Chicago Divvy bikes are borderline military vehicles

Some people drive to work. Others take a train. For me, once it gets above 40 degrees, I start heading to work in a tank.

Don’t get me wrong, I dabble with the other modes of transportation. During winter and “thaw,” I’m right there with you riding the bus or crammed in on the Red Line. This makes me feel handcuffed by the cold weather. In January, when there’s snow on the seats of the bikes, I’ll look at the full Divvy stations the way a guy who traded in his Corvette for a minivan must feel; I’ll have this Tim Allen from Home Improvement moment of, “Need more power!” 

But once late-April/early May hit, oh babay, now it’s Divvy time. No more bumper-to-bumper traffic, no more shoulder-to-shoulder spacing. That bike lane is ultimate freedom. Open space. Fresh air in the lungs. And a burning sensation in your legs.

Because the Divvy isn’t your Lance Armstrong enthusiast’s $2,500 bicycle. You can’t pick this thing up with the bend of a pinkie. No, riding a Divvy is the equivalent of doing a squat workout with Arnold Schwarzenegger circa 1974.

I struggle even calling it a bicycle. A “bicycle” goes with phrases like, “joy ride,” or, “I rode 25 miles today.” If you rode 25 miles on a Divvy, your thighs would burst through your jeans. Thinking about going to a Spin class or Soul Cycle after a day of Divvy? Yeah right. That’s like asking someone who just ran a marathon to go for a quick 5k run.

Last summer, when I was back in my hometown for a weekend, I hopped on my dad’s bike and didn’t even recognize the experience. I felt 100x faster, lighter, it was like taking off ankle weights, lowering the rim to 7-feet, now all of a sudden I was LeBron James.

And I love every second of riding a Divvy. On the street or a path. I’ll talk to people who are afraid to ride them on the streets. “The lake shore is ok, but don’t take me on Halsted. Too many cars around.”

divvyI’m always shocked by this hesitance. In my opinion, there is nothing to fear on a Divvy. YOU become the semi-truck in the equation. Cars bounce right off. If you’re swapping paint with a Prius or Mazda Miata, you’ll keep pedaling while that car goes tumbling onto the sidewalk. Hitting a deer can total a car, so imagine what a Divvy can do. Even Hummers are like, “Eh, I’m not drifting into that bike lane.”

If a motorcycle gang drives by, it’s loud, but nothing to worry about. If a gang of Divvy bikes goes by you immediately look up to the sky. “Are we under attack?

Before Divvy, there was nothing tougher than a biker bar. A bunch of people decked out in leather, sunglasses, bandannas. Fleet of Harleys parked outside. But compared to a Divvy bar? That’s nothing. A Divvy bar makes biker bars look like coffee shops in Wicker Park.

*There is no such thing as a Divvy bar and, if there were, it would likely serve milk and cookies. And bags of ice for swollen hamstrings. 

The only thing to fear on a Divvy is another Divvy. If two Divvy bikes collide, there’s an immediate, Hollywood-esque explosion.

What are you waiting for? 

Just like I don’t understand people’s hesitance to take one of these borderline military vehicles to the streets, I really don’t understand why more people don’t sign up for the yearly pass. It’s $99 for a year of Divvy vs. what, $100 a month for the crowded, sweaty bus/El pass? I could do a whole post on why I love Divvy just from the cheap/squirrel side of me perspective.

Plus they’ve got this app now where you don’t even have to carry around a key fob anymore. Just tap the station, get a code, punch that in and your good.

Side note – I think “fob” is one of the biggest ego trip words out there. There’s no way to say “fob” without sounding snooty. It’s like “château” or “faux pas.”

And if you feel self-conscious about being on a bike, having on a helmet, worry the whole thing will feel nerdy, geeky, like Steve Carell in the 40-year-old virgin, whatever, just remember you’re not really on a bike. This is a tank. Rev your engines* and watch the roads clear out.

*In the Divvy world, “rev your engines” means “ding the bell.” 

So for the rest of April, then through May and June, I think I’m going to be alternating every-other between writing advice posts and whatever-this-would-be-called types of posts. To subscribe to the blog please enter your e-mail in this box below. See you next Wednesday!

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