All you need to know about the New York bike hire scheme.

Text: Silje Strømmen
Photos: Mari Oshaug

“Unlock a bike. Unlock New York”, New York’s bike hire scheme, Citibike, promises. And after using their bikes for a week, during our research-trip for this issue, we can whole-heartedly stand by that. It is faster than walking, and as it turns out – quite often faster than both a taxi and the subway. And it is so much more fun. Sitting inside a car or inside a carriage doesn’t do New York justice. Riding over Williamsburg Bridge by bike though? It is magical.

Here is what you need to know before riding: There are 600 stations across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Jersey City, so when out and about it is easy to find a place to pick up or dock a bike. But if you find yourself in need, there is an app for that. It will show you nearby stations and their availability. If you don’t have the app, you can find a map online, although its usability isn’t anything to brag about. If you are on a day pass or 3-day pass, unlocking a bike can be similar to a memory exercise, because trust us, all the small pieces of paper with your ride code (it changes for every new hire) will just fill up your pocket. So save some trees and memorize the five digit code the machine gives you. As you are not riding your regular bike, be sure to check a few things before your start riding. Like if the black lever at the bottom of the seat post that allows you to adjust the seat to your height works. Nothing is more annoying than starting to ride only to discover that your seat is sinking. It can also be wise to squeeze the brakes an extra time to make sure there’s resistance.

You can take as many short rides as you want while your pass or membership is active, but be sure to keep them under 30 minutes unless you want to pay an extra $4 per additional 15 minutes. When you are done riding you can return the bike to any station. Remember to wait for the green light on the dock to make sure it’s properly locked. And as always, remember to ride with the traffic, obey traffic lights, stay off the sidewalk and yield to pedestrians.

Happy riding!