Whether you live in Chicago, are visiting us again, or are experiencing the “Windy City” for the first time, we are looking forward to welcoming you to the terrific National Shared Mobility Summit with our 580+ bikeshare stations and sharing some of what we’ve learned from working in this exciting new industry.

Bikesharing has become an essential part of our public transit system in the world’s most exciting and innovative cities. In New York, for example, Citi Bike is now regularly carrying more than 60,000 people a day. The program has already provided 10 million trips in 2016 alone, putting it on par with more traditional, long-established modes like ferries and the city’s green taxi program.

Like much in the shared mobility world, this has all happened in the blink of an eye. In 2001, there were just four modern bikeshare systems in the world. Today there are well over 1,100, with more than 58,000 bikes across North America alone.

Divvy launched in Chicago in 2013 with 3,000 bikes. Today we have nearly 6,000. Chicago is a great city for bikeshare. We were recently named the #1 city for cycling in the U.S. by Bicycling Magazine.  Our Divvy system has 35,000 annual members, hundreds of thousands of “casual” riders, and the largest service area of any bike share in North America.

That’s right, our system now covers over 100 square miles of the city as well as the adjacent suburbs of Evanston and Oak Park. But enough about us. 🙂

If you’d like to explore Chicago by bike or learn a bit more about pressing bike share topics (which we know you do), here are some of our best tips for the summit:

1. Sign up for the Divvy Bike Tour

On Monday, October 7 from 1:00-4:00 PM, representatives from the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) will be leading riders along the city’s “606”. The 606 is an elevated park built on unused railroad embankment through the northwest side of Chicago, and it’s a great way to experience a number of Chicago neighborhoods. The path runs three miles east-to-west, and we’ll be touching on both the history and significance of the trail. Registration is limited, so sign up here. (Ed Note: tour is sold out – sorry folks!)

2. Check Out Three Ways to Hear More About Bikeshare

At this year’s summit, there are three especially exciting sessions that will cover the latest collaborations taking place across sectors to make bikeshare accessible to as many people as possible:

  • New Transportation Solutions — Bringing Bikesharing to All: Smart Bikes and E-Bikes: John MacArthur of Portland State University will moderate a discussion between leading providers about the next-generation of bikeshare technology innovations.
  • Expanding Access for All – Bikeshare Equity Experiments: Ted Graves of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) will be moderating a fantastic group of practitioners (including our very own Sean Wiedel of CDOT) about how bikeshare systems can meet the needs of all residents. In Chicago, we have the Divvy for Everyone (D4E) Program, which provides $5 memberships for low-income residents. It’s been a big success, with over 1,800 signups in the past 15 months. We’re looking forward to hearing more about what other cities are doing to make bikeshare more equitable!
  • How to Foster Winning Public-Private Partnerships: Justin Ginsburgh from Motivate (the company that operates Divvy in partnership with CDOT) will discuss how P3s have helped bike share grow and thrive, and how sponsorships from companies including Citi, Nike and now Ford, are helping bike share programs get even bigger.

3. Ride Divvy On Your Own

If you’d like to give Divvy a try on your own, you’re in luck! Motivate (operator of Divvy as well as other cities across the country such as NYC, DC, Boston, and Bay Area) is running its first “Women’s Bike Month” during October, and we’re offering free 24-hour pass codes here on our website. Enter your email address and we’ll send you a gift code good through the end of the month.

You can then walk up to any of our station kiosks or download Transit App, select “Get a Bike,” and enter the code when prompted. You’ll still need a valid credit or debit card for any usage fees incurred. You can find station locations at DivvyBikes.com/stations or by downloading Transit App.

Well, that’s it for now. If you have any questions, please email us at [email protected] or follow us on Facebook or Twitter. We’re excited to see you!

 — The Divvy Team and the Chicago Department of Transportation

Image credit: Danny Navarro