycling in big cities – there are ways around it. Most docking stations have a neighbourhood map nearby showing which streets have cycle lanes. If you’re planning ahead, Google also has a ‘Bicycling’ function which gives a citywide view of streets with bike lanes.
Just remember before you head to New York on a trip booked through LetsGo2: be mindful of traffic, respect pedestrians’ right of way, and enjoy your cycling.