CitiBikes, Cities, and Cardio

The LIRR is the extent of my public transportation experience.  Growing up on Long Island, it was common to take the Long Island Rail Road into New York City.  Once there, we usually walked to our destination or our family of four would pile into a taxi.

If time or inclement weather demand it, I’ll turn to the subway for travel, but my personal preference is the simplest form of locomotion; walking.  Over the weekend I was in the city to attend a fitness conference and visit some friends.  Walking through mid-town Manhattan is a lesson in spacial awareness, and my inner people-watcher loves it.  The only problem is that it’s relatively slow.

After we wrapped up our individual events on Saturday, my ladyfriend and I found ourselves in Hell’s Kitchen heading north.  We passed a rack of blue bicycles, and I said, “Let’s try out the CitiBikes.”

CitiBikes are a new bike share initiative that came to New Yawk this summer, that offers pay-per-ride and subscription use of these guys:


According to the Department of Transportation website:

New York City doubled bicycle commuting between 2007 and 2011, and aims to triple it by 2017. In New York City, 10% of auto trips are under one-half mile, 22% are under 1 mile and 56% are under 3 miles – distances readily served by bicycle. DOT has completed the City’s ambitious goal of building 200 bike-lane miles in all five boroughs in just three years, nearly doubling the citywide on-street bike network while reshaping the city’s streets to make them safer for everyone who uses them.

The New York City Department of Health estimates that over a half million New Yorkers ride bikes.

Cycling is now accessible, you’re less likely to get run over, and there are plenty of other people who are doing it.  Stepping off of the sidewalk at a busy intersection proves this.   For more information, let’s let Casey Neistat explain:

I watched that video when Mr. Neistat first released it, and sent it to some friends who I thought would be interested.  If always thought, “Hey, if I live in NYC, I’m getting a bike” and I lol’ed about Casey searching for a station.

After riding from 49th street to 110th through Central Park, I realized that he should have emphasized the app.  Download the damn app before you use the CitiBikes.  Or never go north of Central Park South.  Here’s a screen shot of the app:


What we intended as a casual ride through Central Park became a moderate ride back south, only to walk 13 blocks to the Bare Burger on 73rd.  Whoops.

During our ride, Maggie turned to me and said, “Can this count as my cardio for today?”  Duh.  Those hills suck on a bike not designed for climbing hills.  That got me thinking about transportation, locomotion, and ‘cardio.’

Look, New York City is one of the easiest cities in the world to travel in.  The whole goddamn city is a grid, so it’s hard to get lost, and there are taxis, buses, and subway stations everywhere you turn.  Now there are CitiBikes.

Walking has always been popular and cycling is exploding in popularity.  This makes me happy.  What makes me wonder is how many of the people who are taking public transportation are returning to the gym at some point during the day to do cardio.

Why would you do this?! Y U No Make Any Sense?!?!?

That’s poor time management, folks.  You’re on your search for health and hotness, so why would you sit on your bum to get home, only to pay to go somewhere to not sit on your bum?

This is applicable to all city-dwellers, and non-city dwellers as well.  How often do you do your cardio inside, either at home or at the gym, rather than doing your aerobic work outside, via walking or biking.  If you’re in the gym, opt to focus on strength training or select a fitness class that’s conducive to your goals.  If you want moderate physical activity, do it throughout the day, or as part of your commute.  Walking or casually riding a bike are great for you, yes, but it’s ludicrous to do these in a gym where you’d see a better investment on your time and effort with different stimuli.


Across the board, we need to take more advantage of our own ability to move; walk and cycle whenever possible.  If you’re in New York City, an option such as CitiBike makes it easier now more than ever.  If not, I’ll find it hard to believe you have an option for not walking or riding those short trips you take on a regular basis.

Let’s focus on more human-powered commuting, or NEPA (Non-Exercise Physical Activity), or simply taking a stroll.  Call it what you want.  Walk the dog, have a walking date, ride a big blue bike in the park.  Just make sure you download the app first.

5 Replies to “CitiBikes, Cities, and Cardio”

  1. We have these bikes in London. They are awesome! The only thing that sucks is that my house is just outside the area that supplies them, so I can’t ride to work, but I can ride from work to anywhere in central London. I walk soooo much living in London (average 90 mins a day on weekdays, but 4-5 hours on weekends!) as it’s often faster than waiting for public transport. People are so lazy in this city though – they would rather sit in traffic in a cab than get out and walk a mile.

    1. Tara, that’s awesome! Now I know that I can use them when I finally get to London! Have you found that using the bikes makes it a little bit easier to get around as it fits between walking and using public transit?

      I’ll be in NYC a lot more come September, but I’m going to do everything that I can to walk or use a CitiBike as much as possible before I use other forms of transit. Or, at least until it gets cold!

    1. Mathieu, I’ve been in the city more often in the past several weeks, paying attention to the variety in locations. It’s easier to find them away from Penn, but that doesn’t help us find them!

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