CHICAGO (CBS) – Divvy bike stations are located all around the city of Chicago, where customers can rent a bike and dock it at another station when they are done. A slew of divvy bikes were piled up outside of CBS 2 Studios on Washington Street, which had CBS 2 wondering what the sharing service does in order to make sure the bikes are put back where they belong.
“We’re the lifeline. We distribute the bikes. Without us, Divvy couldn’t happen” says Mike Wilson, a rebalancer for Divvy.
Wilson is dispatched across the city and is sent instructions from an app notifying him where to go collect the bikes and where to drop them off.
“I push ‘arrive’ and it’s going to tell me to collect 23. I accept that. Now all I got to do is get it done,” he explains.
Wilson says he’s got it down to a science, collecting two bikes at a time and loading them into a van to haul them to a station where they are needed.
Wilson says unloading the bikes is the easiest part of his job, rolling down a ramp instead of going up. He says rain or shine, he and other rebalancers are out every day making sure bikes are collected and placed at Divvy stations where they are needed.
He says the only bad part of his job is the downtown Chicago traffic.
Divvy ridership varies wildly during the year. On winter days, 5,000 people borrow the bikes. In the summer, that number is more around 15,000 and can peak up to 25,000 on really nice days.
Every month, the bikes go through a ten-point safety check. Each Divvy bike has a colored tag near the seat to identify when it’s due for inspection.
Headquartes looks more like a bike hospital, where mechanics inspect and fix any problems they identify.
At busy locations such as Franklin and Monroe, Divvy counts on employees like Alondra Garcia for the overflow.
“I’m a bike valet,” says Alondra. “I can handle about 90 bikes, if it goes over 12-, that’s when I need a rebalancer.”
Divvy is about to celebrate its fifth anniversary. The anniversary comes at the time it hits the 15 million ride milestone.