Why Is My CitiBike Screaming?

Aramie Ewen04/23/2021April 2021

#From the field

“Why is my Citi Bike screaming this time,” I wondered, biking down an unexpectedly gentle hill.

Today’s scream was less distorted than normal. Normal screams sound like a broken chain with a higher pitch, kind of like the bell of a Citi Bike. I could hear why my Citi Bike was screaming today, without any prodding why. The bike was shrieking at me: “Do your laundry!” I did my laundry yesterday. Obviously, that wasn’t what was really bothering my bike. Then again, what if I forgot something at the bottom of my laundry bin? It’s not out of the question. I can be very forgetful. The other day, another Citi Bike kept shouting: “You bike-brain, where are you biking to?” I kept forgetting to answer, and then they would ask again. I was worried I might be wrong, but I shouted back: “I did my laundry!” Every single time the bike would shout, I’d reply. If I didn’t, who knows how much louder things could have gone? “Why are you-” someone biking past said.

“I DID MY LAUNDRY YESTERDAY!” People who own bikes don’t get it. I tried asking the Citi Bike what was really bothering them since I did my laundry. Besides, the bike really shouldn’t have been worried anyway; bikes normally don’t wear clothes, especially not my clothes. Interestingly enough, the bike didn’t care to respond. They went silent for the first time that ride. I docked the bloke and walked away.

On my way back from Starbucks, I got a normal-screaming Citi Bike. For some reason, that day I decided to scream with the bike.

Someone started biking next to me. “This is an unexpectedly gentle hill,” they mentioned. This really was barely a hill at all. Aggressively normal, almost-flat land. “It’s annoyingly flat, is that why you’re screaming?” I stopped screaming with the bike to respond, “Nah, I was just keeping my bike’s scream company.” Embarrassingly, the bike wasn’t screaming anymore. They looked at me like I was the crazy one. At least I don’t start talking to strangers. Maybe Citi Bikes just like specifically annoying me. Nobody else I talk to seems to have this problem. They probably just hate me. Maybe I should stop using Citi Bike to avoid situations like this.

But I’d stop using Citi Bike if I wanted to. I’m lucky enough to have a bike. Whatever. I can deal with the bikes’ complaints. Citi Bike is faster than getting a bike lock.

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