New York's DIY Citi Bike

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Jun 24, 2015

by LANCE RICHARDSON, Writer

Citi Bike is easy to use, provided you’re patient and aware of the limitations. 

Approach one of the 332 docking stations in Manhattan below 59th Street, or Brooklyn as far as Bedford-Stuyvesant. Insert your credit card at the terminal, choosing either a day pass for US$9.95 ($12) or a week pass for US$25 ($31). The terminal will then give you a number code that you can key in at any bike stand to release the bike. Passes are unlimited; to release subsequent bikes simply swipe the same credit card at terminals to receive a new code. 

But here’s the catch: Citi Bike is designed for short commuter trips so passes are for 30-minute rides. Anything longer incurs additional charges. To avoid a bill, keep a watch handy (or download the free app, which includes a timer) and get into the habit of docking and releasing new bikes at any station. If you’re looking to ride for multiple hours, consider a regular bike rental. 

A free New York cycling map is available at many bike shops and online (nyc.gov/bikes). The best route in the city is along the Hudson River Greenway, which stretches the full length of Manhattan on the west side. Helmets are not compulsory by law but are recommended and available for hire at most city bike shops. 

Portrait Photography by Sam Polcer sampolcer.com