Today’s Headlines

  • You Mean NYC Didn’t Invent Bike-Share? (NYT)
  • Congressman Earl Blumenauer: Bike-Share Will Be Good for NYC (News); Downtown Express Agrees
  • Day 3: 21,300 Annual Members (Citi Bike); Trips Per Bike Outpaces Boston and DC (MTR)
  • Crain’s Fumbles With Docks; NY Mag Has Review Roundup; Gothamist Eviscerates Post and Observer
  • A Train Service Returns to Rockaways Today at Noon (WNYCNewsNY1)
  • Co-Op City Residents Demand Better Bus Service After 2010 Cuts (News)
  • Riders Alliance Creates “G Train Workout” Video to Show Need for Better Service (DNA, Post)
  • Barclays Center to Start Bike Valet After Outdoor Bike Racks Are Under-Used (AYR)
  • Plumb Beach Bike Path Along Belt Parkway to Close for Seven Months (Bklyn Daily)
  • Citi Bike Attacks! (Drawger)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • carma

    this morning as i was docking into the share station on 41st & 8th by the port authority, i noticed something interesting. only 2 bikes out of this huge 53 dock station are available. this tells you that people are seriously using this to get around. especially at major hubs like the PA. as a reverse commuter going into jersey, i probably wont have problems picking up a bike, but folks from jersey will probably soon have a tough time with demand. i feel we already need more stations.

    forget about what the post says about the evils of bike share. people want this.

  • Anonymous

    My first docking experience was similar to that depicted by Crain’s, but luckily there were many open docks and I succeeded after trying a different one and I only lost a minute or two, not 30.

    Yesterday I rode from around Rockefeller Center to SoHo (3 miles), and it took me 28 min! With an average speed of 6 mph, you can tell I’m not the fastest or most daring cyclist on the road; I took Broadway, with all its pedestrians on the bike lane, traffic, and red lights (at which I did stop). Still, I think that’s a reasonably short distance, so I found my time disturbingly close to the 30 min limit for non-subscribers. Perhaps they should just make the limit 45 min for everyone, or 45/60? I think they should make it easy for non-subscribers to get at least from downtown to midtown without having to race.

    Another observation: the number of bikes on the station fluctuates wildly! I saw the dock by my office nearly full when I got there, and a couple hours later it was almost empty. I suppose people got there in the morning and then took a ride for lunch? (I also saw wild fluctuations at other stations.) Finally, the number of bikes shown on the map didn’t seem to match reality.

    I’ll add one more thing: even though the Citi Bike feels slower than my bike (which is heavy too, BTW, but not as heavy), I still passed many people on regular bikes. 😉

  • carma

    from my observation. most citibike riders are on the slower side. perhaps because of the heavy nature of the bike or perhaps i think most havent rode on a bicycle in years and are finally getting into it.

    i did a 3.7 mile trip yesterday on citibike from 42nd & 8th to canal & eldridge to go pick up my preschooler after work. normally i would walk over to the east side and take the m15 down. total time is around 45 minutes depending on how much traffic on 2nd. i dont take the subway since i can save the transfer from bus to subway later on. yesterday it took me 23 minutes on the heavy citibike. thats a win for me.

    also noticed almost all obey all lights and yield to pedestrians.

  • ruby soho

    Missed one from yesterday AM: Staten Island activists work for bike lanes and pedestrian safety on Richmond Terrace and Clove Road (DNAinfo)

  • Ridgewoodian

    Docking is certainly a kink that needs to be worked out. Monday I had no problems at all with four different bikes but on Wednesday I was unable to dock one bike at all – at several docks, at two different stations. I eventually called the help line. They told me they were showing the bike as returned (which was good) even though, at that very moment, it was completely undocked. Last night it took a few tries to get a bike to lock and I never actually got a green light. This morning, again, a few tries. I’ve been getting printed return receipts at the kiosks and I think this might be a good practice for everyone until the bugs are worked out.

