Andiamo Citi Bike Share!

The reactions to the first official day of Citi Bike Share are coming in from many media outlets and regular folks via social media. Gothamist takes the cake for the most curious (and gross) observation. What did they say? The bikes are crawling with germs. Here are their suggestions for sanitary use of the two wheelers:

According to TreeHugger (who are opposed to bike condoms because bacteria is good for you or whatever) these are popular amongst the bike-sharing set in Barcelona. Just slip the protective layer on to the handles and toss them in the trash when you’re done. The DIY version of this is to use plastic bags.
Why didn’t Citi Bike install Purell stations at their bike racks? Just carry your own travel size bottle with you (which you are probably already doing if you got this far into a article about germs).
You probably won’t catch anything from someone else’s sweat fluids traveling through layers of your clothing, but maybe it would be nice to wipe down the seat anyway, for your own mental health. Carry around some antibacterial wipes with you and everything will be okay. (The aforementioned DIY plastic bag solution would also work for the seat.)

And, of course, there’s the saga “Dr. Frank” Arroyo the Lower East Side bike shop owner who a certain newspaper believes is a victim of the evil Citi Bike scheme:

NY Post: Arroyo said the city didn’t bother to consult him before installing a kiosk so close to his storefront.

Before the kiosk went up, in sight of Arroyo’s shop, he was planning to build up his rentals.

“It has become more and more of a year-round business,” he said. “You got tourists that come, and Europeans especially are used to using bikes year-round. It’s a growing business.”

Now he has to change gears.

“I’m going to have to concentrate on where I can make more income to make up for the potential loss,” he said.

Arroyo wishes the city had partnered with local bike shops for the program.

“It would’ve been nice if [Citi Bike] would’ve had a program teaching young people how to fix bikes,” he said.

Meanwhile, here in Brooklyn Heights, a handful of residents aren’t giving up the fight against the bike-share program. Brooklyn Paper reported Monday that 140 Cadman Plaza West resident Keith Klein—whose building met with a Councilman Steve Levin rep in mid-May—is asking why they weren’t consulted about rack placement. He believes bikes would have been better placed in Cadman Plaza Park, instead of the front of his building.

“We were told there was extensive community outreach prior to placement of each station,” Klein told Brooklyn Paper. “Fact is, not one person on our Board or any staff member of our building or building’s management company knew anything about this until the day the racks appeared. This installation blocks access to the main door of the building, not just from a cab when you have luggage, or your car when you are unloading shopping bags, but access for emergency vehicles. This is a critical situation and rather shocking that no one thought it through.”

Residents of 150 Joralemon Street, as previously reported, have sued the city over racks placed there, claiming they are blocking garbage collection.

Other reports on day one of the program include: New York Times, Business Insider, Wall Street Journal, U.K.’s Guardian, NY Daily News and WNYC. Tech blog Gizmodo predicts that the program will create a huge bike culture in New York City.

Publisher’s note: This post has been modified and edited since its original publish. Comments below may reflect opinons of earlier version.

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  • E

    Apologies if I missed it — where has the BHB “voiced its opinion strongly” on the positive side of this issue?

  • Pineappler

    Easily. They’re not blocking it. I use the pedestrian crossing where Clinton meets Tillary every day.

  • brooklynheightsblog

    Pardon if this sentence -“BHB community has voiced its opinion strongly on both sides of the issue,” confuses you. The BHB community is YOU in the COMMENTS.

  • David on Middagh

    I took pictures. You’re wrong, Pineappler. Going from curb cut to island
    to curb cut, you have to go out of your way to avoid the kiosk. (I’m
    talking about the Cadman Plaza West side of the striped triangle.) I
    hope you don’t dismiss this as the dissatisfaction of a property owner
    or a driver, as I’m neither. I’m pro-bike, but I’m also a pedestrian,
    and I use that intersection, too. I know whereof I speak.

  • Arch Stanton

    So you have to walk another 5 feet to avoid the kiosk, is that really a big deal?

