This post is about an activity to try New York City’s brand new bike sharing program on Wednesday, June 26th, by getting bikes near the West Side highway (near the lovely traffic-free bike lanes along the river) and heading downtown to park them – and grab lunch at one of the food trucks in Battery Park City.
WHO WOULDA THUNK? – Yes, who would have ever imagined that the latest addition to NYC’s transportation infrastructure isn’t some new futuristic, whizzy-whiz, techie effort but instead a huge fleet of velocipedes … oops, bicycles. Already rooted in NYC lexicon as “Mike Bikes” in “honor” of our mayor, the specially developed bicycle itself (see below) is a sturdy, workman-like vehicle of homely virtues: spatter-guards, cushy seats, supposedly puncture-resistant tires and 3 speeds.
Well, there are a few techno additions to support the effort in the form of the bike kiosks themselves which take a variety of payment methods (annual “keys”, daily and weekly passes, and credit cards) and, of course, there’s an app for this as well. The app tells you on your Apple or Android devices (phones or tablets) the closest bike kiosk locations, and on a location-specific basis how many bikes are available to rent and how many docks are available for returning bikes.
This effort has been cooking for a long time and was delayed both by some technical glitches and the hauntingly omnipresent Hurricane Sandy which flooded the bike warehouse. The nay-sayers to this effort are legion and as you expect in New York everyone has a reason as to why this is a bad idea: the bike stations take up too much room; they are eyesores; they will entice vandalism, graffiti and larceny; bike riders don’t know what they’re doing and will get maimed or killed; drivers don’t know how to share the roads with bicyclists and there will be accidents ….and on and on and on. So many of us cynical New Yorkers are simply thrilled that in the face of this not inconsiderable or unreasonable opposition – THAT IT’S HAPPENING ANYWAY. And not a few of us fear that the critics may be right and that this effort may be short-lived. So what to do?: LET’S TRY IT RIGHT AWAY !
Some of us think that one of the best ways to see New York is from a bike. You go fast enough to cover some real territory and you go slowly enough to be able to take in whatever you’re riding past. So, if by chance this amazing experiment doesn’t quite make it as a permanent part of New York City’s transportation landscape, won’t you want to tell your children or grandchildren that you remember when …. against all odds New York City went back in time to create something new?
DETAILS: On Wednesday, June 26th from approximately 11am to 1 pm. We will get individual daily passes for $9.95 (unless you already have an Annual Pass) which are good for an unlimited number of 30-minute rides for within a 24 hour period. If any of the individual legs of our trip are in excess of 30 minutes, there will be an additional automatic charge of $4 for the next 30 minutes, $9 for the third contiguous 30 minutes and $12 (!) for every half hour after that. The point here is that these bikes are meant for transportation or commuting and not for excursions – but we’re going to check it out anyway. Want to come? – RSVP to email@example.com with “Bike Share” in the subject line and we will get you the specifics.