    I also encountered an entire station that seemed to be offline – neither the docks nor the kiosk were working. It was shown as active on the app. It would be nice if there were some kind of indication at the stations whether they’re up and running or not – like the green and red globes at subway stations.

    So there are issues that need to be addressed. But, those aside, this has been GREAT, and it heartens me to see these bikes all over town.

  • Bluewndrpwrmlk96

    Did anybody have trouble docking or requesting more time (ie like the Crain’s video)? @qrt145:disqus said he had a problem but tried another dock. I may use bikeshare when I visit DC to traverse between the monuments.

  • Mike

    The Plumb Beach Bike Path has been basically unusable with a long stretch totally covered in sand since Sandy, so closing it is probably a good idea. Doing so will not only give them time to fix it, but it will also keep poor suckers (like me) from getting halfway down it and then having to decide between turning around or a long, painful slog of dragging their bikes through fairly deep sand.

  • Jared R

    No problems at all. Not once. It’s odd to ram the bike into the dock though; I know I’m not going to break it, but it still weirds me out. Green light every time.

    “a single green light, minute and faraway, that might have been the end of a dock.”
    – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ch. 1

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t know you could get a receipt, how do you do that?

  • Ridgewoodian

    Go to the screen at the kiosk. Hit the button for your preferred language. Identify yourself as a daily/weekly or annual member. (I assume we’re all annual members.) It will tell you to insert your key. This is what messed me up at first: there’s no slot that really looks to really be the right size for a fob, but it actually fits, very loosely, in the top of the credit card slot. You’ll probably have to leave it in there for five or ten seconds. Eventually you’ll be given the option of printing out either your monthly statement or receipts for any of your last TEN rides. The receipt gives you your start and end location and your start and end time, in 24 hour format. I read deep into the user agreement we signed onto and a return receipt is proof positive that we’ve returned a bike. So, good to have.

    Hey! Streetsblog! You probably have access to better video equipment than I do. How ’bout a couple of how-to vids! I’ll host, if you can’t find anyone better looking!

  • I have not had a significant problem with docking: the first time, it didn’t register, so I looked at the bike and realized that the metallic triangle at the base of the handlebars is going to lock onto something above it in the dock. So as I pushed it in I pulled up a bit. Hope that helps someone.
    Also, as a newbie NY streets bicyclist, I want to thank all the experienced bicyclists who 1) fought for safer bike lanes and 2) are biking at the same time as me. I learned a ton yesterday morning (first bike share ride) watching others negotiating left-turning vehicles, etc.

  • Anonymous

    Yesterday I delivered my first package as a messenger using Citibike. It went just fine. It doesn’t feel nearly as fast as my regular messenger bike, but it only took me one more minute than normal. And I passed loads of people. I haven’t had any problems getting the bike into the dock, but when I looked at my trips on the computer when I got home it said I still had two bikes out. I’ve had a green light each time. I called the hotline and it was taken care of no problem. I’m pretty damn pleased with how this is working.

  • That would be fun. I expect Citi Bike will be producing something like that soon. Maybe Clarence can fill in some gaps after the official how-to vid comes out.

  • Jared R

    No problems at all. Not once. It’s odd to ram the bike into the dock though; I know I’m not going to break it, but it still weirds me out. Green light every time.

    “a single green light, minute and faraway, that might have been the end of a dock.”
    – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ch. 1

  • Daphna

    Regarding the Mobilizing the Region article: I think NYC Bikeshare will have more trips per bike than DC’s Capital Bikewhare or Boston’s Hubway. Citibike is still in preview week and the trips per bike are outpacing Capital and Hubway during their initial days. When Citibike has the launch June 2nd, I think usage will increase greatly.

