Divvy Rollout Weekend 2013

Background Reading

Summary

The Divvy Trio of Daley Plaza

The Divvy Trio of Daley Plaza

Well Divvy is off to a lurching start and despite the hiccups it is always a good thing to see that “the help” is enthusiastic. You lose their respect as a business person and your enterprise is doomed. It is only as strong as the weakest link. Not to say that the people who interface with the general public are “weak“. Rather if you lose the personal touch with your customers you are nothing more than a faceless entity whose service has to make it on price point alone. But if the rest of the workers for Divvy are as knowledgeable and enthusiastic as this trio (we dubbed them the DTs of DP, the Divvy Trio of Daley Plaza) then everything is on a trajectory to make this experiment a success.

We watched as a group of four came into the docking station area having ridden around the Loop area and were now returning their bikes. They seemed pleased and were asking questions about where other docking stations could be found. There was a bit of difficulty in actually “docking” the bikes. It amounts to getting a good hard shove at the right angle to lodge the front wheel squarely into the docking intake area. Other than that everything works well.

We chatted about the hub generator that powers the LED array that serves as a front flasher (daytime running light) as well as the rear blinkers. The seats seemed cushioned and I like the markings on the seat stem to allow a person to quickly and accurately find the saddle height they likes best when returning to use the bikes at a later time.

Competition Is The Life Blood Of Capitalism, But…

All along the stretch of Chicago Lakefront Trail people were riding Divvy bikes. I noted a station just across from Millenium Park. How exactly is the private bike rental company supposed to compete in this market? Divvy has the luxury of setting a price that is probably lower than that of the private companies. I did note that several of the private companies offer docent-led outings and that would be worth the extra monies.

But according to the Divvy Trio these bikes are going to be outside year ’round. I’m not certain that makes a great deal of sense given the severities of our winters but time will tell.

Biking the Chicago Lakefront Trail

Despite the bright sun it was actually cold along the lakefront today. The wind was howling and I had not trouble appreciating the presence of the Zzipper Fairing on the front of my Easy Racers Gold Rush Replica (GRR). The Navy Pier area was busy but the bridge under Lake Shore Drive that takes you down to Grand was thick with pedestrians and cyclists alike. I cannot wait for the construction of the Flyover. This area needs a “real professional solution” not the “amateurish” version offered up by Steve Vance. If the money is there then pay for the darn thing. It would be worth its weight in good will and impressiveness for both local users and tourists alike.

This is a world class city. After spending the bucks we did on the Dearborn Street PBL we owe ourselves nothing less than a first class Flyover installation.

Training and Education Make Us Legitimate Road Users

I certainly hope the naysayers for education of the Urban Cycling population rethink their position. As we were approaching Malcolm X College I noticed a motorcycle training center along Damen. The place is called Ride Chicago Motorcycle School. This is exactly what is needed here and elsewhere to educate our riders on the best practices for using their bikes in urban settings.

There are still cyclists (like the one in the video) who ride through stop signs doing nearly 20 MPH. This is not a benign roll through a stop sign but rather something far more dangerous. There were pedestrians in the crosswalk when this took place and it is the single most decisive kind of activity that keeps cyclists from being taken seriously. I suspect the rider was a ChainLinker he had that “smell” about him. You know a hint of “arrogance, impatience with a soupçons of victim of abuse from vicious motorists”. I always wonder what guys like this will do come the Revolution when thousands of erstwhile cyclists on Divvy-quality bikes will be lumbering along at 8-10MPH and he wants to pass but simply cannot. Will he express a cyclists version of “road rage“?

I am thinking that your average Urban Cyclist has no idea exactly what he is embracing within the Movement. My guess is that Dutch-bike Heaven is not what he dreams of.

Cyclometer Info

Distance: 15.4 miles
Time: 2h 10m 13s