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Riding an Electric Citi Bike Across the Brooklyn Bridge

Aug. 21, 2018
4 min read
Riding an Electric Citi Bike Across the Brooklyn Bridge
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Some of us laud the bicycle's dual purpose, as both a transportation and fitness tool. Others don't. Or they simply don't want to work up a sweat on the way to the office — and who can blame them for that.

Whatever your reason for wanting to cut back on the effort required to ride to work, Citi Bike's got your back with a new pedal-assist electric bike.

Citi's new electric pedal-assist bike. Photo by Zach Honig.
Citi's new electric pedal-assist bike. Photo by Zach Honig.

While these bikes are still few and far between, they've begun to pop up at Citi Bike stations in Manhattan and beyond. You can find one by pulling up the bike-share program's app and looking for a station with a lightning bolt icon attached — tapping will reveal the number of available e-bikes, including the current charge level, if available.

After one failed attempt — racing to a dock only to find that someone beat me to the only electric bike — I managed to grab one at 8th and Lafayette, not far from TPG's headquarters just north of Union Square.

Electric bicycles appear in the Citi Bike app.
Electric bicycles are clearly identified in the Citi Bike app.

It seemed that this particular station wasn't equipped with charging, so the app couldn't reveal the current power level. A tap of the battery button made it clear that my prized e-bike was running on fumes, but with no other options I still decided to give it a shot.

Electric bikes have a large, frame-mounted battery. Photo by Zach Honig.
Electric bikes have a large, frame-mounted battery. Photo by Zach Honig.

I felt the pedal-assist feature kick in right away — it was especially noticeable when I began pedaling from a full stop, or if I needed a burst of energy to make it through a yellow light. The bikes still top out at 18 miles per hour, so don't expect to be passing delivery people with a full-power electric version. Still, the e-bike was far easier to ride uphill, like when I cruised up the Brooklyn Bridge with my Galaxy Note 9 mounted to the handlebars.

The electric bikes look similar to their lesser-equipped siblings — they're painted blue, with the Citi logo, a black seat and handlebar and the new front-mounted basket that first popped up a few weeks back. A lightning bolt (electricity!) plus the word "electric" make a few appearances, too, and there's a large battery mounted on the frame.

Electric bikes look similar to their traditional counterparts. Photo by Zach Honig.
Electric bikes look similar to their traditional counterparts. Photo by Zach Honig.

Next time, I'll keep an eye out for a bike with a bit more juice — mine seemed to have some power, still, but another Citi Bike cyclist sped past me on the bridge, while clearly exerting far less effort. I imagine the experience will be even better with a full charge.

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While I pay an annual fee for unlimited 45-minute rides, Citi Bike also sells single rides for $3, with up to 30 minutes of cruising, or you can get a full 24-hour pass (also with 30-minute rides) for 12 bucks. An annual membership like mine runs $169/year, but you can score a 10% discount by paying with a Citi card — I pay with Citi Prestige to get about $17 off of mine. Electric Citi Bikes don't cost a penny extra — if you see one docked nearby, don't hesitate to pick it up.

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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023