  • Brixtony

    Yes – because you have to walk in the street. It’s fine for us able-bodied types, but people in walkers, wheelchairs, strollers, etc have to get through. I walk it several times a day and it’s in the way with a perfectly useful empty space across the street in front of the park.

    Also – the trash is already starting to accumulate around the docks – who cleans it? Will the buildings get ticketed ?

  • Arch Stanton

    Aren’t all crosswalks “in the street”?

  • Mike R

    Where’d you get that photo of me?

  • TeddyNYC

    If someone trips over a bike rack, can that person sue the building owner in addition to the company that owns it or do building owners have legal immunity?

  • MonroeOrange

    Firstly Joe, no one said people won’t use it, what we that oppose this program did say is that the locations are not in ideal places at the very least, and outright dangerous locations at the most. To not utilize our parks and instead put this right in front of buildings does nothing to help our community (which you have proven you care very little about).

    I also tried the bike over the weekend…if you think thats a good bike to ride, you clearly have never ridden a bike in your life. How about that bike basket to run errands with, you can’t fit anything in it!

    Of course people are going to use it the warmer months, but how about October – March…you seem to love to spout out useless stats…how about you give us the stats in the winter months, when we still won’t have our parking spots and will have to deal with streets that can’t be plowed. And before you say they are going to remove this in the winter months, don’t think that is possible as you have an annual membership.

    You must love being a corporate shill…as CitiBank is getting amazing advertising out of this, at the expense of Mom and Pop stores (bike stores that rent bikes have all been and will be affected, look up the article about the LES Bike shop, that had a rack put right in front of it, that’s really wonderful, lets keep letting the banks get rich at the expense of the hard working people who have been here for years.).

  • Arch Stanton

    Citi Bike first ride analyses:

    My “Founding Member” Key finally arrived, a couple of days late. However, it wasn’t a problem for me as I was out of town till today, anyway. Activation of the Key was easily accomplished, online.

    Undocking, my first attempt failed. I dipped my key, an amber light came on, I tried to remove the bike but it remained locked. Then a red light came on and went out after a few seconds.
    I dipped the key again, i then pressed one of the numeric code buttons (the instructions did not say to do this) the green light came on and the bike was easily removed, by gently lifting the seat an pulling it out.

    The Bike rides nice and soft thinks to the wide tires and cushy seat. The handling is very responsive, turning is surprisingly crisp and tight. The breaks worked perfectly well but have a different feel then the breaks on my bike, so it took a few minutes to get use to them.
    The peddling is very smooth and gear changing is easily done by twisting the inner ring of the right grip, although, I stayed almost exclusively in 3rd gear. I was able to maintain a speed of about 12 mph on level ground, which is fine for these “commuter bikes” but obviously not as fast as a racing bike, Think “cruiser” and you won’t be disappointed.

    My normal riding style is “bike messenger” but these bikes do not lend themselves to that style, as they are simply not that fast and don’t accelerate quickly. I was literally forced to ride in more of a “commuter” style, which is fine on the short trips I intend to use this system for. Also, the upright riding position makes for better visibility and for the rider to be more visible. In short, I felt the Citi Bikes are safer to ride than my regular bike.

    Docking was a snap, I just dipped my key, the green light came on and pushed the bike into the dock and it locked. I used “in the street” docking stations and did not feel in danger at any time.

    Overall, it was a very pleasant experience. I look forward to my next ride.

  • Joe A

    MO today:Firstly Joe, no one said people won’t use it.

    MO a couple weeks ago:

    MonroeOrange Joe A • 16 days ago −
    no…as is said people that do that in our city, OWN BIKES ALREADY!….your gonna pay to rent a bike, when you can buy a much better price on craigslist for $50….you like to waste money, that’s up to you…This program will not work without the tourist using it. No one is going to run an errand with these bikes…you gonna go grocery shopping with these bikes and the little baskets that come with it…good luck!

