Nice Ride MN Bike Share Program
Midtown Bike Center
2834 10th Ave S., Ste. #3, Minneapolis
Have you noticed the cool, lime green bikes all over downtown Minneapolis? Even though I haven’t ridden a bike in years, I’m tempted to jump on one of these bikes and tool around town one afternoon. It’s a fun, economic and easy way to navigate downtown and skip the expensive parking lots and garages. It’s all part of a new non-profit program called Nice Ride Minnesota.
Having been chosen as the top biking city in the U.S. by Bicycling Magazine, Minneapolis continues to wow local commuters, students, tourists and environmentally minded residents with its new bike share program, Nice Ride. Nice Ride launched in June of 2010 and has now celebrated its first year. The statistics are impressive after its inaugural year: more than 100,000 trips were taken in just 5 months of 2010. Bikes were put out on the streets again in April of 2011.
It’s a cheap and easy way to get around in the city whether you are going a few miles away or spending the day biking through the city. Nice Ride has more than 65 bike stations with more on the way. An additional 35 stations are in the works to be installed in Minneapolis and St. Paul by the end of the summer of 2011.
Here’s how it works: Subscribe for $5.00 a day, $30.00 a month or $60.00 a year using a credit card at one of the pay stations. Those subscribing for 24 hours will receive an unlocking code and will be charged a $50 deposit, which will be released once the subscription has ended and the bike(s) have been successfully returned. Monthly and yearly subscribers receive a Nice Ride key to insert in the locking dock on the bike.
Once you have a subscription you can take as many trips as you like. Each trip starts when you take a bike from the station and ends when you return a bike to the station. There is no additional fee above the cost of the subscription if each trip is no more than 30 minutes. You can continue using the bikes without additional trip fees by returning your bike to any of the stations and checking out another bike from any station location every 30 minutes.
If a trip is longer than 30 minutes additional fees will be incurred, starting at $1.50 for 31 to 60 minutes and going up to a maximum of $65.00 for the day. The point is to keep the bikes in circulation. Nice Ride encourages riders to keep returning the bikes as they arrive to their destination and taking a new bike to their next destination, and so on.
Some would-be riders may have reservations about riding on city streets, but the Nice Ride site offers plenty of helpful safety and traffic tips. There’s even a link to Bike Walk Twin Cities’ hour long courses with a Bike Walk Ambassador to help make the rider feel safe and confident.
These bikes are designed to fit most people wearing regular clothes, carrying ordinary stuff. Each bike is the same size, but the seat can be adjusted quite easily. While bike helmets are not required, they are recommended. Freewheel Bike offers a 20% discount off Trek Bike Helmets to Nice Ride subscribers. Simply bring in your key card or subscription receipt to receive the discount.
Nice Ride bike riders are ages 16 to 75 years old. Some bike for fun; others bike to get to work; and still others bike for convenience. The Nice Ride stations are conveniently located in business districts, as well as cultural and entertainment districts. Riders have access to the bikes 24 hours a day, 7 days week, April through November. Give it a try, even if it’s been years since you set foot to pedal. You might find that you still remember how to ride. After all, as the saying goes, it’s like riding a bike.
–Anna Berend is an attorney and the author of Motherly Law Blog. On Motherly Law, Anna writes about legal issues that affect families and offers tips and resources that pertain to those legal topics. On occasion, inspiration strikes and Anna writes about something totally unrelated to the law.You can find Anna at http://www.motherlylaw.com, on Facebook at Motherly Law and on Twitter @MotherlyLaw.