Avast Ye Maties! Barnacle-Covered Citi Bike Parked on UWS is Mysterious and ‘Gross’


Photo courtesy of Jen Chung/Gothamist.

A Citi Bike parked on 73rd and Riverside over the weekend was encrusted with so much sea life that it was being held together with “rust and barnacles,” said bicyclist Ted Geoghegan, who considered riding it on Saturday.

And indeed, the bike is a marvel, like a shipwreck brought back to life. Gothamist editor Jen Chung attempted to take it for a spin, and found that it was non-operational, and also disgusting.

“I will confess that I was 115% unprepared for how gross handling the bike actually would be—my hands were immediately covered in a muddy goo and barnacle particles.” The pedal and a brake were broken and the back wheel couldn’t go backwards.

There were shells and possible even an oyster on the bike, Chung wrote. (See more pics at Gothamist.)

Citi Bike told her it would take the bike out of service.

But we are very intrigued by the backstory. This bike did not merely take a tumble into the water, it seems. It experienced the marvels of the sea at a much deeper level. If you know the bike’s secrets, let us know!

ABSURDITY | 9 comments | permalink
    1. Sarah says:

      I hope Jen Chung has had her hepatitis shots!

    2. Tom Holmes says:

      I saw it in the Hudson at very, very low near 73rd St & took a photo which I can send to anyone interested!

    3. John T says:

      I think this is likely the bike Ive been seeing in the river by 72nd st for years. It could only be seen at low tide.

      • Pam says:

        I agree it’s probably the same bike. I photographed it in the river about a year ago. I can only see part of the serial number in my photo but the last two digits are the same.

    4. UWS10023 says:

      who found it & put it back on the rack?? lol

    5. Riversideboulevarder says:

      I’m impressed that someone pulled it out of the river and brought it all the way to a rack! Perhaps it was Greenpeace.

      Side note: The strong winds can also force a a lower low tide which would make it look even more visible.

    6. Maria says:

      The interesting thing is the oyster. I read a while ago that as the Hudson becomes cleaner, the oysters are returning. I can’t say I’d eat one, though.

    7. Daniel Atha says:

      Everywhere you turn, there is nature. And New York nature lovers (including the West Side Rag) are there to take notes and name names.

      Actually related to Crabs and Lobsters, Barnacles are Crustaceans that look like snails (both make shells) and so I reached out to local snail expert (Malacologist) Susan Hewitt, who reached out to Peter, another snail expert in New Zealand and this is what he sent back….

      “The barnacles on the bike appear to be Amphibalanus improvisus, although there may be some other Amphibalanus species in the mix.

      I did some digging into their growth rate, and in fact it is much more rapid than you (and I) thought. IE. After metamorphosing, they can grow to over 10mm within one month!

      They grow to a maximum diameter of about 16mm (usually less) within 10 weeks, molt every 2-4 days, produce three generations in just one summer, and their lifespan is 1–2 years. Amazing little things! I would love to see a time-lapse video of a barnacle growing, but haven’t been able to find one yet.

      BTW, did you read comment number 2 in the news story? Very funny!”