Travel Guide

Citi bike station in New York City

A Guide to Citi Bike Sharing System

Discover New York City in a new way with Citi Bike, the largest bike-share program in the Western Hemisphere, offering a green, efficient, and fun transportation alternative across multiple boroughs.

Citi Bikein a nutshell…

Citi Bike, New York City’s largest bike-share program, offers a quick, eco-friendly transportation alternative with over 1,700 stations across New York City and parts of New Jersey.

Users can choose from several plans, including single rides, day passes, and annual memberships, with additional fees for eBike usage.

For quick access, a single ride costs $4.79 for up to 30 minutes, and a day pass is available at $19 for unlimited 30-minute rides within 24 hours. Rides that exceed the 30-minute limit incur in extra costs of $0.30 per additional minute.

The service is accessible via the Citi Bike app, which facilitates bike location, unlocking, and ride management.

The Citi Bike program, a hallmark of urban mobility, represents a leap towards sustainable city living. Launched in 2013 and supported by a public-private partnership between New York City and Lyft, Citi Bike has transformed the way locals and visitors alike experience the city.  

As the largest bike-share program in the U.S., Citi Bike facilitates seamless urban exploration and commuting with over 1,700 stations spread across New York City and parts of New Jersey. And with plans to expand and triple its fleet to 40,000 bikes, Citi Bike continues to innovate urban transportation.

Citi Bike station

Navigating the Citi Bike system is straightforward, thanks to a variety of flexible plans and pricing options designed to meet the needs of occasional riders, daily commuters, and tourists. From single rides and day passes to annual memberships, Citi Bike ensures that cycling through the city is hassle-free and affordable.

With the added convenience of the Citi Bike app, users can easily locate nearby stations, unlock bikes, and manage their accounts on the go, making urban cycling more accessible than ever before.

Beyond its practical benefits, Citi Bike plays a crucial role in promoting sustainability and healthier living in the urban landscape. By offering an alternative to car-centric travel, the program helps reduce carbon emissions, alleviate traffic congestion, and encourage physical activity.

How Citi Bike Works

The system is accessible via a mobile app or station kiosk, catering to both digital natives and those preferring traditional methods.

Whether you’re a first-timer or a regular user, understanding the setup process and the options to get a bike is key to enjoying your ride.

Citi BIke app icon in an iPhone

Setting up the app or opting for a kiosk, finding and unlocking a bike, and concluding your journey at any station are straightforward steps designed for convenience. Citi Bike ensures a seamless transition from walking to biking, enhancing urban mobility.

How to set up the Citi Bike app

To begin your Citi Bike adventure through the app, you just need to follow these steps:

  • Download the app from your respective app store ( iOS  or Android ).
  • Sign up by following the registration process.
  • Verify your phone number; you’ll receive an SMS with a code.
  • Enter your personal information including your name, last name, and email address.
  • Accept the terms of service, rental agreement, and liability waiver.
  • Verify your age by entering your birthday.
  • Choose a payment method for ride payments.
  • Enable app permissions for location access and notifications.
  • You’re now ready to view stations on the map and start riding!

How to get a bike with the Lyft or Citi Bike app

Getting a bike using the app involves a few simple steps:

  • Locate a station using the app; look for the thunder icon for ebikes.
  • Adjust the seat of your chosen bike for comfort.
  • Unlock the bike using the app by tapping on the station and selecting “Scan to unlock.”
  • Ride to your destination.
  • Dock the bike at any station. A green light indicates a successful return.

How to get a bike without apps

For those who prefer not to use a mobile app, acquiring a bike is still straightforward:

  • At the kiosk, press the “Getting Started” button.
  • Insert your credit or debit card.
  • You’ll receive a 5-digit ride code; enter this on the dock’s keypad.
  • Once the light turns green, the bike is unlocked.
  • Remove the bike from the dock to start your ride.
  • To ride again, simply reinsert the same credit card at any kiosk for a new code without additional charges.

Choosing Between Traditional Bikes and eBikes

Navigating the streets of the city, whether it’s for a leisurely ride or your daily commute, presents a choice between the classic ease of traditional bikes and the innovative boost of eBikes.Choosing between these two options comes down to personal preference and ride requirements. Traditional bikes keep things straightforward and fitness-focused, offering a reliable way to navigate through city streets. eBikes, enhanced with a motor and pedal-assist, cater to those looking to reduce commute times, explore more with less effort, or simply enjoy a breezier ride.

Citi Bike Traditional Bikes

Traditional bikes from Citi Bike are crafted with simplicity and comfort in mind, ensuring that anyone, regardless of their cycling proficiency or physical stature, can enjoy a ride in New York City.

