Citi Bike Ride Reports

The Early Bird Still Gets Hosed: Day 10

I had to be in the office early today, so I took the early train in (well, the 7:47 AM train which for most people is the normal train, but as you’ve seen from my posts I tend to come in later and leave later).

The train rolled into Penn around 8:15 AM. I went to the usual bike station and there were plenty of bikes available, and rebalancers were riding in constantly. I know I complain a lot (for good reason), but I need to give credit where credit is due–these rebalancers do a good job in the morning.

It actually rained last night so I was a little concerned about the conditions. But happily the roads were dry and with the exception of one or two bikes, so were the Citi Bike seats.

I got my bike on the first try (which sadly is the exception vs. the norm) and rode. I decided to ride up 8th to 40th. As you recall, this was the street with the narrow path where I almost got sandwiched between two buses before. I don’t know if I’m just more experienced now of it there was just less traffic at this hour, but this time it wasn’t bad at all.

I passed Bryant Park and decided to just keep going to Park. I’d forgotten that there’s big ol’ Grand Central Station in the way, so I took a little obstacle course. I decided to head back up to Madison and then dock at 52nd and 5th.

There were only two docks left. In my best Clint Eastwood, I asked myself, “do you feel lucky, punk? Well, do ya?”.

two pinned citibike docks

You guessed it. Both docks were locked up. Now in a recent Citi Bike blog post, they explained the reason why this happens–they call it “being pinned”. You see, sometimes the “locking mechanism” engages so the lock will close even if there’s not a bike in there. The solution is simple–get a Citi Bike key that hasn’t been used yet to open up the dock. They even have a nice animation to show you what they mean. Isn’t it pretty?

pinned citibike

As the Citi Bike email exclaims, “Look how easy it is!” Except for one thing. EVERYONE WHO IS THERE IS TRYING TO RETURN A BIKE AND NO ONE HAS A $*@$^%! CITI BIKE KEY THAT HASN’T BEEN USED!! And even if they did, would you like to explain to them that they’re not going to be charged to unpinning a dock for you?

Of course if these docks weren’t pinned, chances are they’d have been completely filled a long time ago. At 8:40 AM. At the peak of morning rush hour.

So I ride to 53rd and Madison. Yep, same thing. Two open docks, both pinned. The same Citi Bike email exclaims “DO NOT SLAM your Citi Bike into a dock”. I’m sorry, but when you send me on a scavenger hunt when I’m dripping with sweat and late for my early meeting at work, doing that is a lot cheaper than paying for a therapist.

Finally, I ride all the way down to 51st and Park. My Kinectic map is starting to look like a bowl of noodles.

midtown citi bike ride

So…because there were two stations with completely full bikes (remember I took the early train), I ended up riding over three miles. And getting to my “early meeting” late.

I didn’t even try to get a bike in the evening, as I had to catch a 6:42 PM train to make a 7:00 PM dinner appointment. But my subway experience was a reminder of why maybe I shouldn’t complain too much about Citi Bike.

First, I was shoved into a packed E train car by this dude.

dude who shoved me on the E train

And then for the rest of my journey I had these lovely views.

view from the e train  another view from the e train

Let’s face it. Our city truly sucks at rush hour.

Per ride cost: 95/17.5 = $5.43
Aggravation level: 9 of 10
Stress level: 5 of 10



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *