09 May 2013


It is a good time to be cyclist in New York City.  We will finally have a bike share program, the CitiBike.  I cannot recall when I first heard about it, but I recall hearing from my distant niece in Paris.  Hop on a bike, go to a different part of the city to return, done.  No worry about carrying an extra key for the bike lock, no need to lug the bike around.  Of course, the bike stations may not be close to where you want to be, but I am sure it works in many scenarios.  Even though there are any bike stations near where I live, I ponied up the money for an annual membership just to show my support for the program.  I don't know where my next job will put me so I don't know if I will ever bike to work, but there are some scenarios I can make use of a bike without having to keep it after I'm done biking.  Suppose some day I'm on the subway and the train stopped running for whatever reason.  I can just hop out of the subway, grab a CitiBike and get closer to home then transfer to a working train line.  Ideally I can bike all the way home, or at least close enough to walk home after returning the bike, but just being able to get closer to home is a plus.  A less useful scenario would be for me to satisfy my fancy about doing a triathlon.  I would take the subway to a swimming pool, do some hundreds of meters, then hop on a CitiBike for some distance, and finally run.  If I were to try that now, I would have to lug my own bike along, lock it somewhere during the swim and the run, then hope it will still be there when my personal triathlon is done.

Today I went to get a free bike helmet from the city.  I've been cycling more often lately and my helmet is pretty banged-up.  I know about the city's program and erroneously thought that I could just call 311 and be connected to someone who would take my mailing address and the helmet would arrive in the mail some days later.  No, you have to go to these Free Bike and Fitting Events, where they measure your head and make sure the helmet fits you fine.  You have to sign a waiver, too.  Go to http://www.nyc.gov/portal/site/nycgov/menuitem.e2d70d4cd03b6dd1d3e3711042289da0 , click Select Category, choose Bike Helmet Fittings, then click Show Events.  I don't know why they don't just call it Helmet Giveaway.  Bike Helmet Fittings sound like you have to bring your own helmet for them to help you adjust.  I went to the event at the Central Library of the Brooklyn Public Library. The line was longish and it moved slowly, but the weather was beautiful and I had a paperback book with me so the wait was not so bad.  Eventually I got my helmet, a blue one, red and grey being the other two color choices.  While I was at the library, I also picked up a few audiobooks.  Ah, free is good.  Thank you, New York City!

Bike rack on Warren Street near City Hall.

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