DIVVY: Chicago Bike Share!

Chicago announced its plan for a large scale bike share system almost two years ago.  After a long wait, the system – now called Divvy – went live on Friday!

Only a fraction of the stations are open during the first phase – none near my home – but many others are scheduled to open soon.  A total of 4000 bikes at 400 stations is planned for the first two years.

Even though I have my own bikes, I became a member.  I anticipate Divvy being useful when:

  • I want to bike to a bar and cab or transit home.
  • I take the L in the morning due to rain but the sun is shining by the end of the day.
  • I don’t want to leave my bike locked outside for an extended period of time.
  • I need to get to court or a meeting during the middle of the day and taking my bike out of my office and down the elevator would be too much trouble.
  • I want to travel with a friend who does not have her own bike.

The annual membership is only $75 and includes unlimited, free 30 minute rides.  Daily passes are available for only $7.

While Divvy will be useful to me personally, I’m most excited about the system because I believe it will radically change the culture of Chicago for the better. I was skeptical of bike share until I saw how Velib is used by everyone in Paris.  Now I am anxious to see the same happen in Chicago.  The more people ride bikes, the more people will understand what it’s like to ride a bike.  Empathy from Chicago drivers – imagine that!

Here’s a quick video I made of the process to join Divvy with an overview of the website.  I will make a video of using the system soon.

Joining DIVVY Bike Share from LGRAB on Vimeo.

Anyone else already a Divvy member?  (No?  Join now!)

{P.S. Stay up-to-date on Divvy through Streetsblog Chicago’s excellent reporting.  Read Trisha’s report of Nashville’s bike-share and my Denver B-Cycle story.}

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12 thoughts on “DIVVY: Chicago Bike Share!

  1. ilynne says:

    My son and I are really excited to try bike share in Chicago in September. Here in Seattle where I live it won’t start until next spring and where he lives in Alabama hell will freeze over first.

  2. Amanda S says:

    I, too, was skeptical of bike sharing (we have B-cycle in Madison) since I own two bikes, but visiting Montreal last summer changed my view. I was able to see much more of that city in a short weekend than I ever thought possible with Bixi. Plus, if you see a cool cafe or shop while pedaling through a neighborhood, it’s much easier to just stop and visit than if you were driving or using public transit.

    This will definitely increase my annual number of trips to Chicago!

  3. forensicgarlic says:

    I signed up for the same reasons. I’m excited for new stations to open up.

  4. Julie H. says:

    I went to the (rainy but fun) kickoff last week and got my first chance to ride one of the bikes to a station. I work in the West Loop and am looking forward to expanding my eating-out options at lunch time toward Greek Town and Randolph.

    Even when I ride my own bike to work, for short lunch-time jaunts it will be more convenient to just grab a Divvy bike from the station outside my office than to go all the way to the basement of the building and haul my personal bike out.

  5. Scott Sanderson says:

    I just took my first Divvy bike ride. I was expecting problems, but everything went smoothly. Can’t wait until the city installs a station near my house!

  6. Lauren Taylor says:

    AWESOME!!! I can’t wait to try this out next time I visit Chicago :)

    We have B-Cycle here in Nashville, which I know you’re aware of, and it’s really amazing how many bicycles I see rolling by when I’m staring out the window at my office. Most of them are on the sidewalk – argh! – but, baby steps. Baby steps. I, too, have a membership, for similar reasons as you do. It’s so nice to be able to take the bike out for a quite lunch time spin (the closest station is NEXT DOOR to my office, yeah!), esp on days when I didn’t ride due to the AM weather.

  7. Cindy P says:

    I used it yesterday, and I thought it was great. It was like riding a Lazy Boy compared to my Brompton…very cushy ride. Just wish it had a bell.

  8. cris says:

    I’ve been a member of the Hubway bike share in Boston for the past two years, and even though I own two bikes, I’ve been glad of my membership for reasons 3, 4 and 5; with 5 being the biggest. Being able to meet a pedestrian friend for a concert or dinner, and saying, “hey, let’s bike over to this neat bar afterwards” has been awesome and a great alternative to public transportation.

    • LGRAB says:

      Cool. Have you been able to get friends who don’t normally bike to ride Hubway short distances with you?

      • cris says:

        oh yes … part of it is just taking advantage of the natural curiosity some may have and then combining it with a free pass. Like, “oh, I know you’ve been eyeing those bike racks. You’re bike-curious, admit it. Here’s my membership key. And I’ll even promise to ride slow and lead you through traffic. And at the end, there will be beer. What could possibly be easier?”

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