So you've taken your first Citi Bike ride! Congratulations. Perhaps now you're ready to accessorize.
Helmet: The reality is, you should probably wear a helmet. Argumentative types will point to this 2012 article in the Times, which posits that Nobody Wears A Helmet With Bike Share. But a decent helmet weighs only around 300 grams, and clips easily to the side to any bag—remember, the Times doesn't always know best. If you don't have a bag, continue to wear the helmet on your head while walking, because you never know.
Antibacterial wipes: If you're a germaphobe...well, if you're a germaphobe, it's remarkable that you've survived in New York as long as you have. Bravo! Do you get freaked out by the thought of resting your hands on the same handlebars just moments ago encased in the sweaty palms of some heaving troglodyte? Douse the offending bars in disinfectant, or wrap them up in a disposable bike condom. (Yes.) We have several options for you here.
Bike shorts: One of Citi Bike's great virtues is that it's perfect for a commute to and from the office. But uugghh, it's summer! Your work clothes, they'll get sweaty! Your long, flowing skirts will tear! Part of what makes these cycles so damn heavy is that all of their working parts are encased in metal, ensuring that your linen suit legs won't catch in the chain ring or derailleur. That said, if your primary gripe about cycling is that you'll arrive looking like a used tissue, wear the proper biking garb and change into office clothes where they belong—at the office.
Leg bands: Are you not quite spandex-ready? That's OK. Thank you for your honesty. Though your skirt will still flutter dangerously, it's possible to batten down your pant-hatches with leg bands, for the stylish commuter discomfited by the prospect of rolling up $200 Brooks Brothers slacks.
Smart phone: It's going to take some time before we, as a people, memorize the locations of all 300-plus bike share stations. The app offers a quick and mostly painless method of locating racks, and apprises you of the fullness of each station in real time. While it is not impossible to utilize Citi Bike without a smart phone, its effectiveness will be greatly compromised by your Luddite sensibilities.
Extras: Citi Bikes come equipped with lights that flicker on automatically once you start pedaling, as well as a bell that makes a pleasant warning "ding!" Feel free to up the ante with more lights and a louder bell. The fact is, these streets are mean, and we expect there to be some initial friction between increased cyclists on the rode and the drivers who hate them. Perhaps my fingers are fat and unwieldy, but I struggled to effectively ring the bell when test-riding Citi Bike. BYOAH (Bring Your Own Air Horn.)
Manners: First, review our handy guide to NYC bike etiquette. Then, acquaint yourself with cycling hand signals, which alert drivers and other cyclists to your turning plans. You will look foolish, but let's face it, you're already straddling a bright blue 45-pound cruiser, so what does it matter.