The Citi on Bikes!

It’s wheelie time.



You know, I wish I had a perfectly executed outfit (et hem, this Reformation dress, these devastatingly–no, really, devastating–white sneakers) to share in tandem with the brand new bikes giving our thighs a spin for their gluts. It would also rather seamlessly  demonstrate how easy it will be to look like The Irrefutably Perfect Woman while on two wheels but alas, I’ve only got bullet points. That’s it.

Memorial Day Monday marked inaugural joy rides through New York City for several new Citi Bike members and the forthcoming week will mark the very same thing for the rest of us non-members while we finally put our metal to the petal(s), make like Paris (they’ve got 18,000) (or sultry women) and ride. Because I’d be hard pressed to tell you this is not a fantastic alternative to a. sweaty subways b. expensive cabs or c. futile cars, here are five very important coups to consider in reflecting on the 6,000 bikes now permeating city sidewalks from 59th street to Brooklyn as told by Carlye Wisel.

1. The Golden Ticket. Or: the one shiny, Midas-hued helmet that’s making us love the idea of not cracking our heads open on the pavement while joyriding uptown. Who needs a candy button-inspired bag dreamt up by modern-day Proenza Wonkas when you can toss all your tiny leather goods and otiose Chapsticks into a golden orb that doubles as brain protection? Helmet hair is like electricity’s natural dry shampoo, after all. (And a really good excuse to stock up on the travel-sized hair goops at Sephora.)

2. Market Investments. After coughing up a hundred dollars for a year’s worth of biking (and a key to the city!), the cold hard cash value of tutt-tutting to early evening drinks by way of one foot in front of the other is undeniable. Do you have any idea how many President faces that’ll save you over the course of twelve (okay, six semi-warm) months?! So many. Or, at least, enough to splurge on something fantastically whimsical and ironically bike-deficient. Less time swiping our dollar bills away to experience the sticky Coachella-ian heat of the underground chariot means more money for making next season’s why-did-I-buy-that decisions. Win-win-win-win-win. Win.

3. Footloose and Fitness Free. Gone are the days of setting alarms and praying to the Gods of Indoor Party Jam Fun Time Spinning Sign-Ups, only to to be shut out of exercise classes the second the virtual gate is pulled open for online registration. It takes a mental triathlon to even succeed in scheduling cardio fitness in this shiny little bastard of a town we call home, but dragging our own asses from place to place means calf muscles to die for, butts like Whole Foods’ organic plums, and a nifty heart-racing way to trek back home by biking off tomorrow’s hangover today. We’re not positive if drunk biking is a thing we must consider — is tipsy cycling drunk cycling? — but if everyone in Paris has Bordeaux for blood and can survive on the city-ordained quasi-death traps, we’ll consider ourselves self-excused from spinning to a Rihanna song in a dark box.

4. Rebel Rebel. Wheelies down Kenmare Street? You bet. Come one, come all to our circus of tire tricks and rental bike madness. Skateboarding is for crustpunks, 4x4s are for God’s children, and American bank-sponsored, 45-pound bright blue machinery are our ball-busting weapons of choice. If half the fun of extreme sport pastimes are the accessories — often a surf gear enthusiast, never a surfer —  this is our chance to experience full athletic immersion in a real world setting, amidst the omnipresent risk of a concrete jungle’s two-wheel hazards. It might be time to take a double dose of adderall to squeeze the terrors of being doored on Bowery out of our brains, but rolling up on a neon azul chariot in front of friends who assumed wearing Charlotte Olympia heels was the closest we’d ever get to hiking are about to get a load of grit and glory.

5. Going All In. We’re bidding adieu to the fear of being pantsed by Mother Nature or air supplies a la Marilyn Monroe atop a manhole, only in our case, instead of silken white briefs, it’s spotting our high-high-waisted granny-inspired briefs popping out beneath a layered, fringe skirt. So what if trotting around town with metal between our legs inadvertently gives the goods up on a two-wheeled platter? Who cares! If bikinis are waterproof underwear and bralettes are now considered tops, we’re letting it all hang out in the downstairs business-covering department. Or, as our new-found sporty selves like to say: clear eyes, full hip-hugging underwear, can’t lose. And hey — breeze in our hair and an accidental peek through our dress bottoms is still better than upper thigh sweat on a taxicab seat. Besides, wafts of summer air make us feel lovely–though it should be noted: if new found quadriceps strength allows us to finally keep our legs crossed under the dinner table, we’ll consider that a bonus, too.

Above image via BusinessWeek

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  • I love the idea. I just… well… I hate to admit this but… I don’t know how to ride a bike. There, I’ve said it. I’m outed.

    • joey

      I am 28 and I only learned to ride a bike last summer. It’s never too late!

    • Leandra Medine

      I still can’t ride if I don’t have both hands planted firmly on the handle bars (ask me how many pair of sunglasses I’ve obliterated)

      • Thanks for the emotional support guys! Husband desparately wants me to learn this summer, maybe it’s time I give it a go!

      • How many pairs of sunglasses have you obliterated? (This is a very middle school boy thing to do, I know) (but then again I probably am a middle school boy).

    • Sarah G

      don’t feel bad—- I learned late last summer at 24 years old. It’s never too late! x

    • If you’re in NYC, they have free classes for learning how!

