The newness of spotting people on Citibike is kind of like playing “where’s Waldo”. It’s a fun game and when I’m below 59th street, it’s a frequent occurrence. When I see them outside the initial launch zone, it’s a bit rarer and truly piques my curiosity.
I noticed Shani as I was riding home on West 72nd street. She was headed in the opposite direction as I was, so I turned the Oma around and pedaled to catch up with her.
After I explained to her why I was taking her picture (and she happily agreed to pose for the photo above), we got to talking. Turns out that this was Shani’s first time using Citibike and her first time riding a bike in NYC traffic ever. I asked for her impressions of Citibike. Shani gave it a resounding two thumbs up. She was curious as to why there were no docking stations above 59th street. I explained that the second phase of the launch was planned to go up to 79th street. Her response: “Wow, they should go even higher- at least 86th street and even higher.”
I asked about her experience riding in NYC traffic. She told me that at times she found it a little harrowing and wished that we had more protected bike lanes in the city. I told her we’re working on that.
I asked if she was an annual member yet, to which she replied “No. Not yet, I just got a day pass to try it out to see if I liked it. I can’t wait to become an annual member!”
Realizing that she was on a day pass, I mentioned that I should let her continue her journey since she only had a 30 minute time limit and I didn’t want her to incur late charges.
Shani’s response “Oh, don’t worry about that! I took this bike out at 14th street and I’ve been riding all over town. I’m supposed to be on my way to rehearsal but I’m having so much fun, I don’t want to get off the bike. I know I already have late charges. But really, there’s no price when it comes to happiness!”
Wow. That just about says it all. Welcome to #bikenyc Shani, elated to welcome you into the begriming All Powerful Bike Lobby.