Women of Divvy | Emma

October is Women's Bike Month and to celebrate we're highlighting all the great women who help make Divvy everything it is today. Meet Emma she started with us in June as our inaugural Bike Train Operator.

What is the most interesting aspect of your job?

Being an instrumental part of an entirely new way to re-balance bikes and anticipate bike demand. I’m thankful to be outside constantly moving, interacting with and helping the public, preserving the environment, as well as promoting Divvy and cycling in general. Within Divvy, I like sharing experiences from the field, addressing and making repairs, as well as interacting with and learning from each arm of Divvy’s operations.

Did you bike before working at Divvy?

Yes, but it took three years and moving to Chicago to get back on my bike after being hit by a car while riding in New York City. Divvy was just getting started and helped me regain my comfort, courage, and happiness on a bike. My best friend (and now fiancee) taught me how to safely bike in the city, and I’ve been biking year-round to commute to work as well as for errands and recreational exercise ever since.

What is one thing you’ve learned about biking or bike share since working at Divvy?

How to succeed as well as fail at being my own boss; I operate off of my own knowledge and understanding of origin/destination transportation travel demand patterns combined with guidance from management, and not off of a computer-generated algorithm. I’m successful if I’m able to anticipate demand before demand occurs and move bikes from dormant areas into active ones, getting them back into service within an hour of being moved. However, I’m a failure if I incorrectly anticipate demand, either by location or load, and move bikes from a semi active zone to a quieter area.

What are your biggest concerns while biking? How do you mitigate them?

Motor vehicle drivers are unaware they are operating multi ton projectiles. I stay aware and alert of my own surroundings and move slowly which helps me stay safe and upright. I always choose a longer safer less trafficked route with more designated bike infrastructure than a shorter more direct route with heavier traffic.

Do you have favorite Divvy or biking adventure story?

Spending our anniversary exploring Oak Park on Divvy bikes last fall is probably my favorite Divvy biking adventure story because my fiancee proposed that evening on the train ride back to Chicago. Divvy made the day possible without a car because we were able to bounce around by bike between different parts of the city, and it exemplified one of our favorite activities to do together.

Where is your favorite area to cycle in?

The 606, it has become such a vital part of life in Chicago helping explore neighborhoods as well as showing others how fun and comfortable it is to bike in the city. Biking makes you feel fantastic both while you're riding as well as long afterwards, and Divvy makes it easy, convenient, and safe to get back on a bike.