Citi bike traditional bike

The design philosophy behind these bikes ensures they are:

  • Universally welcoming, accommodating riders of all heights and skill levels.
  • Urban-ready, with features that ensure a smooth ride across cityscapes, regardless of the riding skills or height of the user.

If you find yourself at a station where only eBikes are available but you prefer a traditional bike, you have the option to rent an eBike in “classic mode” at no additional cost. In this mode, the eBike will provide minimal or no electronic assistance, mimicking the experience of riding a traditional bike.

Citi Bike eBikes

On the other hand, eBikes offer a modern twist with pedal-assist technology, empowering riders to conquer challenging terrains like bridges and hills effortlessly, making longer distances more accessible and sweat-free.

Citi Bike eBike handlebar
Citi Bike

With over 20,000 bikes, including more than 4,000 eBikes in the fleet, Citi Bike accommodates diverse preferences, ensuring there’s a ride for every rider’s needs.

Citi Bike’s eBikes redefine urban mobility by blending traditional cycling with a technological edge. Here’s what sets them apart:

  • Pedal-assist technology that activates as you pedal, making difficult terrains manageable.
  • Widely accessible, with over 4,000 eBikes available in the fleet.
  • Cost-effective rides for annual members, with additional fees capped for short rides within Manhattan. Non-members and Reduced Fare Bikeshare members also benefit from competitive per-minute rates.
  • Simplified operation, featuring a single-speed motor, front brakes, and dual handlebar bells for safety and ease of use.

Next-Gen eBikes

The latest eBike model promises an upgraded experience, offering:

  • Enhanced battery life and stronger motor for longer, more robust rides.
  • Increased safety features, including a bright LED front light and reflective paint for nighttime visibility.
  • More customization, with additional seat-height options to cater to all riders.

How to Rent an eBike with Citi Bike

Securing an eBike for your journey is simple with the Citi Bike app. Here’s how you can get one for your next ride:

  1. Open the Citi Bike app and look for the thunder symbol on the map. This symbol indicates the presence of at least one charged eBike at the station.
  2. The number next to the thunder symbol shows how many charged eBikes are available at that station.
  3. Walk to the station displaying an available eBike. If, upon arrival, the eBikes have been taken, refresh the app to find the nearest station with an eBike available. The app’s real-time updates ensure you have the latest information on bike and dock availability.
  4. Follow the app’s instructions to unlock your chosen eBike. This process involves scanning a QR code at the station as usual.
  5. When you’re ready to end your ride, use the app to locate a station with an available dock.
  6. Dock the eBike and wait for a green light on the dock, confirming the bike is securely locked.

Whenever you scan the QR code for an eBike, you’ll be presented with an option to select either full assist or low assist for your ride. You can also personalize your eBike riding experience by setting your Pedal Assist Preference in the app (only available for the next-gen model eBikes).

Citi Bike Plans & Pricing

Citi Bike offers a versatile array of plans catering to both occasional and regular riders. With options ranging from single rides to yearly memberships, users can choose the perfect plan to match their cycling needs.

The following table provides an overview of available options, ensuring you find the best fit for your journey. For detailed insights into each plan, including costs and ride times, see the details below the table.

Base Cost
Bike Unlock
Cost after first 30 mins
Ebike Prices
Ride Times
Best for
Option Single Ride Day Pass Yearly Membership
Base Cost $4.79 for 30 mins $19/day $219.99/year
Bike Unlock $4.79 Free Free
Cost after first 30 mins $0.30/min $4/15 min $0.20/min
Ebike Prices $0.30/min $0.30/min $0.20/min
Ride Times 30 min 30 min 45 min
Best for Visitors Visitors Residents

Single Ride

For a quick trip or a casual exploration, the Single Ride option is ideal.

Priced at $4.79, this plan offers a 30-minute bike ride. Should you choose an eBike for a more effortless journey, a rate of $0.30 per minute applies.

If your ride exceeds the 30-minute limit, you will be charged $0.30 for each additional minute.

Be aware that when you pay for a single ride, Citi Bike may place a temporary $25 hold on your card, which will be refunded a few days after your trip ends, provided you don’t incur any additional charges.

Day Pass

The Day Pass, at $19, suits those looking to spend a day discovering the city on two wheels. It includes unlimited 30-minute rides for 24 hours. eBike rides are available with an additional fee of $0.30 per minute, allowing for an elevated exploration experience.

With a day pass, any ride that goes beyond the 30-minute limit incurs a charge of $4 for every additional 15-minute period.

