CHICAGO — Ruperto Vergara was on vacation visiting family in Santa Ana Maya, Mexico, when he recognized a bike that may have taken the long way there.
It was a Divvy bike from Chicago parked near a grocery store.
“I just saw those four little stars at the bottom,” said Vergara, who was born and raised in Chicago. “It was our bike.”
He snapped a photo on his way back to his car to prove it.
“Somebody there had it, for sure. But I wasn’t going to stay and like, investigate,” Vergara said. “I just took a picture because I thought it was funny.”
Vergara’s post blew up among family and friends on Facebook and then on Twitter, with everyone wondering how its wheels spun across the border. Santa Ana Maya is over 2,000 miles southwest of Chicago.
“There’s nothing new you’ll see in Mexico,” Vergara joked. “And I’m used to seeing license plates here from the states, but never a bike before. Whoever got charged for it must be sitting with a big bill.”
A lost or stolen bike can cost a Divvy user $1,200 if it was left unattended, improperly docked and is still missing for a couple of days, a spokesperson said.
Divvy is aware of the bike in Mexico but company leaders do “not know how this bike ended up so far from home,” the spokesperson said.
“While we can’t blame this bike for heading south as Chicago’s winter sets in, the reality is that sometimes Divvy bikes are stolen and that impacts our riders in Chicago,” Divvy spokesperson Colin Wright said.
The bikeshare company, which was bought by Lyft in 2018, has long faced issues managing its vast fleet of 5,800 bikes, with many bikes reported stolen or broken, or popping up in precarious or peculiar places — including Lake Michigan.
Divvy riders are urged never to leave a bike unattended and to always make sure it is locked or docked properly when completing a ride, the spokesperson said.
“To ensure we keep theft levels low … our team constantly adapts to patterns of misuse by hardening our bikes, stations and software against theft,” Wright said.
Anyone whose spotted a stray Divvy bike is encouraged to tweet a photo of it to @DivvyBikes and adding the tag #Divvyphonehome, “so we can get our lonely bike back where it belongs,” Wright said.
Asked for hunches on how the bike got there, Vergara said, “I don’t know.”
“As long as I’m here, back home with my family and friends, I don’t care about anything else,” Vergara said.
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