While we wait for the last few weeks of winter to give way to spring, glorious spring, we wanted to give you a sense of how we tackle winter in three of our coldest cities — Boston, Chicago and Toronto.

Equipped with special tools like dock-clearing shovels, our field teams are pros at clearing snow. And they waste no time doing it. “The next day [after a snowstorm] it might be above zero and 2,000 people might want and expect to use the system,” said Scott Hancock, Bike Share Toronto’s GM, an experienced winter rider who grew up 200 miles north of the City in a much frostier town.

“I was a member of Hubway before I worked for Motivate,” Hubway’s GM, Emily Gates, explained. “[One winter], there were six feet of snow on the ground and the Hubway stations were clear. I was very impressed.” (See the pic.) To this day, Hubway is the only form of transportation Emily uses, even in 12 degree weather. But even she has her limits: “If it’s below 12, I’m pretty ok to not bike,” she laughed.

Our environmentally-tested stations only close in the most severe weather, typically when 12 or more inches of snow have accumulated, making it too difficult to dock the bikes. But not all riders are deterred by snowbanks: when a recent blizzard forced Hubway to suspend service for 24 hours, 153 customers tried to use the system.

Our winter ridership is rising and holds steady even on the coldest/snowiest days. Divvy’s slowest day this winter still saw 1,200 trips, and its winter ridership has nearly doubled every year for three consecutive years. Hubway served 4,000 rides during the most severe February it has endured and saw a doubling in the number of trips from last January to this one, prompting significantly expanded winter ops.

Likewise, Bike Share Toronto’s ridership hovers around 400 trips even on inclement weather days, and it retains 40% of its summer ridership through winter. “The bike is safe to ride even in extreme conditions,” Scott explained, and it’s become “a noble thing to use the bikes on colder days.” (Check out the hashtag #VikingBiking to see what he means.)

Divvy launched the “Winter Olympics” a couple years ago, and bestowed gold and silver medals on Chicagoans who racked up the most winter miles. “Once people see how great it is to be able to Divvy a mile and how much time that saves them and how easy it is, people get addicted,” Michael Critzon, Divvy’s Deputy GM, added, and they quickly learn that “with the right gear, you are warmer riding a bike than you are standing out at a busstop.”

Winter Ops in Our Coldest Cities — Motivate

Winter Ops in Our Coldest Cities

While we wait for the last few weeks of winter to give way to spring, glorious spring, we wanted to give you a sense of how we tackle winter in three of our coldest cities — Boston, Chicago and Toronto.

Equipped with special tools like dock-clearing shovels, our field teams are pros at clearing snow. And they waste no time doing it. “The next day [after a snowstorm] it might be above zero and 2,000 people might want and expect to use the system,” said Scott Hancock, Bike Share Toronto’s GM, an experienced winter rider who grew up 200 miles north of the City in a much frostier town.

“I was a member of Hubway before I worked for Motivate,” Hubway’s GM, Emily Gates, explained. “[One winter], there were six feet of snow on the ground and the Hubway stations were clear. I was very impressed.” (See the pic.) To this day, Hubway is the only form of transportation Emily uses, even in 12 degree weather. But even she has her limits: “If it’s below 12, I’m pretty ok to not bike,” she laughed.

Our environmentally-tested stations only close in the most severe weather, typically when 12 or more inches of snow have accumulated, making it too difficult to dock the bikes. But not all riders are deterred by snowbanks: when a recent blizzard forced Hubway to suspend service for 24 hours, 153 customers tried to use the system.

Our winter ridership is rising and holds steady even on the coldest/snowiest days. Divvy’s slowest day this winter still saw 1,200 trips, and its winter ridership has nearly doubled every year for three consecutive years. Hubway served 4,000 rides during the most severe February it has endured and saw a doubling in the number of trips from last January to this one, prompting significantly expanded winter ops.

Likewise, Bike Share Toronto’s ridership hovers around 400 trips even on inclement weather days, and it retains 40% of its summer ridership through winter. “The bike is safe to ride even in extreme conditions,” Scott explained, and it’s become “a noble thing to use the bikes on colder days.” (Check out the hashtag #VikingBiking to see what he means.)

Divvy launched the “Winter Olympics” a couple years ago, and bestowed gold and silver medals on Chicagoans who racked up the most winter miles. “Once people see how great it is to be able to Divvy a mile and how much time that saves them and how easy it is, people get addicted,” Michael Critzon, Divvy’s Deputy GM, added, and they quickly learn that “with the right gear, you are warmer riding a bike than you are standing out at a busstop.”