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Divvy Bikes: Everything You Need to Know Before Renting

By: // Updated: November 25, 2020

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If you’re visiting a big city and don’t have a car, you have limited options for travel. You could take public transportation, use a rideshare service, or walk. Or, you can take advantage of a growing trend: bike sharing.

Today, we’re going to review Divvy, a bike sharing system based in Chicago, Illinois. We’ll cover everything you need to know about the Divvy app, from how to get started to how to pay for your rental. By the end of this article, you should have a clear understanding of how to use Divvy Bikes and whether doing so is worth your while.


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What Are Divvy Bikes?

Divvy is a bike share system that was created as part of a joint effort between the Chicago Department of Transportation and Lyft. Chicagoans and visitors to the city who are interested in biking can visit a Divvy station to rent a bicycle. There are more than 600 docking stations across Chicagoland, offering people access to more than 6,000 bikes.

How Do Divvy Bikes Work?

Across the city of Chicago, docking stations host bikes. If you would like to take a ride, you can purchase a pass that allows you to access a bike from Divvy’s fleet. Once you have a pass, you can unlock a nearby bike and begin riding. When your ride is complete, you’ll return the bike to a docking station.

​One of the most beneficial aspects of this Chicago bike program is that you don’t need to return the bike to the same station you picked it up from. So, imagine you’re a tourist who would like to bike along the Chicago Riverwalk. You can pick up a bike at one end of the river and bike to the other end, returning it to a different nearby station when you’re done.

Getting Started With Divvy Bikes

The membership sign up page on the Divvy Bikes site

If you’re interested in using the Divvy bike share program, take a closer look at how you can get started.

Setting Up an Account

If you would like to take a single ride or buy a day pass, you can do so either from your account or by visiting a kiosk at your local station. But, if you’re a Chicagoan and would like an annual membership, you’re going to need to create an account.

You can do so either on the Divvy website or from the iOS or Android mobile apps. Once there, you’ll provide basic information about yourself and your preferred payment method. Then, you can purchase an annual membership for $99 that grants you access to unlimited 45-minute rides across Evanston and Chicago for the year.

Downloading and Using the App

As mentioned, Divvy has a mobile app fo iOS and Android devices. The app grants you access to everything you need to use the ride sharing service. For instance, the app can use your location to find a station near you. You can also purchase ride passes directly from your phone, allowing you to quickly pick up a bike when you arrive at the station.

Career Opportunities

In addition to providing an accessible form of transportation, Divvy also creates career opportunities for Chicagoans looking to earn extra income.

For instance, one of the available roles is that of a Station Valet Attendant. These individuals are stationed at kiosks and help customers get started on their rideshare journey. You’ll also help customers find stations near their destination.

You could also work as a Driver/Rebalancer. In this role, you’re in charge of relocating bikes throughout the system. Bikes tend to overflow at particularly popular areas. This creates a problem, as it not only means there is nowhere to store the bikes, but there is also a shortage of bikes in other parts of the city. As a Driver, you’ll help relocate bikes and ensure they’re working properly.

Be sure to continually monitor Divvy’s job listing website, which provides an ongoing list of all of the opportunities the company has available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still wondering whether Divvy is right for you? Consider some of these frequently asked questions about the service.

1. How do I find Divvy Bikes?

Divvy offers a tool that allows you to find a station near you. This tool is available both on www.divvybikes.com and on the mobile app. Additionally, Divvy has attendants working at every station who can help you find the docking station nearest your final destination.

2. How do I rent the bikes?

Begin by purchasing your ride credit. If you have an annual membership, you’ll have a member key that will unlock any of the bikes in the fleet. All you need to do is walk up to a bike, unlock it, and start riding.

If you are not an annual member, you’ll need to buy a pass. You can buy a pass ahead of time on your phone or by visiting a kiosk at one of the Divvy bike sharing stations. When you buy your pass, you’ll receive a ride code. Locate a bike, enter the code, and the bike will unlock for your ride.

A single ride costs $3 per trip. An Explorer Pass, which is essentially a 24-hour pass, is $15 per day. And an Annual Membership is $99 for the entire year.

3. How do I pay for my rental?

You’ll need to have a credit card on file to purchase a ride credit or membership. Your card will be charged automatically for the ride credit. If you don’t adhere to the terms of the ride — by keeping the bike out longer than the allotted time, for example — your credit card will be charged an additional usage fee.

The bikes are designed explicitly for short trips. A single ride lasts for 30 minutes. If you have an Annual Membership, you can keep the bike out for 45 minutes. Limiting these trips helps ensure that all customers have access to a bike. If you exceed the allotted time, you’ll pay additional usage fees depending on how much longer you keep the bike for.

4. Where are Divvy Bikes located?

Divvy is Chicago’s bike share system. It is only available in Chicago and surrounding suburbs. Nearly the entire city is covered, with the exception of:

  • Belmont Cragin
  • Beverly
  • Edison Park
  • Pullman
  • Rosedale

Because the Divvy bike-share program was specifically coordinated between Lyft and the Chicago Department of Transportation, it’s unclear whether Divvy will become a transportation option in other major U.S. cities.

5. Can you tell me more about the bikes I’d be riding?

The "Meet the Bike" webpage on the Divvy Bikes site

Divvy bikes are standard bicycles that require you to pedal. They do not have a motor or any other electric features. The bikes are distinguishable thanks to their bright blue color. The bikes are designed with a sturdy aluminum frame that has a low center of gravity so that your ride is more stable. The seats are adjustable and rain-resistant.

The bikes also come with self-powered LED lights and reflectors, helping to keep you safe while riding. The lights turn on automatically. There is also a safety bell on the left handlebar to alert others to your presence. And there’s a secure basket on the front of the bike where you can put your belongings.

6. Does Divvy offer any special advice before getting started?

Divvy offers a few riding tips for before you get started. Among other things, the company encourages you to stay off sidewalks. Instead, ride in designated bike lanes. Always obey traffic signals and stop for pedestrians, just as you would in a car.

Are Divvy Bikes Worth Using?

If you live in or are visiting Chicago, you may want to consider using Divvy bikes. Because you can pick up and drop off bikes at any station, the bike-sharing program is the perfect alternative to walking, using public transportation, or relying on taxis and other ride-sharing services. The price of the trips are affordable and you even get a good bit of exercise in the process.

If you’re looking to make a bit of money on the side, working for Divvy is a viable option. The work isn’t terribly demanding, and you can set your own hours, making it an excellent option for those looking to earn a bit of income on the side.

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