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Because This Guy Is Riding His Citi Bike Across the Country

Clockwise from top left: Washington, D.C.; Greenwood, Delaware; Texas-Oklahoma border; Ridgely, Maryland; Margate City, New Jersey; San Jon, New Mexico  

One night this past August, Jeffrey Tanenhaus, a corporate-event planner, checked out a Citi Bike from a dock near Gramercy Park and began a journey to cross the country on the blue, one-piece, aluminum-frame utility bike. “Riding a Citi Bike in New York was always the highlight of my day,” he says from Albuquerque. “Both my job and the lease on my apartment were ending, and I couldn’t stomach the thought of getting ‘just another job.’ I was out of options in New York, and I thought of the great American road trip: What if I scaled up and used a Citi Bike?”

How did you choose this particular bike? I can usually tell within ten seconds if a bike is good or not. It’s like dating. The brakes are a good indicator, as is the ease of pedaling. A good bike is like cutting through warm butter, while a bad bike is like cutting through stale bread. When I saw this bike, I could tell right away it had only been on the street for a few hours.

Did you have a route in mind? I didn’t expect to get very far — down the Jersey Shore at the most — because these bikes aren’t meant to travel long distances. I tried to stay on as much flat ground as possible. I found these paths called Rails-to-Trails, which are old railroad tracks that have been ripped up and turned into biking and hiking trails. I just kept discovering more and more vehicle-less flat trails. I go about 40 miles per day. Right now, I’m traveling the Bike Route 66, which, like the highway, ends in Santa Monica.

What will happen to the bike? I would like to get it back to New York and return it to the ecosystem from where it came, but I can’t bring it on a train, so I’ll have to take it apart, box it up, and then rebuild it. But I first want to make it to the last part, to California.I checked out my bike on the last day of my annual membership account. I was charged $1,200, the maximum amount, which I thought was fair.