A few years ago I started the Nutwiisystem blog. The goal of the blog was to take something that’s done every day–playing video games–and figure out ways to trick my brain into exercising without knowing I was exercising. My experiments were wildly successful–I ended up losing around 30-40 pounds on a combination of Wii exercise games and the Nutrisystem diet.
As happens to most people, I eventually gained the weight back because I just didn’t get video game exercise into my regular daily routine, at least not to the extent that the exercise counteracted the otherwise sedentary life I led and the amount of junk I ingested during my daily work routine in the City.
My daily commute takes me from Long Island to Penn Station, and then I have to hop on the E train to get from Penn Station to Madison Avenue near 50th Street where I work. My pattern has been that I generally take the subway from Penn Station in the morning, and then maybe 3 out of 5 weekdays I’ll walk back to Penn from 50th Street, which takes about 20-30 minutes depending on my pace.
When Citi Bike became available in May 2013, I was excited. I could save money AND get a little bit of a workout at the same time. If you do the math, assuming you pay $95 for a Citi Bike membership. First of all, the “26 cents a day” Citi Bike mentions on their site is bunk–that’s assuming you ride once each and every day of the year. But let’s say that 7 weeks I don’t come into the City because of holidays, vacations, personal days, and sick days. And let’s say further that 20 weeks out of the year I can’t ride because of rain or snow or darkness of night. That leaves 25 weeks in the year I do ride. At 5 days a week a 2 rides a day that’s 250 rides in the year. Deduct the number of rides during those weeks that I’d otherwise walk, and that comes out to 175 subway rides I’d be offsetting with bike rides. At which comes out to about .54 cents a ride, or theoretically a savings per year of $342.50 over Metrocard fees.
Of course, this assumes PERFECT conditions. I’ve read horror stories of lines and lines of Citi Bike members waiting for bikes by Penn Station during rush hour, and then fighting each other when a random person returns a bike. I’ve heard other horrific accounts of people walking and walking to find a Citi Bike station with a free bike, and by the time they’ve found one they’ve already walked to their destination. Of course, there are stories of clueless pedestrians walking in the bike lanes, cars using the bike lands to double- and triple-park with no police to enforce it. And the stories are well documented of Citi Bike’s inaccurate iPhone app. The first few weeks that Citi Bike launched, I scoped out the areas by Penn Station and sure enough, I saw a lot of these things with my own eyes. But we’ll see if a year later they haven’t ironed a lot of this out.
So what I’ll do is post a regular update of my own Citi Bike experiences and let you know what I think of it. I’ll also keep a “per ride cost” tally on each post to track how much my per-ride cost is.
So here we go–hang on for the ride of your life!