Citi Bike Profile: Biking for the Culture

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Originally from Michigan, Krystal lives in Bed-Stuy. She came to Brooklyn in 2002 for college and graduated from Pratt Institute with a degree in Communication Design. She has been a graphic designer for Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation for the past 12 years.

When did you become a Citi Bike member?

I became a Citi Bike member in June 2018.

 

Are you a Brooklyn native?

I currently live in Bed-Stuy, but am originally from Michigan. I came here for school in 2002 and have been here ever since. I refer to myself as a transplant, but my native friends have said I’m grandfathered in at this point.

 

What made you become a Citi Bike member?

I just wanted to be more physically active, and after witnessing it become more common in the community, I became very interested in registering. I also have led a few bike rides through Restoration and with me wanting to become more active, I saw Citi Bike as an easy option for doing that.

 

What modes of transportation did you use before Citi Bike?

I use public transportation a little, but usually I’ll take Lyft and other car services as transportation, or I’d walk to my destinations. I also have my own bikes that I use from time to time.

 

Why did you decide to sign up for Citi Bike even though you have your own bikes?

Well, the accessibility for Citi Bike is broader than with my own bike. I can dock a Citi Bike without worrying about it being stolen, or having to carry my bike around with a heavy lock. Also, I’m not forced to ride a bike back home from my initial destinations. The accessibility also lends itself to having rides with friends, where they can use my bike and I can use a Citi Bike. Another scenario is that I can use a Citi Bike if they have their own bike and want to do an impromptu ride when I’m not starting from home.

 

What were your initial feelings when you first saw Citi Bike in Bed-Stuy? Have your perceptions changed--if so, how?

My initial feelings were that they were an indication of gentrification and I felt that Citi Bike was a nuisance when they first popped up because it didn’t fit the culture that was already here. So when I first saw them, my first response was “Well, there goes another part of the neighborhood.”

Once I learned more about their intention of creating bike equity in urban communities, I felt differently about it. Now I actually hear that people who don't live in my neighborhood wish Citi Bike was where they lived, so it's like the opposite of how I feel some people, including myself, initially felt.

 

What have been your experiences with Citi Bike?

Restoration leads regular bike rides. I’ve led or participated in about half a dozen rides. The destinations I’ve led rides to are Fort Greene Park, Prospect Park, and Economic Solutions North (Pfizer Building). They rides have always been fun, and everyone involved seems to have had an enjoyable time. One of my favorite times was the ride to Prospect Park, which was my first ride in the bike lane there. All the rides I’ve been on have been both pleasant and challenging…because Brooklyn is hilly. Another memorable ride I’ve had is when I was running an errand and ran into Tracey Capers, who spearheads the Citi Bike collaboration at Restoration. We decided to have an impromptu dinner and rode Citi Bike bicycles to the restaurant. While eating, we noticed another Citi Bike “poster child,” Shaquanna Boykin, passing by and thought it was a hoot.

Another funny thing is that my first connection with Citi Bike was graphically designing and modeling for the first Citi Bike campaign at Restoration--and one day discovering that I was featured in the poster ad on the other side of the bus stop that I waited at to get home. A friend sent a photo of the bus poster to me and I recognized the corner. After that, I thought it would be hysterical to be noticed by someone at the bus stop, especially if I happened to be wearing the same outfit that I had on in the poster.

 

How do you use Citi Bike?

Citi Bike is really convenient because when there are times that I want to hang out with a friend who doesn’t have a bike, I can let them use my personal bike and I would take Citi Bike. There is also a bike dock in between my apartment and the subway train station, so I take Citi Bike home after I get off of the train instead of walking. Sometimes I’ll even bike from work just because. Citi Bike is also good for short trips, like when I want to go out and pick up food, taking a Citi Bike shortens my travel time. From my experience, the way that Citi Bike bicycles are built makes it easier to ride in some instances, and they usually take the hills better than my personal bikes.

This interview, conducted by Jerrell Gray, a Hope Reichbach Fund Fellow, is part of an ongoing series made possible by Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. Our partners at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation are leaders in the NYC Better Bike Share Partnership, a community driven collaboration of diverse stakeholders, that aims to develop inclusive programs and policies to promote equity through bike share and increase the diversity of bike share riders to improve health and financial outcomes of NYC neighborhoods. The Partnership is a community-driven collaboration of diverse stakeholders who influence transportation, and exploring ways to make bike share more equitable.

There are many affordable bike share memberships as low as a $5 month.  Restoration customers are entitled to a discount if they take advantage of Restoration services, i.e. financial counseling, workforce development or social supports.