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Posts from the "Why I Ride" Category

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Why Sri Rides

This wraps up Dmitry Gudkov’s series of bike-share-themed “Why I Ride” profiles on Streetsblog. Thanks Dmitry! From here on out, it’s just random chance if the subject of a “Why I Ride” post is smiling next to a Citi Bike.

Photo copyright Dmitry Gudkov

Sri is a programmer. He lives in New Jersey and takes the train to Penn Station. He has been using Citi Bike to get between Penn Station and his job near Grand Central Terminal. “I ride a bike at home; sometimes I’ll ride to the train station and leave the bike there. I’m still trying Citi Bike out – this will be my fourth ride. So far I like it very much. Riding in NYC can be a little daunting but I think I will get used to it. Hopefully we will have more bike lanes or bike only streets in the future.”

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Why Deborah Rides

Photo copyright Dmitry Gudkov

“My whole family rides bikes, my kids have been riding the Citi Bikes too. The only problem is, we don’t have docks on the Upper West Side yet, so I can’t use it for commuting. But it’s been great for other small trips around town. I’m about to meet some friends, we’re all getting bikes and going out to eat.

“This is actually my first time riding in my normal clothes, we’ll see how it goes!”

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Why Hallie Rides

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Photo copyright Dmitry Gudkov

Hallie works at the nonprofit WaterAidAmerica. After seeing city after city get bike-share and then waiting two years for Citi Bike, she is thrilled the program is finally here.

“I don’t have a bike. There’s no bike storage in my building and I’m beyond the age where I want a bike in my living room.

“There’s a dock by my house, by my work, by my gym. I’m actually heading to the gym now. The other night I went to a party in TriBeCa – there was a dock right outside.

“I have heard so much complaining. People need to learn how to use the system and give it a chance. It’s new.”

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Why Jose Rides

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Photo copyright Dmitry Gudkov

Jose is a computer science student at CUNY. He recently bought an annual membership to Citi Bike.

“I live near Brooklyn College, so I take the subway into Manhattan. I also have a job at NYU, so I take a bike between school and work. On my way home, sometimes I ride a Citi Bike over the bridge into Brooklyn, then take the 5 train the rest of the way. It’s good for short trips around the city, and since I save subway fare on my trips between school and work I think I’ll save a few bucks in the long run.”

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Why Werner Rides

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Photo copyright Dmitry Gudkov

Werner is a retired sociology professor living in Cobble Hill. He signed up for bike-share to help him get around the neighborhood (his nearest Citi Bike station is a couple of blocks away in Brooklyn Heights).

At age 87, Werner finally gave up driving about a month ago. The bikes increase his range and riding a few blocks is physically easier than walking. Even with painted bike lanes like the one on Henry Street, though, he does not feel completely comfortable riding with traffic. “You’re still too close to the cars. They should build more of the two-way ones, like the one by Prospect Park.”

On the day Citi Bike launched, Werner was out testing out the system. “A reporter interviewed me, a nice woman from the New York Post. She kept asking me if I was having any problems using the bikes, I kept telling her, no, I’ve had no problems. The next day I opened the paper, and the story said there was nothing but problems!”

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Why Carol Rides

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Photo copyright Dmitry Gudkov

Carol is a talent manager. Before signing up for Citi Bike she had not been on a bike in New York in many years. She joined largely because of her cross-town commute.

“I go from 44th and Lexington to 53rd and 8th. I normally take the subway — two trains — or I walk. Most of the time I walk. I’ve been getting used to riding with traffic, trying different routes, seeing which ones are faster. I was a little intimidated on the first day but I’m getting used to it. The bikes have definitely been drawing a lot of attention. My first day riding to work, a cop pulled me over. I thought I did something wrong; he just wanted to ask about the bikes.”

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Why Stephanie Rides

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Photo copyright Dmitry Gudkov

Stephanie had just commuted from Chelsea to her job in the Time-Life Building in Midtown, where she works in magazine publishing.

“I don’t have a bike at home – my co-op actually doesn’t allow them. It’s a walk-up and there was damage to the walls from people carrying bikes up and down so the board voted to ban them from the building. My parents live a few blocks away and I have a bike at their place, but it’s too far to use regularly.

“Before Citi Bike, I only really rode around recreationally on the weekends. This is my first week biking to work. The first day I took 10th Ave up and it wasn’t so great. Then I looked at the bike map and saw that 8th Ave has a separated bike lane, and that’s what I took today. The protected lanes make a huge difference.

