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Check out Alan's advice to bike commuters

Updated: May 24

Earlier this month I was in Minneapolis visiting with friends and had the chance to use the bike sharing program dubbed Nice Ride. The system is one of the older ones among U.S. cities starting in 2010 and is modeled on the program in Montreal. Over 409,000 trips were taken in 2014 which is remarkable given that the bikes are not available during winter months. An extensive network of bike paths winds around the numerous lakes in the Twin Cities metro area, making it easy (and safe) to get to many destinations.

Bike sharing programs are popping up all over the U.S. At least 78 cities now have programs or plan to offer one (Source: The programs are usually intended for individuals riding for pleasure (tourists) as well as daily commuters. But what is it really like to use a shared bike for your daily commute? 

We spoke recently with Colin Robertson who rides to work using Divvy - Chicago's bike sharing system. Colin tells us about the benefits and challenges of this approach. 

Why did you start bike commuting?

I was working from home for about six months and I got used to the non-transportation budget. I saw that Divvy was $75 for the year and would be a super easy way to stay active and not pay too much for transportation costs. 

What do you like about bike sharing?

I don't need to worry about locking up the bike. If I ride to work and the weather is bad  I don't need to worry about leaving my bike downtown. Similarly, if the weather is bad in the morning, I can take public transportation to work and ride home if the weather improves. 

Are there any downsides to bike sharing?

It's a heavy bike. Also, other bikers, especially on the lakefront trail, treat you differently. They see you as an annoyance. Another downside is the need to be cognizant of rush hour and peak demand. All the bikes can be taken or conversely there may be no parking spots when you are finished riding. 

Tell us about you commute?

My commute is about 25 minutes. I ride from Lincoln Park to a tech incubator in River North.

I've been using the bike share since last fall.

Can you tell us about your company at the tech incubator?

I run a website, Willpowered, where I teach on-line exercises on the science of willpower which includes productivity, diet and exercise. Anything you use your will power for we talk about.

Divvy Fun Facts

4760 bikes and 476 stations (the most in North America)

  • 3.2 million miles ridden

  • Divvy bikes are painted "Chicago blue", with the exception of one "unicorn bike": a bright red bike, dubbed #Divvyred

Source: Wikipedia

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