This winter, Chicago’s fifth snowiest on record, with over 20 subzero days, has been a test for whether bike-share can be viable year-round in U.S. cities with harsh northern climates. The multitude of baby-blue bikes I observed whizzing by the Daley Center during this evening’s rush hour (and, no, Critical Mass hadn’t started yet) suggests Divvy is still going strong. I buttonholed bike-share user Adam Loedint, an engineer, to ask how the system has been working out for him during this unforgiving season.
John Greenfield: Are you commuting home from work?
Adam Loedint: Yeah, I work at Monroe and Wabash and live around Ohio and Franklin, so it’s about an eight-minute ride.
JG: Do you ride Divvy regularly during the winter?
AL: Every day.
JG: How’s it been working out?
AL: I’ve been very happy. I think it’s the best thing to happen to Chicago since I’ve been here.
JG: Any issues with mechanical difficulties?
AL: When it got real cold, I noticed some tires were flat. So that just turned into one thing I would look for before rolling it, but there’s always more bikes in the winter too, so it’s not a problem.
JG: Was there ever a time when you went riding on a Divvy and you found it was just painfully cold?
AL: You know, the only time I got a bike and brought it back was not ‘cause of cold. It was just raining so hard. That was actually before the winter. In the winter, one day I forgot my gloves, so I took the ‘L’ that day, but otherwise, no, no problems.
JG: Anything else you want to tell me about your Divvy winter experience?
AL: I tell you, all the old guys at my office don’t get it at all. They can’t understand the 30-minute trips aspect, how that could be useful, and they worry about getting stuck somewhere. I don’t know how to explain it to them. There seems to be an age gap there.
JG: I’m sure they’ll wrap their heads around it some day.