On finally testing a Citibike

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Citibikes at Grand Central

This will be old news to many people, reading about someone testing out the New York City bike share system. It’s been around for a few years but the last time I was here I was staying on the Upper East Side, which had not yet been begrimed with Citibikes, as Dorothy Rabinowitz so famously put it. So I finally got to try it out, on an expedition from my hotel on 42nd street to the Cooper Hewitt Museum up at 91st and 5th, to see two wonderful shows that will be the subject of another post.

bikes upper east

Not too many Citibikes begriming the Upper East Side/Screen capture

Before I left I went online and studied the Citibike website to figure out how it worked, and where the stations were. I walked to the nearest one on 43rd and wandered about for a few minutes trying to figure out where you even put in your credit card; if you approach from the bike side you don’t see it. I asked a guy picking up a bike and he didn’t know either; he had a dongle. I assumed that some stations didn’t have full service and walked four blocks to 45th and 3rd to find another station which I approached from the sidewalk side, and there it was. Talk about feeling like a rube in New York.

citibike terminal

If you follow directions properly (which I rarely do) it actually works well. Tap your credit card and they give you a 5 digit code that should be relatively easy to remember, but there is also a printout option that I availed myself of.

123 press

Yes, I even tried to put my credit card in this slot. I still don’t know what it is for….

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