Biking to Vietnam (and coffeeshops with awesome cookies)

Chocolate Peanut Butter cookie at Mojo

I had high hopes for NYC’s new bike-sharing program from the first day I laid eyes on that silver rack by my house. Thrilled by the possibility that NYC was becoming a little bit like Paris, instead of riding through the dreamy Jardin de Tuileries, I imagined getting lost in glorious Central Park. Who needed to bike to the Louvre when one could bike to The Met? Gone would be the days of standing in a crowded bus with an armpit on my face. Or sitting in the back of a cab fearing for my life. My vibrant, passionate, and at times brutal NYC life would be made just a teeny bit easier with this new mode of transport. Plus, $95 per year for unlimited use of bikes without having to worry about someone snatching it or where to park it? Sounded good to me!

This past weekend, we rode downtown from Hell’s Kitchen with the wind on our backs, via Hudson River Park to Greenwich Village, Tribeca, and eventually one of our favorite Vietnamese spots in Chinatown. We stopped for Earl Grey ice-cream, discovered Garson Yu’s T.I.N.Y. installation on Pier 57, and walked through Lispenard Street. During our four-hour bike tour, we only had one setback. We had to return the bikes every 30 minutes, which made it a bit of a race against time.

Today I took another gorgeous ride along the Hudson to Mojo on Charles street, where I refueled with ginger lemonade and chocolate peanut butter cookies. It took me 25 minutes to get down there from my house, and I was able to dock my bike at a station one block away – cool!

All in all, I think the program is going to be a big hit. Hopefully, Citibikes will get their act together and work out the kinks (ei. Customer service, please!) and New Yorkers will patient enough to hang in there until they do. Is it free advertising for the mammoth brand? Yes. I sometimes felt like a moving banner for Citibank. Though I wish this program was sponsored by the city of New York (like Paris Velib, which is run by the city), I’ve made peace with it. I now have a bike at my disposal I can use anytime I want. I’m helping the environment by avoiding public transportation. And I’m rediscovering my city, one pedal at a time.

While the kinks are worked out, here are some tips which may help:

  1. If you get a daily pass (approximately $9.99 for 24-hour access) and the code doesn’t work. Wait 15 minutes and try again.
  2. The first time you use the annual token, make sure you put it in the right way (arrow facing out). If it doesn’t work the first time, try again after 15 minutes.
  3. Make sure you give yourself ample time to figure out how everything works and deal with any kinks. NOTE: Right now Citibikes customer service is pretty much impossible to reach.
  4. Pack your hand sanitizer (this is NYC after all!)
  5. There are no bottle holders on the bike
  6. The bell is on the left handlebar, and so much FUN.

One Response to Biking to Vietnam (and coffeeshops with awesome cookies)

  1. Karina Chez says:

    This is great. I miss it even more now! Can’t wait to try it soon.

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