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Chicagoans Can Test-Ride New e-Divvies at Upcoming South Side Community Tours

Prototype of the new electric Divvy bikes.

Streetsblog has received plenty of inquiries in recent weeks from readers chomping on the bit to try out the new electrical-assist, dockless-option Divvy bikes that will be used to nearly triple the fleet size and expand the system citywide. Finally there's some news on that front, as the city of Chicago and Lyft, the Divvy concessionaire, announced a series of South Side community tours during which residents can take the speedy new cycles for a spin. Starting later this month, the tours will also be an opportunity for city officials to educate the public about the program and collect input on where the new bike-share stations, as well as new bikeways and other safety improvements, should go.

The expansion will grow the system by 10,500 cycles to 16,500 total, and add another 175 docking stations. The e-bikes, with an electrical-assist motor that will top out at 18 mph, will have built in cable locks, so they either be parked at a station or secured to a bike rack or pole. As part of the expansion deal, which was bitterly opposed by the ride-hailing giant's arch-enemy Uber, Lyft is spending $50 million on the new hardware, and is also guaranteeing an additional $77 million in revenue for the city over the nine remaining years of the Divvy contract.

“Chicago is working to expand transportation resources citywide, which is why we’re excited about expanding Divvy with new options for residents who live and work on Chicago’s South Side,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement. “This community tour will allow us to hear from residents on how to build the best network for Divvy bikes, making it a more accessible transportation option across all neighborhoods.” Here's the full schedule:

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At each event, Divvy outreach workers and CDOT staff will ask residents where Divvy stations and bike racks are needed, and will gather feedback on "how biking can support the community." Chicagoans can also visit Divvy's suggest-a-station page to recommend new locations and leave comments. They can also boost other people's suggested locations with a "like" feature.

“Our goal is to engage with Chicago residents at the neighborhood level to learn how we can best support the community’s transportation needs through the Divvy expansion process,” said Lyft’s head of micromobility Caroline Samponaro, formerly of New York's Transportation Alternatives advocacy group. “The Divvy Community Tour is a fun way to get people together to hear from residents and ensure that we are designing the most equitable bike-share system possible.” To sweeten the deal, the tours will include live music, free refreshments, and activities for kids at the starting locations.

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