This option is ideal for visitors eager to fully explore New York City by bike. However, for a more structured exploration, you may consider opting for a guided bike tour.

A $101 security deposit hold will be placed on your card when you purchase a pass. If you incur usage fees, your card will be charged. The fee for a lost or stolen bike is $1200 (+ tax).

Tourist at Citi Bike station in New York City

Yearly Membership

Yearly Membership offers the best value for regular riders at $219.99 per year. This plan includes unlimited rides up to 45 minutes each.

For eBike enthusiasts, rides are charged at a reduced rate of $0.20 per minute, making daily commutes or leisurely rides both economical and enjoyable.

The yearly membership option is primarily designed for residents.

Bike Angels Program

The Bike Angels program rewards members who assist in redistributing bikes to stations that don’t have many available.

Participants earn points towards eBike credits, free membership extensions, and more, fostering a community spirit among riders.

This program is only available for yearly memberships, so it’s of no interest for short-term visitors.

Reduced Fares for Residents

Citi Bike collaborates with Healthfirst to provide affordable biking options for NYCHA residents and SNAP recipients through $5 monthly memberships.

This initiative includes unlimited free 45-minute rides on classic bikes, eBike rides at $0.10 per minute, no unlock fees, and additional perks for annual and monthly members, emphasizing Citi Bike’s commitment to accessible and inclusive transportation.

For more information, take a look at the Citi Bike website .

Citi Bike Station Locations

Citi Bike boasts an extensive network of over 1,700 stations, predominantly located throughout New York City, making it one of the most accessible and convenient modes of transportation for both residents and visitors alike.

This wide distribution ensures that whether you’re in the bustling streets of Manhattan, exploring the cultural tapestry of Brooklyn, or navigating through the scenic views of Queens, a Citi Bike station is never too far away.

Beyond the confines of the city, Citi Bike’s reach extends into New Jersey, offering further flexibility for cross-city commutes and leisurely rides.

To locate the closest station, it’s advisable to use the app. This way you’ll be able to see on a map what’s the nearest available station along with its current availability of bikes and e-bikes.

Citi Bike stations on a map

Citi Bike vs. Alternative Biking Options

While Citi Bike offers widespread availability across the city, its 30-minute ride limit and potential for unexpected fees may not suit everyone’s needs, especially for those planning longer excursions or seeking more predictable costs.

For visitors and locals looking for more flexibility and a deeper exploration of the city, bike rentals and guided bike tours present enticing alternatives that cater to a variety of preferences and styles.

Bike Tours

For those eager to uncover the rich tapestry of New York City’s history, culture, and hidden gems, guided bike tours are an exceptional choice.

Led by knowledgeable local guides, these tours not only provide an intimate look at the city's landmarks but also offer insights and anecdotes that you might miss when exploring solo.

Guided bike tour

Whether it’s navigating through the bustling streets of Manhattan, the quaint paths of Brooklyn, or the scenic routes along the city’s waterfronts, bike tours cater to a range of interests and fitness levels.

Additionally, being part of a guided tour means logistical details are handled by experts, allowing participants to focus solely on the experience. Perfect for first-time visitors or those looking to connect with fellow travelers, bike tours blend adventure with education, making every pedal count.

We’ve carefully selected a few NYC bike tours that promise an unforgettable journey through the heart of the Big Apple.

Join the experienced guides to explore iconic landmarks, hidden gems, and the vibrant streets of New York City from a new perspective. This will be an adventure that combines the thrill of exploration with the joy of cycling.

View more bike tours

Bike Rentals

Opting for a bike rental can offer the freedom and flexibility needed to fully immerse in New York City’s vibrant streets and picturesque landscapes without the worry of time constraints.

Renting a bike online in advance allows for a more tailored experience, enabling cyclists to choose from a wider range of bike types suited to their preferences and the nature of their journey.

Tourists biking in Central Park

This option eliminates the stress of returning the bike within a short window, making it ideal for leisurely rides through Central Park, along the Hudson River, or across the Brooklyn Bridge. Moreover, with clear upfront pricing, renters can avoid the potential for unexpected charges, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Discover the freedom to explore New York City at your leisure with our top picks for bike rental services.

Tailored to fit your schedule and interests, these options provide the perfect opportunity to navigate the city’s bustling streets and serene parks on your terms.

View more bike rental options

Riding Tips for Citi Bike Users

Navigating New York City on a bike offers a unique and exhilarating perspective of the urban landscape, but it also comes with its set of challenges. Whether you’re using Citi Bike for your daily commute or exploring the city’s bike lanes on a leisurely weekend ride, here are some indispensable tips to enhance your cycling experience, ensure your safety, and avoid common pitfalls.

