Bike sharing seems like it’s finally catching on in the States. While we don’t have the stomach for something as radical as Paris’ Vélib’ bike share program, the Twin Cities are among the first markets in the country to roll out a successful public / private bike share partnership. I couldn’t be more excited or proud of my hometown. Every time I see a bright green Nice Ride bike I get almost giddy. My girlfriend can attest.
Nice Ride MN works because it is pedestrian-focused (but why Nice Ride Minnesota, and not Nice Ride TC? We’re not biking to Bemidji!). The program is targeted at subscription based short-term rentals. A daily rental will cost you $5, plus any extra fees you incur during the day. However, for a yearly rate of $60 you can use the bikes as many times as you want. Take a bike and go, as long as you return it to another station within a half hour. This is easy to do if you have a specific destination; there are Nice Ride stations all over Minneapolis and St. Paul, and they are quickly multiplying.
The target market for these bikes is the most exciting part of the program. They fit perfectly as the missing layer of urban living. A short bike ride from your apartment to the grocery store, or a quick trip to the nearest light rail stop is made so much easier with Nice Ride. Just leave the bike at the nearest station once you arrive. It’s a pleasant alternative to getting in your car, or a welcome option for someone without a car.