Gallery: 12 Things to Know Before Using NYC’s New Citi Bike Share Progr...

- If you're an annual Citi Bike member ($95 per year), use the member key you received in the mail to unlock a Citi Bike (you'll need to activate it first by logging in here and clicking "Activate Your Bike Key"). Once your key is activated, walk up to the bike you want and insert your key into the slot on the lefthand side of the dock. Wait until the light turns green and then lift and pull the bike by the seat out of the dock. The trick is to use a gentle lifting motion instead of trying to yank the bike out.

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  1. John Rowland August 18, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Really wanted to love citibike because I believe it’s a great concept. But my experience with it was HORRIBLE. 30 minutes?! Really?! Yes that’s all the time you get before having to return the bike … or be charged of course. We were visiting NYC, and had a very limited time, so we thought citibike would be a great way to cover more ground at Central Park. Our first problem came with trying to unlock a bike. The instructions were quite simple. However, executing the instructions was another matter. Trying to get the card to swipe was extremely difficult. Then getting the bike to actually unlock also proved extremely problematic. Once we were on the bikes, we were really enjoying the park, but were coming up on the ridiculously short 30 minute limit. We looked at the map, and it turns out the only stations are on the south end of the park, so we were screwed and went over the limit. In hindsight, I wish I would have just rented from any of the other numerous bike rental vendors at the south entrance of the park.

    We had a 24 hour pass, so we wanted to use the bikes again the next day to save time and ride over the Brooklyn Bridge. Station by the bridge was broken. We met a local who was very frustrated because she was at the end of her 30 MINUTE time limit, and couldn’t check her bike in. We went to another station – also broken. We went to a 3rd station, also broken! Finally gave up. Citibike has A LOT of work to do on this system. I hope they get it fixed, but my recommendation is to avoid it like the plague until they do.