Come this summer, New Yorkers can take part in a new city bike-sharing program, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg offered a first glimpse of the rentable two-wheelers at City Hall on Monday. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
Starting in July, New Yorkers can rent through a city program a two wheel, three-gear, 51-pound rent-a-bike.
"This can change the city, not everything overnight, but it gives people a whole new ways to get around," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said as he showed off the new type of rentable bicycle at City Hall on Monday.
The mayor, however, is not willing to give lessons in pedal pushing.
"The last elected official that wore a helmet, I think, was [former presidential candidate] Michael Dukakis. Nobody's made that mistake afterwards," said Bloomberg.
Actually, helmets are not required for the rental bikes but they are encouraged. Getting astraddle requires going online or paying at kiosks with a debit or credit card.
The bikes are also equipped with GPS chips to prevent theft, a bell, an automatic light and three gears. It is kind of heavy, though, and might not be the best mode of transport for long distances.
Costs also are tailored for short jaunts. For a $95 annual membership, a rider can get unlimited rides of up to 45 minutes each.
There's also $25 weekly and $9.95 daily deals, which come with unlimited half-hour sessions. After that, it gets much more expensive.
"There are other ways to get around town for longer trips. There are a lot of bike operators that do those longer trips. This is really for the short trip to a transit station, to get to a neighborhood, to get to a local shop," said Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.
City officials stress no taxpayer money is used. CitiGroup and MasterCard are sponsors, allowing to pay for the 600 estimated stations that will dock ten thousand bikes.
The city has not announced where all of the stations will be, but says they should all be ready in a year.