A Chicagoan’s Guide to Winter Cycling ⛄

Every winter, Chicago teems with dedicated cyclists braving the slush and low temperatures. During the 2018 Polar Vortex, we had 199 winter warriors pedaling through bone-chilling temperatures as low as -54 degrees! Luckily, Divvy bikes are built to withstand all of Chicago’s seasons. Our bike checkers and technicians ensure all of our bikes are safe to ride and make repairs when needed. Here are some cold-weather biking tips to get you ready for riding in winter weather.

Be Flashy

Winter in Chicago means less daylight out on the bike lanes. Every Divvy bike has multiple reflectors and self-powered LED lights at the front and rear. The bright lights make sure you’re visible when riding in dark conditions. And they always stay on because they’re powered by your pedaling. You can never be too safe; though — we also recommend wearing bright colors and reflective gear to make yourself more visible to drivers.

Keep Your Extremities Warm

Throw on an extra pair of socks or a pair of thick wool ones underneath your winter boots. Get yourself a nice pair of waterproof, wind-resistant gloves so you don’t lose feeling in your fingers or your grip on the handlebars. Keep your noggin toasty with a helmet liner or a knitted hat under your helmet.

Wear Layers

Wear layers to keep warm — layer pants with thermals or athletic tights. Just don’t overdress, as you’ll warm up quickly when cycling. Using a helmet with less ventilation will help keep you warm against strong winds. Underneath your jacket, sport a moisture-wicking base layer.

Bike Seat Cover

Winter in Chicago means frosty bike seats, and that means a wet butt on the ride home. Start every ride on a clean, dry saddle with a Divvy bike seat cover. Don’t have one? A plastic shopping bag works just as well! They’re lightweight, they slip on easily, and they fit in your pocket.


Take a selfie with our candy cane bike using the hashtag #HoliDivvy for a chance to win a Divvy bike seat cover. For the #HoliDivvy bike seat cover contest official rules go here.

Plan Ahead

Before going out into Chicago’s elements, check the Divvy app to view the status of stations near you. Look out for the valet icon on the Divvy app for valet-serviced stations.


Safety is our number-one priority when it comes to our riders. Have a backup plan in case the weather conditions aren’t suitable for cycling. Keep your eyes peeled for patches of ice — if you encounter any, avoid sudden braking or swerving, as this can cause you to slide. Pedal lightly and be delicate on the brakes.

Let’s Get Social!

Post your cold-weather tips and photos with the hashtag #DivvyBikes. We’ll repost tips and select some of our favorite photos to be featured on our Instagram!