LOGAN SQUARE — Divvy bike share stations have officially landed in Logan Square, and some bike shop owners are excited about it.
Boulevard Bikes owner Kevin Womac thinks that for those people who don't own bikes, Divvy might be the experience that nudges them into buying one.
"I think it's pretty great," said Womac. "I think people that don't own bikes might discover them, and say 'Hey, I like riding bikes,' and then buy one" from his shop at 2535 N. Kedzie Blvd.
He also thinks it may provide a boost to tourism in the neighborhood.
"Logan Square is known for good dining and stuff, and maybe someone staying in the downtown Hilton, you know, may take the train up and then bike the neighborhood," he said.
A little ways south in Humboldt Park, West Town Bikes executive director Alex Wilson said he, too, hopes Divvy will act like a "gateway drug" for bike riding in Humboldt Park.
"I'm excited that it's extending further out from the Loop area," said Wilson, whose activist group promotes bicycle riding.
But in a bike-centric neighborhood where many own their own bikes, will Divvy see much use?
Scott Wastyn, owner of Oscar Wastyn Bikes, 2634 W. Fullerton Ave., isn't so sure.
"In Logan Square, I don't think too many people are going to use them," he said. "Everybody's got bikes here."
Indeed, the new Divvy Station on the corner of Milwaukee and California avenues didn't appear to be getting too much action on Monday afternoon, though bicyclist after bicyclist could be seen riding by on their own bikes.
"Close to the lake front I can see it taking off, but around here I don't know," Wastyn said.
West Town Bike's Wilson said he is concerned that users will need a credit card or a debit card with a minimum balance to check out a Divvy bike.
"How accessible it is to low-income people is something Divvy will have to figure out," Wilson said.
On its web site, Divvy says the company is "working on a number of solutions for individuals that do not have bank accounts to be able to access Divvy."
"At present, however, you are required to have a debit or credit card to use the Divvy bike share system," the company says.
But in one other important way, Divvy bikes has been a huge boon to Humboldt Park and West Town Bikes, which works to increase bicycle riding with affordable bikes for under-served communities.
They also have after-school programs that allow young people to learn to become bicycle mechanics and build their own bikes.
"West Town Bikes is very excited about Divvy because some of the youth were hired by Divvy to put together their bikes and are part of their street teams," Wilson said.
As members of the street teams they will help maintain the bikes and the stations, and as the stations roll out they will continue to help assemble the new bikes.
"So we're very excited about that," he said.