The Chainlink

As many of us take our first Divvy rides over the next few days, jot down your experiences, impressions or any tips you may have for using Divvy.

I'll start:

I got to Daley Plaza a little past five this evening, for the Pre-Launch Divvy Ride.  My first impression was: man, that's a lot of bikes sitting there!  I checked in at the Divvy tent--and was pleased to find out I didn't need to activate my key fob yet: my paper invitation was all I needed.  Each bike was tagged with one of our names; there was literally a bike with my name on it on the plaza.

Many recognizable faces on the plaza.  I caught up briefly with Anne Alt & Julie Hochstadter, saw John Greenfield scoping things out, chatted with Elliot Greenberger (Divvy's PR guy) and Eddie Imlow (Divvy's General Manager) who was managing to be everywhere even while being hobbled by crutches.

It began to drizzle.  Then it began to rain.  Then it began to REALLY RAIN.  My free cup of gelato from the nearby gelato truck began to melt in the warm raindrops.  An amazing number of people squeezed under the three little tents.  And lots of folks plastered themselves up against the front of the Daley Center, against the windows, trying to stay dry.  I didn't hear much of Gabe Klein's speech, as the windy storm was howling at its height right about then.

Only a few Divvy cyclists had left the plaza when I found my Divvy bike and headed north, first on Dearborn, then up Clark to Fullerton, then up Orchard to Diversey and finally to Wilton.  Diversey & Wilton was the furthest north operational station tonight, which is why I picked it.

Locking up was a little tricky.  I tried several times, but couldn't make the green light come on or the lock activate. Shortly after, four more Divvy riders arrived to lock up.  One had used the Washington, DC bike share, and slammed--really slammed--the front wheel into the lock tower and the green light came right on.  I tested the lock by lifting the rear wheel and tugging the bike backwards, but the lock held.  We all tried the same thing and successfully locked all five bikes.  **TIP** Don't be gentle when locking up, it seems you need to really slam the front wheel forward into the slot. And don't walk away from the bike until you're sure it's locked--you're re$pon$ible for it until it's secured.

Oddly, even now, after three hours, the Diversey/Wilton station still reports zero bikes and fifteen open docks on the CycleFinder app, even though I know at least five bikes are locked there, possibly more.  Perhaps that station isn't communicating properly with the mainframe computer?

Other impressions from my ride: the bike is big, heavy, comfy & cushy.  It absorbed potholes and bumps beautifully, but you had to really work at moving off the line at a green light.  The three speeds seemed kind of close together, and didn't really provide much difference from first to third.  The front rack with integrated bungee cord held my bag and water bottle securely.

Be prepared to be the center of attention during the next week, while Divvy is still new.  I had other cyclists stop to ask me how I liked the Divvy.  Pedestrians and motorists gawked and stared at the bike.  I got one "Whohoo!  You got the first ride!  I chickened out in the rain..." from a pedestrian I passed.

**Tip** Spend a little time experimenting with the saddle height.  The post is helpfully marked off in inches, so you can replicate the height quickly each time.  I stopped and changed it three times during my ride: I've decided 4-and-a-half-inches height seems right for me.

I have no experience checking out a bike yet.  One of the guys who was locking alongside me had an activated key fob, but it didn't release the bike.  That may have to wait until the system is officially open tomorrow.

Have fun!  I look forward to hearing about your first Divvy rides.


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I found that I could not adjust the Divvy bike to get into a proper aerodynmically-efficient position, and the cornering was terrible.   What is the point, I may as well have just walked.

I wonder that myself. How long will that last?

Jeff B said:

One last comment, the number of Divvy Trucks shuffling bikes around is impressive (and expensive).  I'm not convinced this is going to work.

Ask Washington DC. They've been at it for a few years now.

J.A.W. said:

I wonder that myself. How long will that last?

Jeff B said:

One last comment, the number of Divvy Trucks shuffling bikes around is impressive (and expensive).  I'm not convinced this is going to work.

Very similar systems have been operating in DC & London for 3 years, in Montreal for 4, in Paris for 5, and in Lyon for 8 years, so hopefully we'll have at least that much time before the whole system tanks.  We'll also be in very good company, internationally speaking, when the whole bike share concept goes down the tubes.

