Brooklyn’s largest purveyor of blue rental bikes tooted its own handlebar horn on Sunday at Prospect Park, where Citi Bike celebrated its fifth year in Brooklyn with an event that straddled the line between anniversary bash and marketing scheme, according to one peddle pusher.
“It was meant to introduce the system to people who haven’t used it yet,” said Doug Gordon, author of the popular “Brooklyn Spoke” transit blog. “It was certainly a marketing event.”
But that didn’t stop local parkgoers from enjoying themselves, according to one Park Slope resident, who played a “Wheel of Fortune” style roulette game for a chance to win a free year of Citi Bike membership.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Natania Malin Gazek. “I won a tote bag.”
Citi Bike enticed prospective cycle renters to join the service with free cake, a tour of the pop-up “Citi Bike Museum” — a tent featuring pictures of celebrities riding the ubiquitous blue bikes — and a 25-percent discount off the service’s annual membership fee, which entitles cyclists to unlimited 45-minute trips between docking stations
Citi Bike debuted in Brooklyn on May 27, 2013, with part its then 6,000-bike fleet serving areas north of Atlantic Avenue. The service has slowly crept deeper into Kings County over the past half decade, with docking stations reaching such southern extremes as Prospect Park Southwest in Windsor Terrace and Sterling Street in Prospect Lefferts Gardens.
But the bike rental’s five-year anniversary push comes as new competition prepares to debut in Brooklyn, and the city’s Department of Transportation is expected to launch a new dockless bike service — which, unlike Citi Bike, allows riders to park their rentals at any bike rack — sometime this summer.