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How Do Citibikes Work?

Hopping on a Citibike is cheap and eco-friendly!

I’m late to the Citibike game here in NYC. The chief reason? I’d wonder, “How do Citibikes work?” I wouldn’t take the time to find out, and then another year went by. When I finally got around to it, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was.

Put on a helmet.

A non-negotiable for me. Life’s too short not to take this important safety precaution.

First, find a bike you want to ride.

Note the seat heights may vary. They’re incredibly easy to adjust, but I often quickly scan the bikes to find one at my desired height (3).

Citibikes in Queens

Open the app and scan the QR code to unlock.

Note that you can either use the Citibike app or the Lyft app.

I especially love that you can see how many e-bikes there are available at each station. They’re marked by the little ‘lightning’ icon, see below. (Note that e-bikes will cost you per ride, in addition to your membership charge. That said, they’re a great option if you’re embarking on an ambitious ride like the Queensboro Bridge.

Citibike App Screenshot

Citibike QR Code

Have a great ride!

Congrats! You’re now an expert when it comes to the question: “How do Citibikes work?” If you have a membership, rides under 45 minutes are covered. (Annual memberships run just $15/month.)

Looking for even more value? Use a Chase card to pay for your Citibike membership. Thanks to Citibike’s partnership with Lyft, you can earn 5% cash back on your purchase.