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Divvy Members are 80 Percent Male, Rider Data Shows

By DNAinfo Staff on February 11, 2014 2:58pm  | Updated on February 11, 2014 6:58pm

 A Divvy bike-sharing station near the Western Brown Line.
A Divvy bike-sharing station near the Western Brown Line.
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DNAinfo file/Patty Wetli

CHICAGO — Navy Pier and Millennium Park are the most popular stops for Divvy Bike riders, who tend to be male.

That's what a preliminary analysis of 750,000 rides using the city's bike-sharing service in 2013 shows.

Divvy released the data as a challenge to the public to create graphics or interactive features to show how people are using the bikes.

About 403,000 of total rides were taken by Divvy members. Of those rides by members, nearly 80 percent of the rides, 318,596, were taken by men. The median age of a Divvy member is 34.

Elliot Greenberger, a Divvy spokesman, said the gap between male and female riders was expected in the first few months since its launch.

"It's basically in line with other bike shares," Greenberger said. "It's male, and that applies to biking in general, not just bike shares."

Overall, 69 percent of Divvy members are men.

Divvy will launch an outreach program this summer to attract more women riders, though the details are still being hashed out, Greenberger said.

Annie Byrne, who is planning to open BFF Bikes in Bucktown, a shop that will focus on women riders, said she is encouraged by Divvy's plans to reach out to women. She also said that women will get used to Divvy as the city as a whole gets more accustomed to the program and biking in general.

"One of the main reasons about why people are hesitant to commute are because of safety concerns," Byrne said. "I wouldn't be surprised if that [the gender divide] starts to tilt as Divvy becomes more widespread and infrastructure improves."

The data also shows:

• At the Millennium Park station, 17,272 bikes were taken from the docks, more than any other location in the 300-station system. The second most popular starting point is Navy Pier's Streeter Drive and Illinois Street station, where 16,710 bikes were checked out. On the flipside, only 33 bikes were taken from the station at Calumet Avenue and 35th Street, the lowest of any station.

Along with reaching out to women, Divvy will also seek to increase ridership in South Side neighborhoods where Divvy stations have been installed more recently than others, Greenberger said.

• In terms of destinations, Navy Pier ranked tops, with 18,544 bikes being docked there. Millennium Park was a close second at 18,395. The least popular destination is at Cottage Grove Avenue and 47th Street, where only 30 Divvy riders ended their trips.

The map below shows the most popular Divvy destinations (red) and least popular destinations (blue):

• The average Divvy ride is just more than 12 minutes long.

Divvy is taking entries for its Data Challenge until March 11 with the winners in five categories getting a prize package that includes two Bern helmets and gift certificates for two memberships.

The released data isn't anything foreign to the program and is used "to better meet demands" by "rebalancing" bikes throughout the network everyday, Greenberger said.

"The goal of this challenge is really to celebrate these first 750,000 trips," Greenberger said.