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Chicago wants to expand Divvy (owned by Lyft) and Jump Bikes (owned by Uber) want to get in on the action.  The issue comes up at the next City Council meeting.  

Any thoughts or opinions on the subject?

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I'm decidedly pro-Divvy, but have reservations about a e-bike fleet. What will extra costs be? Can it be implemented smoothly?

Use Uber to leverage Lyft for a better deal?

I really love Divvy, but I'm not sure how the electric assist thing will work and/or whether I'll like it or not. I definitely want to see Divvy expanded, especially in my area (Six Corners/Portage Park does not have very good station density compared to areas closer to the lake/downtown), but even the dockless aspect of the expansion is kind of confusing- will that eventually take the place of the docks? will the current bikes be dockless or just the e-bikes? will the city install addition bike racks to allow for dockless riding? will Divvy stop adding docking stations? etc, etc, etc.?

I am excited for it, but skeptical at the same time.

E-assist sounds awesome to me. Those Divvy bikes are heavy and slow. 

As far as Lyft/Divvy vs Uber/Jump proposals, I definitely prefer the option from Lyft/Divvy. I don't think it's a good idea to let Uber come in and set up a competing privately run bike-share service (Jump) alongside the existing publicly run Divvy system. I think having two bike-share systems operating in the same space will result in confusion and frustration for users, and too much overlap in busy areas. Our bike-share network should be publicly run and the Lyft/Divvy proposal continues that.

It's not surprising that many of us current cyclists are less than enthusiastic about the prospect of ebikes.  After all, we have decided to ride in this city on conventional bikes, and there are some reasons for concern.  The benefit to us all is that putting ebikes in the ride share fleet potentially increases utilization  of the system, and that has multiple benefits even if you are not using the electric assist feature.

1.  More cyclists on the road helps motorists be aware of us.

2.  Increases political support for bicycle infrastructure

3. Provides funding and justification for expanding the system.

IMO, those benefits outweigh the risks of ebikes.

What are the risks of ebikes?

(Besides some having ego-trips about them?)

Inexperienced riders moving faster than they should is the main one.

How is that different than any bike?

There was a big discussion on this a couple of years ago.  Speed of a human powered bike is constrained by the ability of the rider.  A person who can ride at 20+ mph has generally put in a lot of miles and therefore has practice looking out for hazards.  On an ebike riders at all levels can go that fast.  I acknowledge there are experienced riders who move at unsafe speeds in crowded areas, but IMO they are the exception.

So why isn't the speed limit for every type of bicycle? I personally have about 35,000 miles on my ebike in the city and average about 18mph. I find the "average" divvy rider considerably more dangerous than almost every other cyclist out there, even though they're moving slower.

100% agreed that it is a feature, not a bug, that the Divvy bikes are slow and have good brakes and wide tires.

Will be interesting to see how the electronic-assist bikes fare in a congested city. I used one in Japan in a semi-rural area and it was a godsend on the hills. Not really sure why it's necessary with Chicago's topography.

A 250W motor isn't going to get a Divvy type bike up to 20mph under most circumstances. 250W is really weak. It is enough to help get the heavy bike started.

One way to guarantee the inexperienced Divviots won't be hitting 20mph sustained is to fool with the gear ratios. If you put a properly small cog up front or large cog in rear, you can ensure that the cadence to speed beyond the limited power of the motor is very limited. You'll force the rider to pedal their legs at such a pace as to be unsustainable.

I've had experience with this myself on single-gear ebikes. It becomes not worth the effort to go faster than the bike is naturally tuned to.

A question for everyone who is against these ebikes is whether they've actually ridden such a configuration? Or are they basing their assumptions on that one 40mph electric beast they saw that one time, which probably cost $5k-10k?



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