The Chainlink

I've noticed that a number of us primarily use Divvy to get around. I figured I'd create this thread to discuss all things Divvy. Compliments. Complaints. Suggestions. All welcome.

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When Divvy started someone here described the three gears as being "useless, almost useless, and completely useless." LOL.

I myself spend 100% of my time in the "almost useless" third gear. ;)

Like you I have hit the Needs Repair button for bikes with gear issues. I don't know how thoroughly those bikes are inspected but would love to know.

It's hard for me to get worked up about the full/empty docks. That is the downside of the "hub" nature of Chicago commuting patterns--not much Divvy can do about that. But it would be SO COOL if, as in NYC, you could earn "points" for riding a bike from a full station to an empty station, and redeem those points against the annual fee.

They have data on every single ride. They know the commuting patterns, probably broken down by hour or 15 minute intervals. Heck, they have the real-time data, so they know which stations are running out of bikes or docks. With this data they could be a lot more proactive.

I'd be curious to see their operations center. Are they dispatching vans on a predetermined schedule, or are they actively monitoring the stations and scheduling vans based on real-time demand?

I know they "know" about how quickly the docks fill up and empty out in the Loop. My point is there's a limit to how much we can reasonably expect a fleet of vans to constantly rebalance these stations. The concentration of jobs in the Loop would present a problem for any bike share system.

My solution has been to ride my own bike in the warmer months, when Divvy usage is high, and ride Divvy in the colder months when Divvy usage is lower.

I agree the gearing isn't much good. I think it would help if they reduced the tooth count at the back by one or two. OTOH, Divvy probably doesn't want riders to build up too much speed, reducing the likelihood of crashes and their severity ("speed kills" and all that...)

As for "needs repair," I've noticed on occasion that I will get a bike with completely non-functioning lights or missing stand light functionality. While I always have a lighted helmet and a flasher on my back, either of those lighting problems warrant a "needs repair" vote from me when I return the bike.

On the flip side (and not so much of a problem this time of year), I've occasionally been disappointed to find the last bike in a dock with its red light lit, forcing a longer walk than I'd anticipated. It's a double-edged sword, I guess.

Good point that the low gearing may be a feature, not a bug. Which frankly is fine by me.

Looks like today's outage has been resolved. Divvy tweeted about it a little while ago.

I'd use it more if they put a station closer to my apartment.  Closest one is about a seven minute walk.  I know in some areas the spacing is even less frequent.

I forgot to mention brakes. Am I the only rider who regularly gets a bike that has basically no brakes? One could squeeze the brake handle all the way, and still not come close to locking up the tire.

Have definitely not had this problem on Divvy--in fact I am tempted to say that the brakes are the bikes' most solid feature.

Yeah, some of the brakes are definitely so-so, at best.

On the subject of full and empty docks...

I started riding Divvy as an alternative to hobbling across the Loop from the Metra station during my early-to-middle phase of recovery after my crash in late February. Divvy was a godsend, as it was much easier on my leg to pedal than walk.

Most of the time, I take my own bike to the Metra station in Evanston, but if it looks like rain, I will sometimes grab a Divvy, which is perhaps three blocks from home. One day, I did that. On the trip home, without checking the Transit app, I grabbed a bike at the Davis Street L station dock, then headed to Valli (Dempster and Dodge), from where I planned to hobble home. Lo and behold, the dock was full. The next nearest dock was at Church and Dodge, which is about as far from my house as the Davis Street dock where I picked up the bike to begin with. At that point, I was soaking wet and I didn't feel I could comfortably walk that far, so called my wife to come and get me.

A definite "epic fail" of Divvy proportions. :-)

That dock seems awfully isolated.  I guess they wanted to have a presence in that neighborhood but couldn't really afford to install enough docks to make it useful.


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