Well, everyone, today is the big day. In the past month, Citi Bike hasn't so much as sneezed without us documenting it. But now the program is launching, and hundreds of membership-toting cyclists will be ejected onto the streets, probably without helmets. Here is our final, comprehensive assessment of what you should know before your free your bike from the rack and get pedaling.
How to use the bikes: We test rode Citi Bike earlier this month, and discovered that there is a subtle art to unlocking and re-locking the bikes. Also be wary of the fact that Citi Bikes weigh 45 pounds, so envision riding a normal bike with weights tied to all of your limbs. Doesn't that sound fun?
Payments, etc.:The Times has compiled its own round-up of suggestions for the Citi Bike neophyte. Our favorite questions are "What if I want to keep the bike?" (A: Sure! That'll be $1,000) and "What if I crash?" (A: As in the case of any emergency, send an email to the New York Times. Oh, and call 911 or whatever.)
What the hell took so long?: Hurricane Sandy meddled with Citi Bike's launch date, but before that, the system was plagued with "technical problems." According the Wall Street Journal, the actual culprit was "a messy corporate divorce in Canada" in which the parent company, PBSC Urban Solutions, "broke up with the vendor that supplied the operating system for the bike docking stations," sending delays south. Read all about it in numbing detail here.
What should we expect: Only the patron saint of Citi Bike knows for sure what will happen, but based on our experience with bike share in D.C., we have to imagine there will be some distribution problems. Racks will either be empty, or they'll be full. Plan accordingly.