J.A.W. said:

I wonder that myself. How long will that last?

Jeff B said:

One last comment, the number of Divvy Trucks shuffling bikes around is impressive (and expensive).  I'm not convinced this is going to work.

This is a joke, right?

envane (69 furlongs) said:

I found that I could not adjust the Divvy bike to get into a proper aerodynmically-efficient position, and the cornering was terrible.   What is the point, I may as well have just walked.

Loved it all the way.  Easy in/out.  Easy adjustment.  Easy to keep up with traffic.  Bike lanes super good.  Cars respond well on no lane streets.

I took oneout this morning, and i have to admit i didnt care for the bike, but being able to just load it into the dock and walk away with out another thought was rather cool. 

Twas ever thus wasn't it? You visit a town, say Chicago, and pay $150 a night for a hotel room. Very few residents pay $4500 a month in rent or mortgage for a single room dwelling. 

Cameron 7.5 mi said:

That seems to be how we do things around here.

Christine (5.0) said:

I'm perfectly alright with tourists paying more, if it helps keep my yearly fees down.


Jeff B said:

I was not impressed by the pricing -- pay more after 30 minutes, get soaked after 60 minutes.  This is not a bike rental proposition by any means, and I surmise that is the intention, yet I see more tourists (?) riding along the lakefront at a leisurely pace and a mental meter in my head going $8/hour.

Only the second time I used Divvy since Inauguration day. Took it from my office to the Morgan Geen line stop and walked from there to Publican Quality Meats for lunch. Easy peasy.

My food standards are pretty high. I am not easily pleased. But I may just have had one of the best Italian sandwiches ever. $11 gets you a big pile of home cured meats on a marvelous crusty roll. Man that is good. I definitely will have to go back.

Which brings me to NIMBYs. Folks that don't like Divvy stations near them because it takes up too much parking. I don't get that. All my Divvy use sofar has been to places that are simply too far too walk, or to inconvenient to take CTA. There is no way I would have gone to PQM without Divvy. Instead I divvied over there and spend $13 for a sandwich and a soda. How is Divvy not good for business?

Agreed! Yesterday, when deciding whether to go to Lou Malnati's or Gino's East with my visiting father, we chose Gino's because it was near a Divvy station for him to use (I may or may not have broken the rules by lending him my keyfob while I was at work, which I got to with my regular bicycle)

Duppie 13.5185km said:

Which brings me to NIMBYs. Folks that don't like Divvy stations near them "because it takes up free parking". I don't get that. All my Divvy use sofar has been to places that are simply too far too walk, or to inconvenient to take CTA. There is no way I would have gone to PQM without Divvy. Instead I went Divvied over there and spend $13 for a sandwich and a soda. How is Divvy not good for business?

Next week, when things around the office settle down to a dull roar, I am going to take Divvy over to have lunch there.  And I would never do it otherwise.
 
Duppie 13.5185km said:

Only the second time I used since Inauguration day. Took it from my office to the Morgan Geen line stop and walked from there to Publican Quality Meats for lunch. Easy peasy.

My food standards are pretty high. I am not easily pleased. But I may just have had one of the best Italian sandwiches ever. $11 gets you a big pile of home cured meats on a marvelous crusty roll. Man that is good. I definitely will have to go back.

Which brings me to NIMBYs. Folks that don't like Divvy stations near them "because it takes up.... I don't get that. All my Divvy use sofar has been to places that are simply too far too walk, or to inconvenient to take CTA. There is no way I would have gone to PQM without Divvy. Instead I went Divvied over there and spend $13 for a sandwich and a soda. How is Divvy not good for business?

1 car vs. 12 bikes. You do the math on which is better for business.

Duppie 13.5185km said:

Which brings me to NIMBYs. Folks that don't like Divvy stations near them because it takes up too much parking. I don't get that. All my Divvy use sofar has been to places that are simply too far too walk, or to inconvenient to take CTA. There is no way I would have gone to PQM without Divvy. Instead I divvied over there and spend $13 for a sandwich and a soda. How is Divvy not good for business?

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