Divvy Bike Share to the Rescue!

On Friday, I attended the Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park west of downtown Chicago.      Instead of biking there, I planned to hop on the bus afterward, which would take me straight home.  Obviously, I’m not too familiar with the massive crowds associated with music festivals, my plan to “hop on the bus” being hopelessly naive.


All started well, but then the final show of the day – Bjork! – abruptly ended early, due to an approaching storm.  Everyone had to leave en masse.  I was part of a huge crowd crawling toward the exit, and by the time I got out, there was a mass of people lined up for the bus and a bottleneck up to the L station.  I decided to walk north in hopes of finding a cab or an alternate bus route and made it a few blocks before the storm arrived, complete with thunder, lightening and a torrential downpour.  Along with other festival wanderers, I took shelter in a 7-11, cursing the situation.

That’s when I decided to pull out my iPhone and check the Divvy app for nearby stations.  Bingo – a station a little less than a mile up the road.  Happy to have a plan, I marched outside and into the pouring rain.  I was already soaked, so no big deal.  Finally coming upon the Divvy station was like finding an oasis in the desert.

photo-2Although I had not used Divvy before, getting my bike was a breeze.  I marched up to the nearest bike, checked the tires and brakes quickly, used my member key fob to release the bike, and adjusted the seat.

Then I was off!  I started on the bike lane right next to the station, then soon turned off on a quiet neighborhood street.  I was happy to see a bright front light flash as I pedaled, making me feel visible in the night.


The ride was so lovely, cruising through the quiet, dark, stormy night, leaving behind the chaos of the music festival crowds.  A big, goofy smile plastered my face the whole time.

There is not yet a Divvy station near my home, so I biked to the station closest to my home and adjacent to the Brown Line, which took a bit less than 30 minutes.  Here I am, looking bedraggled but feeling triumphant at the end of my ride.


I easily docked the bike and then jumped on the L, which took me the final couple of miles home.

This was a beautiful first experience to have with Divvy.  I desperately needed a way home and Divvy answered the call.  The only improvement would have been for Divvy to take me straight from the festival to home.  I hope the hundreds of other planned stations will open soon!



15 thoughts on “Divvy Bike Share to the Rescue!

  1. ** says:

    Love the last photo/pic & the ‘mona-lisatic’ smile ! :-D

  2. Annie Angello says:

    You’re awful dressed up for a festival! The best assumption is that you’re going to be so filthy at the end of the day you might as well dress like a punk rocker :-P

  3. K2 says:

    Just returned from Montreal where the Bixi bike share has been in operation for many years. We purchased a 24 hour membership ($7) used our iphone gps app to find the docking stations AND bike routes. We walked an hour (uphill) to Parc LaFontaine and rode the bikes back to Vieux Montreal to tour around the waterfront parks and streets…lovely. The stations are abundant and very well placed in key areas so when we reached our 30 minute mark, we were easily able to dock, wait a few minutes and ride-on again. We used the bikes again in the evening to beat the traffic after the fireworks, again, along an easy bike path. Wonderful experience.

  4. spiderleggreen says:

    That’s what bike-share is perfect for! Going to, or from places that have big crowds. I too, recently rode our Nice Ride(Mpls) system’s bike through a storm with 60 mile an hour winds and can say they were the perfect bike for the job because they’re so sturdy. I was just as soaked as you!

    • LGRAB says:

      I already have a year membership, which is what made grabbing a bike so easy in the rain. Otherwise, I would have had to figure out how to get a ticket and punch in the code.

      Agreed that these are the perfect bikes for withstanding extreme weather. I’d love to visit Minneapolis one day; good to know I’ll be able to cruise around on the bikeshare while there.

  5. ScottUKEireLover says:

    Inspiring resilience Dotty

  6. Bobbin and Sprocket says:

    Great story! I don’t know what it is about cycling in the rain, but I get the big goofy smile too!

  7. Maria Boustead says:

    My first Divvy experience was similar!
    I was biking down a desolate Elston stretch (on my own bike) on a hot hot morning when I went over a pothole. My chain popped off, got caught in the wheel, breaking a spoke and bending the derailleur.

    My first reaction was “Ugh! I’m in the middle of nowhere!”. But then I remembered Divvy. There was a station less than a mile way, so I locked up my bike to a pole, walked over and grabbed a Divvy. I found it similarly intuitive to use and it took me the rest of the way to my office without a hitch. Rescued!

    At first I thought I wouldn’t use Divvy too often since I have my own bike that I love to ride, but I find that I am using it all the time! There’s a station across the street from Po Campo HQ (literally across the street from our door) and it is so convenient for little errands downtown. I can’t wait until the rest of the stations are put in too.

    • LGRAB says:

      Yikes for your bike mishap, but yay for Divvy! That’s a great first divvy story. How perfect that there is a station across from Po Campo HQ. :)

    • joe says:

      Divvy installed a bike rack next to my building. It’s where dog owners curb their dogs. The dogs still use the spot to do their business. Only now they do it ON the Divvy bikes. So renting a Divvy bike means renting a bike covered in dog urine. Who wants that spraying on them while riding? Be aware – the Divvy bike you rent may be covered in dog piss.

      • Maria Boustead says:

        Joe, you should let Divvy know. Obviously it is in their best interests to have urine free bikes. I have found them to be very responsive to such issues.

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