Citi bike vs. bike rental for sightseeing in NYC

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A very popular thing to do in New York City is renting a Citi Bike. I think its a good idea depending on what you are doing. If you are riding to work or going to a specific destination, I am all for it. It can help minimize some of New York’s crazy traffic and might even be faster for you since you won’t be part of it! Instead you can wave to the people stuck in bumper to bumper traffic as you fly by on your bike. However, when it comes to sightseeing it can be a hassle.


Why? First, you have to purchase a 24-Hour or 7-Day Pass (depends on how much riding you will be doing). The 24-Hour pass is $9.95+ tax and a 7-Day pass is $25+ tax. You only have 30 minutes from the moment you unlock it before you have to find a dock station and put it back. If you don’t then you will get charged overtime fees. After the first 30 minutes, it’s an additional $4 for the second half hour, $9 for the third half hour, and $12 for every half hour after that. If you decide to spend the day out riding around and sightseeing, you will either have to pay overtime fees or keep having to stop every 30 minutes to dock your bike and rent it again. Personally, I would not want to have to keep checking my watch, when I want to be concentrating on enjoying my day out! When it comes time to find a dock station, the one you find might already be full or if you happen to take a break in between, there might not be any bikes available when you get back (especially in popular areas).


There are plenty of bike rental places in the city, you can even find good deals on Groupon or Living Social. I have seen deals such as $20 for two people for four hours or $15 for one person for a whole day. A lot of them are by the popular sightseeing areas such as the Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park. You can look online and book before you go. Rent it for however long you need without constantly checking the time and having to worry about finding an empty station. Pick up your bike at the rental shop and be done with it! Enjoy your day sightseeing, taking some great pictures and making memories.

Now that you are ready to rent your bike, check out my sightseeing bike ride along the East River with tips on what to do and see by clicking the picture below!


16 thoughts on “Citi bike vs. bike rental for sightseeing in NYC

  1. NYC, and especially Manhattan is perfectly designed for bikes compared to some countries and cities out there. The first time around I visited NYC we relied heavily on the Subway system, the second time around, it was only bikes – I am so happy someone finally wrote about this.


  2. This is good to know! It’s funny how I never really thought about renting a bike in NYC as their public transit system is so good, but it would be such a great place to go bike riding, like around Central Park! 🙂


    • Yea the transit is usually good but we can have some pretty bad delays or service change especially on the weekends! A lot of trains don’t run or run the full route.


  3. Biking is always good, however you have to be very careful. We get many tourists in Amsterdam which is cycle mania and if you have never ridden a bike before, better beware! But esp. Central Park would be great for biking I’m sure… shame it was too cold when we were there…


  4. I think I agree with you on choosing bike rental over citi bike. It does sound like a good deal, but I wouldn’t want to keep checking my watch to find a docking station!


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