New York's Bike Share Is A Pain In The Ass That's Worth It

Filmmaker Casey Nesitat takes to the streets of New York to compare the new Citibike bike share to other forms of transportation.

New York City has now joined the ranks of Paris, Hangzhou and Newark with its own set of shared public bicycles. They’ve gotten mixed reviews, so far, thanks especially to technical glitches and omnipresent Citibank advertising. But for an optimistic, entertaining and seeming earnest biker’s perspective, there is Casey Nesitat’s new video: "CitiBikes are a Pain in the Ass."

An avid and seemingly masochistic maker of gonzo bike documentaries, in the past Neistat has demonstrated the dangers of bike lanes, the ease of bike theft and the safe way to learn to do a bike-mounted back-flip. Despite the title of his new video, he’s bullish on the clunky Citi Bikes, going as far as to claim he will convert entirely after his current fixed gear is stolen. (It’s unclear whether or not Neistat made this video for Citibike, or just for fun; he tends to blur the lines between advertising and personal recommendations.)

He writes in the YouTube description that "more bikes means less cars (ideally), more active commuters, quieter city and generally makes this place more civilized."

Just don’t tell his recent corporate client, Mercedes-Benz.

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  • John Rowland

    Really wanted to love citibike because I believe it's a great concept. But my experience with it was HORRIBLE. 30 minutes?! Really?! Yes that's all the time you get before having to return the bike ... or be charged of course. We were visiting NYC, and had a very limited time, so we thought citibike would be a great way to cover more ground at Central Park. Our first problem came with trying to unlock a bike. The instructions were quite simple. However, executing the instructions was another matter. Trying to get the card to swipe was extremely difficult. Then getting the bike to actually unlock also proved extremely problematic. Once we were on the bikes, we were really enjoying the park, but were coming up on the ridiculously short 30 minute limit. We looked at the map, and it turns out the only stations are on the south end of the park, so we were screwed and went over the limit. In hindsight, I wish I would have just rented from any of the other numerous bike rental vendors at the south entrance of the park.

    We had a 24 hour pass, so we wanted to use the bikes again the next day to save time and ride over the Brooklyn Bridge. Station by the bridge was broken. We met a local who was very frustrated because she was at the end of her 30 MINUTE time limit, and couldn't check her bike in. We went to another station - also broken. We went to a 3rd station, also broken! Finally gave up.  Citibike has A LOT of work to do on this system. I hope they get it fixed, but my recommendation is to avoid it like the plague until they do.