Chicago is starting to catch up with the rest of the world. When in Paris, we came across several commuter bike rental stations that sadly we could not use without a "chip" in our credit card to check out. This summer Chicago launched Divvy Bikes, a bike rental program across the city paid for by tax dollars of people like yours truly.
The premise is that people will rent a bike for a short commute, say to get from the Metro commuter train station to their office. There are two options for payment: 1. Annual Pay ($75) or 2. 24-Hour Pass ($7). For both rental systems, you're allowed to check a bike out and rent it to any other station within a 30 minute increment. If you're checked out for more than 30 minutes at a time, you pay a fee ($2 for each additional 30 minutes). However, for both options, you're allow to check out as many times as needed. So technically, if you had to get to Point B from Point A, you could stop along the way at as many stations as needed without paying anything extra. Got it? Confusing, I know.
You pay with credit card and are given a code on a printed receipt. You punch the code into a bike lock (within five minutes of receiving it; otherwise it expires) and away you ride.
Our biker gang of six checked out bikes on fine day and went for a ride to and along the lakefront bike path. The bikes have a "basket" up front complete with an elastic band to secure a briefcase. They only have three speeds and the first is a joke (it's so easy your legs pedal fast and you look like an idiot). The majority of the time I rode in the third speed; but that doesn't mean much because you can't go very fast.
Not too shabby of a view for lunch, right? The only bad part was returning to work. Next time you're in town, consider a Divvy! Just please be smart enough not to ride on the sidewalk. Deal?