Citi Bike Ride Reports

What’s up (with the) Dock? (Day 2)

So I decided to take a slightly earlier train this morning. I walked off the train and within five minutes I got to the bikes on Eighth avenue. To no surprise the first set of bike racks I came across was empty.

empty citibike bike station racks

But again shockingly there were a couple bikes available the next block down. Like a bird chasing down some breadcrumbs before the other birds can get to it, I hightailed my way to grab one.

i see bikes!

As for the ride, I started on Eighth again, but this time I decided to go up only as far as where the bike lanes end at Port Authority. Then I’d cut across 40th and up Madison.

Once again, the buses were the menace, much more so than the taxis, the cars, the pedestrians, and the other bikers. The second day in a row a bus was hugging the curb, and I rode to the left of the bus only to find another bus to the left barreling toward me.

Making things worse, there was a stretch along 40th with a bunch of road work and scaffolding (Citi Bike Annoyance #12).

bikes and construction

Of course pedestrians are given their own really wide temporary walkway. And that means the actual road itself is slightly larger than the width of a car, which means bikers need to scramble to try to not become roadkill.

Once I got through that, around midtown a van at a light decided to make a blind turn right into where I was riding. I screamed out “HEY!” but the van kept going. Had he hit me, he would never have known.

But despite all this I actually felt the ride was much more pleasant than yesterday, maybe because I know what to expect now.

I finally made it to 49th and 5th; the ride had only taken me less than 15 minutes, which was great, not too much longer than the subway ride. I could get used to this. Or so I thought.

I rode up to an empty dock, but a woman shook her head at me and said, “broken”. I saw there were two other open docks, and yes, they were broken too. Try as I might to put the bike in the dock, that damned yellow and green light would never go on.(Broken Docks = Citi Bike Annoyance #12)

broken citi bike dock

I went to two other docks and they were broken too. I saw in the middle of the line of bikes a sad looking Citi Biker who looks like he’d been standing there for a while. He was hovering over one of the broken docks, waiting for it to magically start working or for someone to claim a bike.

sad man without a bike dock

After waiting about 5 minutes I realized the bike rebalancers weren’t going to be there anytime soon (Citi Bike Annoyance #13). So I went to the kiosk and clicked “nearby stations”.

citibike kiosk nearby stations

Now most of these “nearby stations” were at least 5 blocks away, which meant 5 blocks to bike there and 5 blocks to walk back (Citi Bike Annoyance #14).

I pressed “Request Time Credit” to add more time. But I didn’t see where I could put my Citi Bike Key. I figured I was still under by 45 minutes anyway, so I ended up biking to the nearest one, which happened to have several open docks.

citi bike docks with open spots

As well as its share of broken docks that were fixed in this very high-tech way:

more broken docks

Finally, I put my bike in the dock and heard that “whiz” that meant it was locked. I walked back to my office and got to my desk–50 minutes late again. So much for Citi Bike being a great thing for commuters.

Cost per ride: 95/3 = $31.67
Stress level: 6 of 10
Aggravation: 9 of 10

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