Citi Bike Ride Reports

Finally Saving Money on Citibike vs. the Subway: Day 28

On Thursday, I got to work at the normal time. Maddeningly, there were once again bikes in the front of the pack, none of which had their red lights on but I was suspicious because no one was taking them. I knew I had a choice–try to undock one or fight with the people at the other end of the dock to get one of the bikes the rebalancers were doling out. I chose wrong and tried to undock a bike. Yellow light…10 seconds…20 seconds…30 seconds…40 seconds…50 seconds…nothing. And by that time all the rebalancers were gone on the other end.

empty docks

But happily, I just had to wait about 2 minutes before another rebalancer came over the hill like the cavalry.



I was in front in line and the yahoo you see in the white shirt behind the rebalancer decided to come from behind to claim a bike while there were about 6 people on line in back of me. Through my body language I made it clear to him, “you ain’t getting a bike before me, punk”, but the folks in back of me were a little more subdued so the guy ended up getting the second bike. Again, I love how Citibike tends to bring out the worst in us New Yorkers.

My ride took me up Eighth and across 37th, where again the lack of a bike lane made travel a bit precarious. I also forgot there was a little thing called the MetLife Building that’s in the way between me and work, so I had to weave and and out of the little streets to find my way to 51st and Lex. The worst thing about the ride today were the pedestrians–they tend to travel in swarms, so even if the light is red they’ll force their way across an intersection and a little bike has no chance to get through, other than trying to weave through them like a salmon swimming upstream.

But I made it to 51st and Lex and to work relatively on time.

Something else momentous happened in this morning ride–my cost per ride finally dipped below the $2.50 mark. Which means that I finally have a positive ROI and am officially in the black now; my cost per ride is officially lower than what it would have cost me had I taken a subway for all of those rides.

It took 28 days spanning four months to get to this point, but what this means is that for every ride I take from now on that I otherwise would have taken the subway, I’m making money. Now granted I’m paying for it in other ways–the stress of City traffic, the aggravation of CitiBike.

I decided again to take off from the office early to have a chance at an afternoon Citibike. This time there were plenty of bikes available.

I rode west on 51st. The first few blocks were a joke, as construction is barely giving enough room for the width of a car, much less a bike next to the car (but still, there are bike lane symbols painted on the ground, so I suppose cars are expected to share the road single-file with bikes). As you can see from my Kinetic map, I spent a lot of time weaving and and out of cars, with me slamming into someone’s left-hand rear view mirror at one point.


But once I made it to Ninth, it was smooth sailing downtown. Well, mostly, there were actually so many bikes on the bike path that it got congested with bikes and at one point a clueless biker veered into my path without looking. But slight annoyances aside, it was a pretty good ride.

I docked at 5:53 and made it to the 5:56 train, where I’m writing this now. Overall, not a bad day, and the cash flow is officially positive now.

Cost per ride: $95/40=$2.38 per ride
Stress: 4 of 10
Aggravation: 4 of 10

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