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A Guide to Cycling N.Y.C: Renting / Buying a Bicycle + Maintenance / Gear

                                  Getting a Bicycle

 

Renting or Ride Sharing with Citi Bike: 

While, there are numerous bike rental businesses across the city- they are mostly used by tourists who are willing to pay the price. Citi Bike, however is quite useful and now those two-wheeled blue cruisers have become part of the New York landscape alongside yellow cabs and pigeons. What’s up with them? For starters, there are several pricing options -- $169 for an annual membership, $24 for a three day pass or $12 for a 24-hour period. Here’s where it gets tricky: Memberships and passes doesn’t equal unlimited riding time. For example, a yearly membership includes 45-minute rides, but if you want to keep the bike longer, it will cost an additional $2.50 for each 15-minute interval on that particular bike. Some people find them too clunky for daily use, but others have made them a permanent part of their daily commute.

Buying: 

When buying a bike, it's important to keep a few things in mind. While you'll need a ride that can withstand the rigors of potholes and torn-up city streets, you will also have to lug it around- into and out of your apartment, up and down subway steps, maybe even around your workplace. You will also likely ride it over bridges and some hillier parts of the city, it may be useful to split the difference between a full mountain bike and a sleek road bike.If you're buying a used bike, try to avoid those hefty all-steel frames. 

Maintenance / Gear:

It can be quite expensive to bring your bike to the shop every time you need to fix a part of it. Though you might miss a more professional touch, which can also have it's benefits, regular maintenance on your own is completely feasible, and much less costly. Bicycles also require gear to effectively navigate the city and the changing seasons such as; a helmet, lock, lights, a bell, etc. 

Gear

Lock Up

You need to keep your investment safe. Unfortunately, bike thieves are common in New York, and learning how to properly lock up your bike is essential. Visit your local bike shop and ask about the differences between a U-Lock and a chain lock. U-locks, are shaped like the letter U, and have enough width to secure your cycle to a bike rack or a railing. They’re also lighter than a heavy chain.

But heavy chains have their benefits. A Kryptomite model weighs 6-pounds, and is long enough to lock a bike’s frame by looping the chain through the front tire and securing it to a light pole or parking meter. You want to secure as many parts of your bike as possible.

It can be tough to find an empty bike rack in busy commercial districts like Williamsburg’s Bedford Avenue, or in areas highly concentrated with office buildings, like anywhere in Midtown, and using a chain-lock gives you more options to secure your bike to a fixed object. DON’T use a skinny tree, scaffolding, or a wobbly loose pole, as your fixed object. Thieves can knock over unstable trees and poles to get to your bike. They can also unscrew parts of scaffolding.

 

 

Necessary Accessories 

Wear a helmet! Riders tend to feel silly in the awkward plastic dome, but wearing one can literally save your life. Don't take the risk! Only New Yorkers under the age of 14 are legally required to wear one, but still, wear a helmet. Also, use bike lights. You need a single white, bright, removable headlight on top of your handlebars. And the same thing, but in red, needs to go on the back of your bike frame. Effectively creating "headlights" and "brake lights" on your bicycle, so at night cars and pedestrians can see you. New York State traffic law requires the use of these two lights from dusk to dawn. The law also requires that your bike has a working bell, or a similar signal.

 

Citi Bike

Citi Bike is New York City’s bike share system, and the largest in the nation. Citi Bike launched in May 2013 and has become an essential part of our transportation network. It's fun, efficient and affordable – not to mention healthy and good for the environment.

Citi Bike, like other bike share systems, consists of a fleet of specially designed, sturdy and durable bikes that are locked into a network of docking stations throughout the city. The bikes can be unlocked from one station and returned to any other station in the system, making them ideal for one-way trips. People use bike share to commute to work or school, run errands, get to appointments or social engagements, and more.

Citi Bike is available for use 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, 365 days/year, and riders have access to thousands of bikes at hundreds of stations across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Jersey City.