June 27, 2013 By Bill Parry
The owner of a Hunters Point bicycle shop does not believe that his rental business will suffer when Citi Bike reaches Long Island City later this year.
Citi Bike users have logged more than a million miles since the bike sharing program launched last month. More than 100,000 people have signed up for daily, weekly or annual rides.
Carlos Dall’orso, the owner of Spokesman Cycles (49-04 Vernon Blvd), has also signed up for Citi Bike. “I’m a member,” he said nonchalantly, showing off his Citi Bike key fob, explaining that he finds the program useful for getting around Manhattan.
Dall’orso’s has rented out bicycles in Long Island City since he opened Spokesman Cycles eight years ago.
The 20 bicycles that are parked in front of his shop are available for rent, and they’re very different than those offered by Citi Bike. “Ours are for recreational cyclists, not like Citi Bike’s big, sturdy, robust ones that are designed for commuter use,” Dall’orso said.
“We size to the person for a more custom ride,” he said, and offer a range of different bicycles.
Bicycles are available for $7 per hour or $35 per day. LIC Bicycles at 25-11 Queens Plaza North also rents out bikes at the same rates.
Citi Bike offers a 24 hour pass for $9.99. However, riders have to return the bike to a docking station every 30 minutes. If they fail to do so the fines get very steep. For instance, if a rider is more than 60 minutes late, there is a $13 fine, which continues to go up.
“Our renters can relax and enjoy themselves since they don’t have to check in every 30 minutes,” Dall’orso said.