Daily News reporter Simone Weichselbaum likes her bikes light and fast. The self-proclaimed “proud bike snob who is rarely without her SE Draft steel-frame fixie” said in 2009 that “biking here can be a death sentence,” and that bike lanes are “battle zones.”
So it’s no surprise that Citi Bike — featuring a 45-pound three-speed with balloon tires and a low center of gravity — wasn’t her cup of tea. What she intended as a scathing review of the bike-share two-wheelers might turn out to be their best endorsement yet.
“The seat is wide and spongy. The handlebars are extra wide. The tires are fat,” Weischelbaum wrote, as if it were a bad thing. If even the Daily News’s resident bike daredevil couldn’t manage to do much beyond an easy pedal on a Citi Bike, it’s hard to see how the unfounded nightmare visions of “hell on wheels” conjured by the paper’s editorial board could come true.
To be fair, Weichselbaum did run into a common problem when she tried to take the bike out of its dock, but only because she was doing it the wrong way. “The thing wouldn’t move. I kept yanking on the handlebars. Nothing,” she wrote. If she had followed instructions printed on the bike and lifted by the seat instead of the handlebars, she could have saved herself the trouble.
Bicycling should be for everyone, not just people who keep a fixie in their apartment for a high-speed, high-stakes experience. For those just looking to get around town safely, cheaply and quickly, Weichselbaum’s review shows that Citi Bike should be exactly what they need.