A man who rode a New York Citi Bike hire bike across the country has managed to rack up the biggest possible late return fee - but says he doesn’t regret quitting his job as a corporate event planner to have an adventure.
Jeffrey Tanenhaus told Bicycling that he had an ‘early midlife crisis’ which inspired him to ride from New York to Los Angeles - but he was no stranger to the hire bikes beforehand.
He said: “I felt happy and empowered in choosing my own bike route and getting around NYC by bicycle. It was the best part of the day. The Citi Bike was convenient, sturdy, and hassle-free. I became a big supporter of the program, and a big user. I’d only agree to meet friends within half a mile of a Citi Bike station! So, I thought, what if I quit the job and keep the bike?”
He said that the trip took a couple of months to plan, during which time he was cat-sitting and staying with friends, as his lease had expired.
He said: “I ultimately decided that what I like to do is travel, write, and bike commute. So, I put all three passions together, and took the great American road trip, but on a bike.
I don’t consider myself a cyclist—I don’t have a lot of fancy gear, I’d never done a tour before. I just consider myself a bike commuter. So I wanted to commute full-time. And, in the process, I wanted to see my own country.”
There was only one technical problem with the bike - a flat tyre near Tulsa, which was easily fixed.
He added: “It didn’t take a lot of effort or money to maintain it, which I think speaks to the durability of these bikes.”
He said: “I’ve been keeping really meticulous track of the mileage. I’ve clocked 2,900 miles so far. I’ll make 3,000. But I don’t have a Garmin, I don’t care about KOMs or miles per hour. I’m going slow. And I don’t want to go uphill. I just care about the mileage and doing a comfortable range per day.
“There have been times where I haven’t been able to ride and needed to get in cars with people but I don’t count those. And I don’t count when I’m riding around a city or town I stop in.”
He was surprised to find there was no comeback for borrowing the bike for so long, apart from the maximum overtime fee for the bike, which is $1,200.
He said: “I was correctly charged the maximum overtime fee for the bike, which is $1,200. They’ve never contacted me to try to get it back or anything.
“But now that I’m almost done, I was wondering what to do with this thing. Do I throw it into the ocean?
“I think in the spirit of bike sharing, I want to get it back into its original ecosystem, so I’m going to try to transport it back. That may be harder than riding to the West Coast!”