Exploring the City with Divvy Bikes

Christina Pirrotta gives some tips about Divvy bikes on campus and around Chicago.


Marta Bakula

Divvy installed eight new stations around Hyde Park in the spring, offering discounts to University students who purchase annual bike memberships.

By Christina Pirrotta

I noticed Divvy bikes the moment I stepped onto campus my first year, but I didn’t realize their incredible potential till that first spring quarter. A couple friends and I had gone to the Cubs game and decided it would be fun to bike back to Hyde Park. We got day passes and took our time leisurely biking along the lakefront, past Chicago favorites such as the Lincoln Park Zoo, Navy Pier, Millennium Park, and the Shedd Aquarium.

When I came back to school as a second-year (now living in an off-campus apartment), I decided I would purchase an annual Divvy membership. UChicago has four Divvy stations on campus and a few more in the surrounding blocks. Since there is a Divvy station right outside my apartment, I wanted to save some time by biking—rather than walking—to the gym, to the libraries, or to my research lab.

When I came back to Chicago this summer, I decided to explore the untapped potential of the Divvy membership. While Divvy bikes aren’t the greatest bikes, they are still good for cross training. With Ratner gym being closed for the summer, being able to Divvy was a nice switch up from always running or playing soccer. More importantly, Divvy bikes provided the perfect mode of outdoor transportation to explore different parts of Chicago. The lakefront trail has both walking and biking paths and the views are breathtaking. It takes anywhere between 40 minutes to an hour to get to downtown Chicago from Hyde Park and you can choose to keep biking north (I like Montrose Beach!) or you can bike into the city.

Biking has allowed me to explore so many new neighborhoods and parts of Chicago. It’s also such a great way to hang out with friends in a social distanced manner. I love biking downtown and then exploring the Chicago food scene by enjoying takeout with friends at various locations on the lakefront (a personal favorite is right outside the Shedd Aquarium, which has stunning views of the city).

I wanted to share a few Divvy Tips for First-Time Riders:

  1. You can either download the Divvy app or rent bikes using the kiosks available at each station.

  2. Bring a bag with a water bottle, some hand sanitizer, and—if you have one—a portable phone charger just in case. You can easily store your bag in the front of any Divvy bike, since each bike has a basket and a bungee cord that you can use to secure your bag. 

  3. You can use the code bikeUChicago and your UChicago email to get a discounted $75 annual student Divvy membership which gives you unlimited 45-minute bike rides all year.

  4. If you’re biking more than 2.5 hours or plan on making a lot of stops, try out the $15 day pass which gives you unlimited 3-hour rides!

  5. If you’re renting a bike ($3 for 30 minutes), as long as your bike ride is under 50 minutes, it’s cheaper than redocking your bike at the 30 min mark and paying $3 for another ride

  6. Divvy recently released electric bikes (or e-bikes), and in Hyde Park the e-bikes cost the same as a classic Divvy bike. You also can lock up e-bikes at any open bike rack (and not just a Divvy station!). Just don’t try biking downtown, since you’ll start getting charged per minute right after you pass Oakwood Beach (around 40th).

Divvying is one of my favorite ways to explore the city while getting a little exercise (and sun!) while catching up with friends. I highly recommend that you try out Divvy bikes if you have a chance.