Lots of Fun Stuff Is Planned for Divvy’s 5-Year Anniversary

The rainy debut of Divvy bikes at Daley Plaza in June 2013. Photo: John Greenfield
The rainy debut of Divvy bikes at Daley Plaza in June 2013. Photo: John Greenfield

I remember the rainy evening in late June, 2013, when Divvy bikes were first released in Chicago. A phalanx of the chunky, baby-blue cycles stood on kickstands under the Picasso sculpture. At the appointed time, ceremony attendees were invited to take them for a spin. The bikes were heavy and slow, but comfy and fun for a relaxed cruise.

Fast-forward several years and Chicago’s bike-share system is about to celebrate its fifth birthday on Thursday June 28. A week ago the network reached a milestone of 15 million trips. The 15 millionth ride was taken, fittingly, at Daley Plaza by one of the original 4,000 Divvy members. Impressively, she still has the special black key they gave to us founding members (mine broke within a year.)

Nowadays Divvy hits more than 20,000 rides per day during the high season, and over 32 million miles have been ridden overall. There are now more than 37,000 annual members. Recently the system launched the Divvy Bikes app, which allows riders to buy passes, plan routes, find available bikes and check them out, and locate open docks to park the cycles after they finish their trip.

Divvy is offering a slew of events and promotions to mark its fifth anniversary. The festivities start with a birthday party on Sunday, July 1st, at noon at Maggie Daley Park, 337 E. Randolph. The shindig features birthday cake rider awards, a cookie decorating contest, lawn games, a photo booth, music, and more. The first 500 attendees get a free tote bag.

The following week there will be five days of freebies for Divvy members who show their key at participating establishments:

  • Monday, July 2: Free iced coffee at Dollop café locations
  • Tuesday, July 3 (2-5 p.m.): Free chips and guac at any Chipotle in Chicago or Evanston
  • Wednesday, July 4: Free ice cream cone at any Jeni’s
  • Thursday, July 5: Free ride on the Chicago Water Taxi to any stop
  • Friday, July 6: Pass for a free Divvy ride (emailed to members)

After that, Tom Limon of Adventure Cycling Tours will be leading a series of five “Divvy adventures” bike rides:

  • Saturday, July 7: Divvy HQ Tour + Hubbard Street Mural Ride
  • Sunday, July 8: Chicago’s River Bridges Tour
  • Saturday, July 14: North Side Murals and Street Art
  • Sunday, July 15: Pilsen Mural Tour
  • Sunday, July 29: Chicago Pothole Art Tour

So there’s plenty of fun happenings to keep loyal Divvy fans busy this weekend. Speaking of which, check out my Chicago Reader colleagues Ryan Smith’s musings on why, though the bikes are still “ugly,” the Divvy system is more useful than ever nowadays.

  • Andrew

    I don’t understand the aesthetic criticisms of Divvy (and other Motivate-managed) bikes. Sure, they’re heavy, but I think the design is really simple and elegant. I love the single “swoop” of the down tube.

    Compare Divvy bikes to any of the alternative bike share bikes, and I think it clearly wins on aesthetics.

  • Gene Parmesan

    Honestly they deserve to end up in the Smithsonian or MoMA for their achievement in industrial design. The way they continue to function almost flawlessly after tens of thousands of riders, after sitting outside for years in our notorious climate including freeze/thaw cycles and road salt, after being molested by our notorious population of antisocial youths that are yanking them illicitly from their docks and throwing them in the street… its unbelievable. I don’t understand how they constructed such a durable bike.

    And they don’t lack for features, either! Easily adjustable seat, 3 speed hub gearbox, front and rear lights, dynamo to keep the lights powered, GPS to track them, fenders, front basket/rack thing, kickstand… you can’t get a bike with all those features for less than $1500.

    Would better baskets/racks be nice so I could carry more? Definitely. Would 1 or 2 more gears be nice so I could bike faster? Yes but they probably don’t want people riding shared bikes that fast, and also thousands of bike owners prefer single speed bikes in Chicago anyways.


More Women Signing Up for Divvy, But Not Necessarily Riding

The rate at which women are signing up for new Divvy memberships is slowly increasing, but the rate at which female members use Divvy for trips is increasing even more slowly. 35.7 percent of annual Divvy subscribers identified themselves as women as of the end of August. This is the highest it’s been since Divvy […]