  • Reptilia

    I love riding a bike!! I´m looking for a cool bike to buy!


  • ela’s world

    its a great thing for NYC – just too bad that many parts of the city is not so biker friendly…

  • Maddali

    We’ve got city bikes for years now, in Vienna! It’s a great way to get home after a long drunken night!

  • I love biking so much! It was exciting to see a bike first thing when I went to your blog.

  • Well. P.
  • brunetteletters

    Ha!! I just remember last summer I decided to ride one of the vintage bikes and since it had been forever since the last time I rode one, I fell and it sucked…worse part is that i feel on top of some guy that was just sitting there.

    hard to explain through a comment but it was not good.

    Brunette Letters Blog

  • Jules Fashion Week

    can’t wait to rent one while in NYC !!
    I’m from the true biking city – Amsterdam 😉

  • Andrea

    We’ve had these bikes in Montreal for a few years now. The company later starting selling the design to other cities like London and NYC. I have a few suggestions for neophytes to bike-sharing systems:

    1. Check the bike before you borrow. Check for flat tires, spin the wheels for creaking, test the breaks and try adjusting the seat before you release the bike from it’s lock. Even check for a loose rattling basket. You’ll notice that gets old really fast.

    2. Respect the time allotted. No, you don’t have the bike for the entire day. You have it for 45 min and then you need to either return it, or check it into a station so you can keep going. It’s like cellphone plans, they charge you a ton for overtime.

    3. Don’t piss off regular cyclists. Rent-a-bikes are awesome BUT they have the reputation of being the idiot’s bike. Tourists borrow them and people who have never biked in the city. Be aware that Citi bikes are a lot bulkier than regular bikes, don’t take up the whole bike lane. Bike lanes also have signals and rules. Don’t swerve all over the place because “oohhmmmagawd woohoo, wind in my hair”. UPSIDE, Citi bikes are so heavy, you’ll probably withstand being doored by a parked car.

    4. Make sure you push the bike into the locking station ALL THE WAY until you hear the BEEP. If in doubt, try pulling the bike out again to make sure it’s locked. If you don’t, you run the risk of leaving the bike unlocked. You’ll be charged for any overtime on the bike (because it’s not checked in), or somebody could take it and never return it and it’s charged to your credit card. Also, only loan your pass or a checked out bike to trustworthy people. Your credit card gets charged if anything happens.

    5. I don’t know if this applies to NY, but if there’s an App, get it! It shows where the closest stations are, how many bikes are available, how many open slots there are if you need to park a bike, you can time your ride to make sure you don’t go over, it’s great.

    Otherwise, enjoy. So much better than cabs in the summer, and I found I got to know my city WAY better by biking it!

    • Leandra Medine

      Ohhhh, thank you for this!


    I wish I could ride a bike in my city but it’s almost impossible!

    OASAP GIVEAWAY (Free Clothes)

  • TheScreenSiren

    This is such a great post! love that the city is finally getting bikes!

  • WOOHOO! There’s nothing quite like a good bike share. Or bikes in general. It’s sort of a romantic thought to think that NY could have some of the same spirt as Amsterdam or Copenhagen or Paris, while still retaining the charm and boldness that makes NY so effectively itself. Plus, an important note to mention is the moral boost that cycling will support! Just think, NO CARBON EMISSIONS FROM YOU when on the bike. Zippo, none. Not only will you be getting fresh air, feeling less guilty about consuming a cinnamon bun for breakfast during commute rather than an apple, but you’ll also be doing your part in contributing to the betterment of our little earth. She’s working overtime. And for those not that concerned with climate change, if anything, think of it as preserving the beauty and of earth! Humans like beauty, it’s in our nature, so this is sort of a *duh*. I think more cities should implement this system because we really need it. Thanks for mentioning this Leandra and Carlye, because we need to get people pumped about helping our earth, which ultimately helps each other. Unlike there being a pill for a wild and/or irresponsible night that could have left someone pregnant, there is no Plan(et) B.
    And I hope this isn’t interpreted to infringe on the no politics policy of this blog, but it shouldn’t because climate change is not a partisan issue, it’s a citzens-of-the-earth issue.

  • I quite like my crotch,
    but thanks

  • I love that we finally have bikes! I haven’t ridden one yet but plan to when the moment arises. We are way overdue on making our city more bike friendly & safer. With these citibikes placed around downtown Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn I truly hope we do. It’s a cheaper alternative than riding the subway and a healthier way of keeping fit.

  • Ukkalizer

    We’we had these in Oslo (The captiol of Norway) for many many years. They are great.
    You have bikeracks all over town, so if you pick one up you can drop it of on whatever bikerack you want – even if it’s on the other side of town.

  • stylelovely

    i dont know how 😉

  • Hamza CH

    loving the thought.. same thing going to order from

  • Here’s a piece on this on NPR — talking to bikers themselves!

  • Katherine

    I gave these a whirl this weekend….AWESOME! I’m a wimp when it comes to hills, and have zero athletic ambition, so I’ll never be one of those gals who rides to work (this is why i don’t have my own bike), but gosh it’s so nice to bike once in a while, you know?


  • Melissa

    We have something like the Citibike in Houston called the B-cycle! Biking is such a great form of exercise.

    P.S. I love the sassy comments on the image.