Nice Riders

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May 21, 2014 // UPDATED 2:15 pm - June 3, 2014
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie
A quick guide to the Twin Cities bike-sharing system

(Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct information about membership costs.) 

The bike-sharing program Nice Ride has grown from 65 stations in Minneapolis when it made its debut four years ago to 170 locations throughout the city and St. Paul for the 2014 season.

Nice Ride has about 4,000 one-year members and several hundred people who have signed up for the new 30-day memberships, said Anthony Ongaro, the organization’s marketing director.

The 30-day memberships allow people to take an unlimited amount of 60-minute trips for $15.

“It’s a flexible way to have full membership benefits at a much lower entry level price, so we’re really excited about what it’s providing for our members,” Ongaro said.

The annual membership costs $65. Students get a discount and can sign up for a one-year subscription for $55. Free trip times have been extended to one hour for members.

For many members, Nice Ride bikes are a convenient way to connect to public transit and make trips to downtown.

John Heimkes IV, a web developer at Ackmann & Dickenson Inc., said he uses a Nice Ride as his primary bike.

“If I miss a bus and don’t want to wait, I’ll hop on a bike to get to and from work. I work in the North Loop, so to get to all the awesome food trucks on Nicollet also requires a quick nice ride,” he said. “Overall I’ve had great experiences with them. I’m not a bike snob at all, so I can’t really come up with anything that should be improved. I’d just appreciate if the city would fix the roads to make riding less of a pain, literally.”

Jacob Brown, a program assistant for the city’s Public Works department, has had an annual Nice Ride subscription since 2012. The city offers employees a $30 discount on annual memberships.  

He bike commutes to City Hall from Dinkytown, where he recently moved after living in Falcon Heights.

“Being close to a NiceRide station was one of the key factors in my apartment hunting these past few months,” he said. “At any rate, my experience has been very positive and I talk up the program as much as I can and encourage friends and strangers to give it a go.”

Here’s a quick primer on using the bright green bikes:

>> How it works:

— Membership: $65 for one-year membership; $55 for one-year student membership; $15 for 30-day membership
— One-day pass: $6
— For more info: www.niceridemn.org/pricing 

>> Trip ideas:

Checkout niceridemn.org/explore­_by_bike for fun trip ideas. You can print out maps for several trip ideas, including tours of the bridges over the Mississippi, notable architecture downtown, public art, urban wildlife sites and good spots for beer, among others.

Another site, “Hidden Wonders in the Minneapolis Parks,” at parks.niceridemn.org offers more trip ideas to cool places within the city’s park system, including a list of great picnic spots and places to take in the city’s skyline.

>> More info

To find Nice Ride station locations on your smartphone, download Spotcycle.