We have been testing the options for getting around town. We love the walking, it puts us on the streets where we can see the people, and notice the little things that might easily be missed, but it is slow and there is a limit to how far we can roam. The subway is faster, but it puts us underground where we miss the surroundings. We need something that keeps us closer to the streets but extends our reach.
In our constant search to figure out transportation, we checked out Citi Bike. Citi Bike is a bicycle sharing program throughout New York City and expanded to Jersey City. There are over 600 docking stations and more than 10,000 bicycles operating.
Here is how it works. We go to the docking racks where the bikes are locked in. We downloaded the app on our phone and set up our account on our cell phone with a credit card. This only takes a few minutes. After set up, the home page showed us a map of the racks in our area and how many bikes are available at each location. We found a place where bikes are available and that’s where we went to get our bikes. When we got to the rack, we pushed the “unlock bike” button on the home page. We were sent a five digit code that we punched into the pad on the bike rack. The bike is unlocked and we took off on your excursion.
The rental is $4 for 30 minutes, $12 for a full day pass. There is also an annual pass for $163, offering a 10% discount if you use a Citi Bank credit/debit card.
We were given a 30 minute access to the bike to go wherever we wanted. We could return the bike to any of the 600+ racks around town. When we locked the bike back in after our trip, we were sent a text message showing where we checked back in, how long the ride lasted, how far we traveled, and how many calories we burned along the way.
We rode down the parkway along 12th Avenue and the Hudson River. It was great for sightseeing, but 12th Ave is also the West Side Highway (9A) and the traffic is heavy, fast and loud. There is also massive amounts of high rise construction going on all along the avenue. The sights of the tugboats, barges and other vessels were really interesting, as was the views of the Jersey shoreline on the other side of the river.
When we turned back into the streets, leaving the river behind us, we had more narrow streets where some have dedicated bike lanes. Even without the lanes, bikers are given protected status treatment. There is a pecking order here. Pedestrians are #1, bikes are second and everyone else, cabs, trucks, limos, ambulances, etc., just do what they can to get down the street. It’s like a polite, mannered chaos.
We zoomed around quickly and really enjoyed the riding. It has been about 40 years since we have ridden bikes and that was a little weird, but we adjusted quickly.
We pretty much have our getting around options lined out now. Jerry is crunching numbers for each mode. Considering effort, distance, cost, time, etc., she will establish an efficiency rating for us to use.
Meanwhile, I think I’ll go get a hot dog!!