Citi Bikes in New York

Friday, 25 April 2014

Seems like every city I visit these days – from Taiyuan in China to the San Francisco Bay Area in the USA – has rolled out a bicycle share scheme.

IMG_4705 - Citi Bikes 542IMG_4766 - Citi Bike 271I’m a regular user of the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme (aka Boris Bikes after London Mayor Boris Johnson) when I’m in London. In New York earlier this week the big change since last year was the arrival of Citi Bikes. Sponsored by Citibank they’re currently available from 59th St (southern end of Central Park) right down to Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan Island. I pedalled my way pretty much that whole distance, here’s my Citi Bike parked at the end of Manhattan, with the Statue of Liberty in the background. ►

One day I must walk or ride the entire length of Broadway on Manhattan. It extends for 13 miles (21km) and then another 20 miles (32km) through the Bronx and all the to Sleepy Hollow.

A problem with any of these bike share schemes is that the bikes tend to disappear from one location and stack up in another. The only thing worse than find a station with no bicycles is finding one that’s completely full up, so you can’t return your bike when you want to. I had that experience at Battery Park – there was a single free locking stand, but it didn’t work!

IMG_4755 - moving bikes 542▲ As a result the operators have to shift bikes around, restocking the empty stations and making space at the full ones. In New York they do it by bike, here are two riders moving four Citi Bikes each on cycle trailers.