Citi Bike is planning an ambitious expansion over the next few years, projecting that there will be nearly 40,000 bikes by 2023 and doubling its service area. One might wonder if this expanded service will also extend into the Hudson River, after one Citi Bike user discovered a bicycle covered in barnacles and other sea life on the Upper West Side.
Ted Geoghegan, who happens to be a horror filmmaker, discovered the bike on Saturday and Tweeted, "Hey @CitiBikeNYC! I raced over to the rack by my house, hopeful to grab the one CitiBike that was there. It has literally just been fished out of the river. It is held together with rust and barnacles. 73rd and Riverside. 🤦🏻♂️"
Hey @CitiBikeNYC! I raced over to the rack by my house, hopeful to grab the one CitiBike that was there. It has literally just been fished out of the river. It is held together with rust and barnacles. 73rd and Riverside. 🤦🏻♂️ pic.twitter.com/AgFrBJc1TV
— Ted Geoghegan (@tedgeoghegan) February 23, 2019
Intrigued, I headed over the the dock on Sunday morning, and the bike was still there. Could it even be undocked?
Yes, the Barnacle Bike could be liberated. I will confess that I was 115% unprepared for how gross handling the bike actually would be—my hands were immediately covered in a muddy goo and barnacle particles. I also needed to enlist my husband in the effort to see if this thing could move:
The bike was definitely not operational—the pedal wasn't working, one of the brakes was shot, and the back wheel couldn't move backwards—but it was a marvel to behold. There were little shells that looked like clams on one handlebar and others that looked almost like oysters in the other.
"This bike has been removed from service by our team," a spokesperson for Citi Bike said. The bike, which was apparently retrieved by Citi Bike on Sunday, had last been rented in September 2017.
Still, there are many lingering questions. Where has that bike been, and what amazing aquatic adventures did its rider experience? "I want to know if the building across the street has security cameras pointed that way," Geohegan told Gothamist. "Someone went to a lot of trouble to put that thing into the dock."
Update: The River Project tells us that the bike was likely in the water since last summer!