Bike Setup and Navigation

  • Adjust the Seat Height: A surprising number of cyclists ride with the seat set too low or too high, affecting their control and efficiency. Adjust your seat so that your leg has a slight bend when the pedal is at its lowest point. This adjustment can make a significant difference in your riding comfort and endurance.
  • Utilize the Gears: New York’s varied terrain can make gears (if you’re using a traditional bike) your best friend, helping you navigate uphill stretches and accelerate on flat surfaces without unnecessary strain. Learning to use gears effectively can prevent wobbling and maintain your balance.
  • Plan Your Route: Before heading out, plan your route using the Citi Bike app or a map. Sometimes, a station a few blocks further from your destination offers a safer route. Pre-planning can save you from navigating through heavy traffic or unsafe areas.

Safety and Etiquette

  • Embrace Bike Lanes: Don’t hesitate to take a longer route if it means you can use separated bike lanes. These lanes are designed for your safety and are found on many avenues and quiet side streets—avoiding the chaos of midtown can make for a more pleasant ride.
  • Wear a Helmet: While many riders in NYC forgo helmets, wearing one can drastically reduce the risk of serious injury. A helmet can be easily carried on a backpack when not in use, offering protection without inconvenience.
  • Right of Way: It’s not uncommon to encounter cyclists riding against traffic. Remember, if you’re following the rules, you have the right of way. Stay assertive and safe, and do not let wrong-way riders push you into traffic.

Security and Technology

  • Never Leave Your Bike Unattended: Just as you wouldn’t leave a personal bike unlocked and unattended, the same applies to a shared bike. The risk of theft is high, and the responsibility for the bike’s safety falls on you during your rental period.
  • Enable Notifications: To avoid disputes about bike return, enable notifications in the Citi Bike app. Wait for a confirmation after docking to ensure your ride has been properly closed in the system. A green light at the dock is a good sign, but a notification confirms that the system has registered the return. This step is crucial for avoiding unwanted charges and is a simple measure to ensure peace of mind.

Citi Bike Frequently Asked Questions

To start using Citi Bike, download the Citi Bike app or visit a Citi Bike station kiosk. You can sign up for a membership or buy a pass directly through the app or at a kiosk. Once you’ve signed up, use the app or get a 5-digit code from the kiosk to unlock a bike from any station and start riding.

Citi Bike offers several plans to cater to various needs, including:

  • Single Ride: Ideal for one-time use with a flat rate.
  • Day Pass: Unlimited 30-minute rides within a 24-hour period.
  • Annual Membership: Best for regular users, offering unlimited rides and additional perks.

Pricing varies for each plan, and there are additional charges for using eBikes. Check the Citi Bike website  or app for the latest pricing information.

While Citi Bikes are intended for use within the service area, which primarily covers parts of New York City and parts of New Jersey, you can ride the bike outside these areas. However, bikes must be returned to a docking station within the service area to avoid extra fees.

If you encounter a malfunctioning bike or dock, report the issue through the Citi Bike app or contact Citi Bike customer service directly. If possible, dock the bike at another station or find an alternate bike to use.

Citi Bike promotes sustainability by offering a green alternative to motorized transportation, reducing carbon emissions, and easing traffic congestion. The program also supports the city’s efforts in expanding bike lanes and making cycling a safer and more viable option for residents and visitors.

Yes, Citi Bike offers discounted memberships to eligible low-income residents through partnerships with local organizations like Healthfirst. These discounts aim to make bike sharing accessible to a wider audience, supporting equity in urban mobility.

Absolutely! Tourists can take advantage of Citi Bike by purchasing Single Rides or Day Passes, which are perfect for short-term visits. These options allow visitors to explore the city at their own pace without the need for long-term commitments.

If a Citi Bike is lost or stolen during your rental, you should immediately report it to Citi Bike customer service. You may be responsible for a replacement fee if the bike is not recovered. It’s crucial to ensure bikes are securely docked and to use the bike lock provided when making quick stops.

To ensure your ride ends properly, always make sure the bike is securely docked until you see a green light on the dock. Additionally, enable app notifications to receive confirmation that your ride has ended. If you don’t receive a confirmation, contact customer service immediately to avoid being charged for extra time.

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On this page

  1. Introduction
  2. How Citi Bike Works
  3. Choosing Between Traditional Bikes and eBikes
  4. Citi Bike Plans & Pricing
  5. Citi Bike Station Locations
  6. Citi Bike vs. Alternative Biking Options
  7. Riding Tips for Citi Bike Users
  8. Citi Bike Frequently Asked Questions