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Velo Love: Divvy Bikes Provided a Route to Romance

Photo provided by Divvy.

Unlike many Chicagoans, I like winter in our city. My strategies for enjoying the season include embracing the weather through outdoor activities, or avoiding it at "winter-denial" spots. (Here are some great, mostly free, examples of the latter.)

Another major reason I'm not miserable during the Chicago winter is that I almost never waste time digging out a private vehicle and waiting for it to warm up, and when the weather is truly nasty I leave the driving to the pros who operate CTA and Metra trains and buses. Many other residents who don't own cars will back me up on these point. (Of course, access to good service is crucial for transit to be an attractive alternative to driving, many Chicagoans don't yet have that, and we need to take action on that issue.)

But even a Chicago winter Pollyanna like myself has to admit that the weather has been truly lousy today, beginning with ice storm that led to the suspension of Metra Electric District and South Shore Line service, which eventually morphed into freezing rain, blanketing the streets with slush. Things got ugly enough, with high winds predicted later today, that Divvy canceled this evening's valet service. (Pretty cool, though, that ridership is high enough in the dead of winter that the system normally has to offer valet service to keep downtown docks from emptying out during the PM rush.)

In challenging weather like this, riding any kind of bike may be the farthest thing from your mind. However, speaking from my experience pedaling on slick streets last night, if you're going to ride a bike today, a Divvy is an ideal choice. The bikes are heavy, stable, and easy for motorists to spot; if things get too hairy you can dock your Divvy and hop on transit; and, either way, afterwards you won't have to worry about cleaning and lubing a bike chain. In fact, after I post this, I plan to layer up and check out a Divvy, so wish me luck navigating through this mess.

At any rate, it's totally understandable if you don't want to go anywhere near a bike today, but here's a heartwarming Divvy story to get you in the mindset for Thursday's Valentine's Day celebration (or anti-Valentine's Day celebration, if that's more your thing.)

According to spokes-folks from the bike-share system, two Divvy "Super Riders" named Alyssa (with a total of 463 rides taken) and Kent (542 rides total) met through a mutual friend at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. "They got to know each other on the blue bikes—riding to and from dates regardless of the weather or the season. This couple is among the brave few who ride even around Valentine’s Day, when Chicago is its least hospitable to outdoor activities."

Photo provided by Divvy.
Photo provided by Divvy.
Photo provided by Divvy.

Since then the pair has used Divvy to transport everything from groceries to school books to Christmas trees. And, as you can see from the accompanying photos, they even incorporated the baby-blue bikes into their recent wedding celebration. (No word from Divvy yet what the overtime fees were.)

If this story makes you want to get back in the saddle, at least whenever the sun comes out again, remember that the #DIVVYGOLD Winter cycling challenge is going on all month, offering the stalwart a chance to win prizes and get invited to a ping pong party.

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