“So yeah, it’s been great and I don’t know why some people are so upset about it. Some New Yorkers are so resistant to change! I’ve lived here my whole life, so I still remember the uproar over the MetroCard. Overall I think people are really excited about the bike-share. On the day it launched, my parents and I rode to the East Village to have dinner. Everybody was stopping us and asking questions. One angry guy yelled at me when I was docking the bike… but I also got a few high-fives.”

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Why Ron Rides

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Photo copyright Dmitry Gudkov

Ron is an engineer living in Williamsburg. He was riding back to his office from a meeting when we took the photo, then emailed me his thoughts about bike-share.

“I was happy they added Williamsburg stations sooner than they had officially announced. I’ve been travelling over the Williamsburg Bridge each day and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the gear ratios they selected. The easy gear works nicely if you don’t want to bust it over the bridge, and the heavy gear can still provide power even when going pretty fast on the downhills.

“Bike-share gives me an incentive to get outside a bit during the workday, and liven up moving from one meeting to another (especially if they’re crosstown and I’m not near the L or 42nd St. shuttle). My bike will still be great when I want to go exploring the city on the weekend, taking it all over the place. But not having to carry the heavy NYC bike chain lock is a great perk that might be overlooked.

“Last night was the first time I needed to dock to get my entire trip in without cost, coming from the top end of the system at 59th and Amsterdam and heading all the way to Williamsburg, and when I docked at 33rd and Broadway the system took a good 15 minutes before it registered that I returned a bike and could take another one out. I tried the bike I docked and many others and it seems like it just took some time. Not a big problem, especially when it gave me a chance to have more extensive talks about the bikes and the system with four more people, one of whom was a pedi-cab driver.

“My biggest take away has been the overwhelming positivity among people regarding the bike share. Yesterday I even got a honk from a cabbie and wondered what he was upset about until I realized he was giving me a big thumbs up! I hope that when the daily/weekly rentals go live that those people who may ride less often are careful about being safe and not creating a hazard to vehicular traffic, because I think the annual members have been consciously providing a good example so far to the other traffic on NYC streets. But man it’s been cool having so many conversations with so many New Yorkers. That never happens in a city where everyone is very protective of their bubble and their personal space in packed subway cars and on sidewalks.

“Overall I’m surprised to say I’m even more excited and happy with how the system has turned out than I thought I’d be, and that was still with pretty high expectations! Hoping there’s some good software improvements with the app and the stations, but those will all come in due time.”

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Why Dan Rides

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Photo copyright Dmitry Gudkov

Dan had just come back from a trip to the dentist via Citi Bike. He was full of ideas about how he will use bike share. Rather than replacing the subway, Dan said Citi Bike may change which lines he takes.

“I live in lower Manhattan but my studio (Dan is an artist) is in Sunset Park. Normally I take the F and transfer in Brooklyn. I’d rather take the D from Manhattan — it’s faster and more direct — but the station is a little far to walk. Now I think I’ll just hop on one of these.

“Often, I want to use a bike for only one leg of a trip. If I’m going somewhere to pick up a large package, I don’t want the hassle of a bike for the return trip. And of course any crosstown trip is going to be much easier.

“My favorite thing is docking them. When I bring my own bike somewhere, I have my two locks, and then it’s in the back of my mind, is it going to be there when I come back? I love that I can just dock the bike and forget about it.”

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Why Emily Rides

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Photo copyright Dmitry Gudkov

Emily lives in the East Village and commutes to Midtown. She was riding to work for the first time. Before becoming a Citi Bike member, she never rode a bike in New York.

How do you commute to work when you’re not riding?

“Usually I take the subway into work or I walk. I usually do a lot of walking so having Citi Bike as an option helps me save time while still being outside. I also hope biking will help me save money by not having to pay for bus or subway everyday.”

Aside from work commuting, how do you think you’ll use Citi Bike?

“I definitely plan to use Citi Bike in my free time. On Monday I rode over to the West Village for breakfast. I also rode over to Brooklyn to meet up with some friends. It was dark by the time I was ready to head home so I took the subway instead. It was great to drop my bike and not have to worry about getting it home.”

Any technical problems?

“The first day I had some issues with my key not working. I was on hold with Citi Bike for an hour but once I was able to get through the service rep was very nice and helpful and was able to reset my token.”

What has your experience been like as a very new rider in New York City?

“I was a little intimidated the first day. Mostly afraid about cars not seeing me and getting hit. My boyfriend also has a membership so it was helpful starting the adventure together. Only took a day before I realized how doable it was. Bike lanes definitely help. And there are so many Citi Bikers on the road!”