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Divvy Promotes Local Bike Shops

Divvy, Chicago’s bike-sharing program, has partnered with two local bike shops, Johnny Sprockets and On The Route Bicycles, this month to promote their #divvyred campaign.

“We see ourselves as a complement to local bike shops, not as competition,” Elliot Greenberger, marketing manager for Divvy, said via email.

Divvy’s main focus is to get more people in Chicago biking, and even though for some it may appear its presence would take business away from local bike shops, “we offer a very different set of services,” Greenberger said via email.

Local bike shop owner Kevin Womac of Boulevard Bikes thinks the Divvy program will have a positive impact on his shop, noting the more riders there are in the city, the better his business will do. Divvy is getting people who haven’t ridden in years back on a bike, which will drastically increase the biking population in the city, Womac told Chicagotalks.

“Simply seeing more bikes on the road is good for business,” Womac said.

He continued as the bike-sharing program becomes more popular, people will realize its easier to own their own bikes and begin to buy them.

Nick Wilson, a mechanic at Rapid Transit Cycle Shop, said the program, “has brought good attention to bikes overall in the city,” and HE’S recently had customers in his shop who rode over on Divvy rentals.

“People want to try bikes first before they purchase,” Wilson said, and Divvy gives them the opportunity to do this, which many local shops do not.

Although Wilson agrees the services offered through Divvy are very different from those of most local shops, he questions the city’s decision to take local bike shops off the official Chicago bike map and “replace” them with Divvy locations.

“They didn’t consult local bike shops about this decision,” Wilson said.

Representatives from the city’s transportation department did not return phone calls, but Greenberger of Divvy said his company, “was not a part of this decision.”

Greenberger wants to continue partnerships with local bike shops to promote their businesses and biking overall.

“The hope and expectation is that people will develop an interest in cycling and eventually want their own bike,” Greenberger said via email.

New York has a similar bike-sharing program, Citi Bike,  and local shops have benefitted from more cyclists on the road. According to New York City’s The Villager, shops have seen an increase of sales since the city rolled out the Citi Bike program.

Divvy plans to continue its partnerships with local bike shops not only through their #divvyred campaign, but also by encouraging Divvy users to purchase biking accessories from these local places as well.

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