    You clearly indicated that the system will fail because of lack of use. I could not disagree with you more. I believe it will be wildly successful. Yeah there maybe a couple weeks in winter where usage will decrease but I predict the program will be so successful that the city will have to add more bikes and neighborhoods not presently covered will be clamoring for their stations. I guess we’ll just have to wait to see who is right.

  • Arch Stanton

    You claim to have tried the bike over the weekend, on what day? what plan did you use to rent the bike?

  • MonroeOrange

    Im not CLAIMING anything..i tried a friends bike…it sucks…my bike that i got on Craigslist for $50 is faster and works better….but enjoy your clunker.

  • MonroeOrange

    Joe, what i said is this program will not work without the tourist using it…anyone in this city that uses a bike as alt transportation, owns one…once the initial fascination dies down, those numbers will fall drastically….and seriously…lets see how many times YOU use this Nov – March….

  • Joe A


  • Joe A

    Citi Bike has been compiling daily stats on usage and membership on its blog, and in the 24 hours between 5 p.m. Tuesday and 5 p.m. Wednesday, users logged 7,500 trips on the bike-share system. The number of annual members increased by nearly 2,000 over the same period, bringing the total to 21,300.

    Joe Cutrufo at the Tri-State Transportation Campaign dug up some usage stats from the early days of bike-share in Boston and DC, and it looks like the number of trips per bike in NYC is slightly outpacing both of the other cities. In the first two full 24-hour periods that we have data for in NYC — from Monday at 5 p.m. to Wednesday at 5 p.m. — Citi Bike users made 14,930 trips, which works out to about 1.24 trips per bike per day. Meanwhile, Cutrufo reports that when DC’s Capital Bikeshare launched in 2010, users made about 1.05 trips per bike per day in its first 10 days.

    CaBi launched later in the year than Citi Bike, and it didn’t have as much hype, but let’s extrapolate a bit anyway. This April, CaBi users made about 8,000 trips per day on a system with around 1,800 bikes, for about 4.4 trips per bike. If NYC maintains a slightly higher rate of trips per bike, a Citi Bike network with 10,000 bikes would see more than 50,000 trips per day during the peak biking months.

  • Arch Stanton

    What! you have a friend with an annual membership in the Bike Share Program? I thought everyone you know is against it.

    Here is a quote from you a month ago.
    “I’ve lived here my whole life, and know 100s if not 1000s of people in the heights…not one of them thinks this is a good idea”

    There is more should I go on?

  • Arch Stanton

    Wrong again, I used the system 3 times today. One was just to check it out (read my review above), the other rides to and from Manhattan were to run some errands. it is more convenient than using my personal bike as I don’t need to return to the same spot to get it back and I don’t need to worry about my $2,500 bike getting stolen. It also gives me the option of returning by another mode of transportation altogether.

  • MonroeOrange

    Yes Arch, a friend had the key, he too is against this for the many reasons i stated already…but he got one so we could try it, which is the prudent thing to do (which i know is something you don’t understand)…he too thinks the bike is horrible.

  • MonroeOrange

    im not sure how im busted on anything, but maybe you are Arch should be riding a tandem bike.

  • MonroeOrange

    so you spent $2500 on a bike and dont use it…wow, maybe you should have given that money to charity instead…selfish little man..what a shame

  • Arch Stanton

    No, I do and will ride the expensive bike (has almost 20,000 miles on it), on recreational trips and century rides. Bike share is for utility rides.

  • Joe A

    The bike is for commuting, why can’t you get that through your head? The needs for commuting are quite different than recreational riding.

    It is like saying, If you owned a Porsche why would you take a grubby dirty cab to work?

  • Arch Stanton

    Because you are such an obvious liar. Your say your friend paid $100 to try a system he is against for many reasons. Do you honestly expect anyone to believe you?

    And the bike is not horrible, It rides just fine. In fact, I bet i can out ride you on a Citi Bike against you on any bicycle you own.