Do You Divvy?
A few weeks ago, Divvy Bikes landed in Evanston, IL. It’s a great market given that Evanston is home to Northwestern University and neighbors with Chicago. Evanston has ten stations and three of them are located at Northwestern University.
These bicycles are intended for quick trips (half-hour trips or less) and have risen in popularity among commuters.
The pricing structure includes:
- $9.95 for a 24 Hour pass with unlimited half-hour rides (and fees for any additional times in a tiered pricing plan).
- $99 (up front) for an annual membership or $9.95/month with a year commitment with unlimited half-hour rides. Bikes checked in late incur fees based on the duration of tardiness allowing Divvy to make money.
I often ride my own bicycle, weather permitting, to work. However, this past weekend, I had family in town and there was some time left on a 24 hour pass so I tried out the program for a couple of hours.
It’s kind of like a game to get to the next station within the 30 minute timeframe. The 24 hour pass is pretty simple to maneuver.
- Swipe the credit card.
- Remember the six digit code that pops onto the screen.
- Dash to a dock with a bike and enter the code.
- Once the machine makes a creepy noise and the light turns green, pull the bike out of the dock!
The longest part of the process is in the beginning when the seat most likely needs to be adjusted. However, if the itinerary allows, keep the same bike and check it into a dock within the half hour and unlock it again with the new six digit code. I believe the annual membership is a little more efficient but I am not completely sure of the process as of yet.
My sister-in-law and I had a little less than a couple of hours left on the 24 hour pass. The time could have been longer but there was a couple in front of us and there seemed to be some issues with keying on the display that slowed them down. There were three bikes available but one was broken…but the other two weren’t. PHEW!
So, we rode to Northwestern University’s campus and I was stunned how quickly 20 minutes flew by. Before I knew it, it was time to dock the bike at the University Library station. The challenge with that station is that it is up on the curb and these bikes are HEAVY! It’s $1200 if you lose one, too. Take note. The bikes are very substantial with fenders a bag holder in front, and lights. We pushed it onto the dock and snagged our next code and pulled it back on the dock and were on the road within a couple of minutes.
We rode along the lakefront and toured around Northwestern’s campus and then it was time to dock again at the Noyes/Sheridan location. From there, we made our way to the McCormick bike trail that begins near Noyes and Green Bay Road. While on the path, a runner kept pace with us to find out where she could find a cool Divvy bike. After she sprinted away, we calmly fled to the station across from the Central Street Metra.
Our last leg of this jubilant jaunt took us to downtown Evanston where we intended to park our bike at the Davis Street Metra/Elevated Train location but the docks were all taken! No worries. Check in at the kiosk and get a 15 minute credit and alternate station information where the bike can be docked. The app on the phone shows load information that can make this part less stressful, too! When the bike is docked, make sure the green light appears accompanied by a whirling noise or the clock will still run.
I can see the appeal of this annual membership program for bike owners, too. There are days when I prefer to take a leisurely walk to work and then wish I could ride a bike home or even along the lake front before I come home – this option makes that plan a reality.
I have a station across the street where I live which makes it VERY convenient and enticing. Students get a discount, too, so I can definitely see inventory getting sparse during the school year.
Try the 24 hour pass and see if you like it! See you on the trails!