    Regarding Blumenauer’s article in News: Paris Velib has 1,800 stations and 20,000 bikes. NYC is bigger than Paris so Citibike needs even more than that. Also, Capital Bikeshare started with 49 docking stations and 400 bikes in 2011 and by 2013 has expanded to 224 docking stations and 1,900 bikes. That kind of expansion would be terrific for NYC! Capital increased their stations 457% and their bikes 475%. Citibike needs to expand to 1,800 stations and 30,000 bikes as soon as possible!

    (Citibike also needs to improve their software. The system errors described by users in this comments section are troubling.)

  • Joe R.

    How’s the gearing on these things? Is third good for around 15 mph or so?

    And yes, I’m sure a big part of why you’re noticing many Citibike riders being slow isn’t just the bikes, but probably because many haven’t rode in a while.

    I need to come down to Manhattan soon just to see the system in action.

  • Greg

    Sigh. Half the Brooklyn Heights stations are still marked “out of service”, even though they all seem to work when you actually use them.

    Except, perhaps Clinton & Tillary? The map shows “0 bikes” and “0 docks” free. This morning I picked up a bike at Clinton & Joralemon (marked as “out of service”, but it worked), then dropped it off at Clinton & Tillary. I docked the bike, the light turned green, and went about my day.

    A few hours later I tried to get a bike in Manhattan only to get a red light and no bike. Same deal at every dock in the station and across multiple stations, I ultimately had to call customer service and wait 10 minutes to have my key reactivated – unfortunately completely missing my intended trip (and having to walk 20 minutes instead).

    My trip stats now show that my morning trip stated at Clinton & Joralemon, ended at Clinton and Joralemon, and took 0 minutes. So… Clinton & Tillary works but is unsafe to use?

    I don’t mean to vent, but I’m not sure I’m yet comfortable *relying* on the system to make timed appointments given these issues that obviously still exist and lack of communication about how to avoid them. I really hope this kind of thing can get cleared up in days, and isn’t indicative of shoddy software that may remain shoddy indefinitely.

  • carma

    i almost never care about what gear i start in with these bikes. to me 3rd gear is still quite easy to start in. if im pedaling in first like a mad man, i can probably reach up to 10mph before needing to change.

    i think my top speed on these bikes may have been only 20mph. partly due to the lack of will to push it any faster. but also because the gearing restricts you from exceeding more than that.

    im definitely in the faster bunch of citibike riders i think on par with most of the commuter bikes. but definitely a majority of the bunch are slower, which i think is due to lack of riding normally. as they get ride more, expect their speeds to increase for sure. but im thinking 20mph tops.

  • Joe R.

    Here’s some info the Nexus 3-speed gearing these bikes are using:

    It looks like a 1.86 range between highest and lowest, so if ~10 mph is the limit in first, then yes, 20 mph or thereabouts is tops. I’ll count the teeth on the front and rear sprockets when I see a Citibike in person and figure the exact ratios myself but it sounds like they didn’t gear the bikes too low as I feared they might. If 20 mph is tops, then probably 15 mph is a comfortable pedaling cadence. On my own bike I usually keep it on the smaller 39 tooth chainring in front and use any of the ten gears on my 12-23 cassette. I’ve had it past 35 mph in the 39-12 gear, but really 23-24 mph in the same gear is the maximum speed which I find comfortable for long periods.

  • This is the first system since Alta fired the experienced developers and took the programing in house to save money

  • Joe R.

    When I went that way back in December I just rode along the entrance ramp to the Belt Parkway. I’m guessing that will remain the only option until it’s fixed.

  • Greg

    I’m a professional software developer, which is precisely why I worry about their software.

    Patching poorly designed systems does not end those systems’ problems. They can remain brittle indefinitely.

    I’m really, really hoping their system isn’t poorly designed, and follows sound conservative development strategies. With a limited budget. And under time pressure. And without extensive field testing. Cross fingers.

  • david

    People were having docking issues tonight at east bway and Essex dock. Wow, check that great comix link!

  • Dont forget that their president bailed out last month