The other day, I tried out Chicago’s new bike share program called Divvy Bikes. Let me start by saying you need to be really comfortable riding a bike and riding in a densely populated area before you rent one of these bikes. I’m not sure if that’s clear for some people. I have ridden plenty in the city, so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect.
The bikes themselves are really durable. They must weigh a good 40 lbs or more. They’re definitely built for wear and tear, not speed. They have three speeds. Well, really two useless ones, and a third gear that you’ll pretty much leave it. Since Chicago is relatively flat, you’d only need to switch down to get going quickly.
I was really pleased with the front basket design. It’s just right for laptop bags because it’s open on the sides and has a really strong bungie cord to hold it securely in place.
You can rent the bikes without a subscription. That’s something I didn’t know and was one reason I hadn’t tried it sooner. The price is right. It’s $7 for 24 hours, but you can only have the bikes for 30 minutes at a time. There are a lot of bike stations, but if they’re full, you have to go somewhere else to lock it up. I really thought a shortage of bikes would be the problem, not a shortage of places to drop them off.
In my opinion, it’s better than a cab for speed and price. But it’s definitely not for everyone. I would not recommend tourists using them. Chicago may claim to be a bike-friendly town with it’s dedicated lanes, but Chicagoans in cars are not.
Overall, a great experience. The bike stations are where you need them. You can pretty much use it spur of the moment. The bikes themselves are a quality ride.