Alright, I know my last post was about biking in Minneapolis, but let’s be honest, it’s a great topic.
Last summer, Minneapolis was blanketed with Nice Ride bixi bikes and bike kiosks. Spearheaded in 2008 by Mayor RT Rybak and the City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation, the nonprofit public bike share program aims to “permanently change the way people experience and perceive [Minneapolis], as well as the way they experience and perceive transportation.” As a strong advocate for active lifestyles and urban conveniences, I was thrilled to see rapid adoption of the Nice Ride system. I started seeing bright green bikes everywhere!
I began bragging to friends in other cities about Minneapolis’ awesome new bike system, but I didn’t actually learn how to use Nice Ride or get a subscription myself. As a bike commuter with my own bike, I didn’t think there was any reason to use Nice Ride. Recently though, I learned that there are plenty of reasons to get a subscription and that Nice Rides are indeed AWESOME.
Last weekend my cousin, Alex, was visiting from out of town. We wanted to go to the LynLake Street Festival (which was a blast by the way). Naturally, I was planning to take my bike. What about Alex though? I suggested we get her a Nice Ride and she was totally on board. There are two bike kiosks within a block and a half of my apartment and I knew there are several kiosks near Lynlake. We looked up the details on how to rent a bike online and figured out that in order to rent a Nice Ride bike you need to have a subscription (you can subscribe for 24 hrs, a month, or a year) and then you can ride for 0-30 minutes at no additional cost and minimal fees apply after that. (Nice Ride bikes are meant for transportation, not long joy rides). Since I figured this might be useful to have for future visitors this summer, I opted to buy the year subscription (which is currently on sale through May 31st for only $40).
The only issue we encountered with purchasing the yearly subscription is that you have to wait for your access card to arrive in the mail before using it. Since we wanted to use it that day, we ended up buying an additional 24 hr subscription for $5. I guess we should have planned ahead…
Anyway, Alex and I biked over to the festival with no problem! The bike kiosks are very self explanatory and the bike itself is plain and simple to adjust and ride.
At the festival, I was pleased to find a Nice Ride tent where I talked to a guy about my recent subscription purchase. I said that I was planning to use my subscription for friends because I have my own bike. Then the guy asked me if I bike to work every single day. I told him that I ride my bike most days but take the bus when it’s raining. He said that a lot of bike commuters do that – but what happens if you bus to work in the AM, and then it gets really nice in the afternoon and you want to bike home? Now I can just take a Nice Ride when I am commuting one way. What a great idea.
I just got my Nice Ride access key in the mail along with a coupon book filled with really great deals for local restaurants, bars, theaters, salons, and shops. I think I would buy the subscription again just to get the discount book! We’re talking about BOGOs at Lucias and Brave New Workshop, free stuff at Common Roots and Peace Coffee, and discounts at the Guthrie - the kind of discount book I will actually use
Apparently, Minneapolis isn’t the first city to embrace such an awesome transportation option. Bixi bike systems are already in place in Montreal, Ottawa, Melbourne, London, DC and a few college campuses. I’m also super happy to see that Toronto as well as Boston (my former city of residence) are scheduled to get Bixi systems this year!
I saw a bike poster at Art-A-Whirl yesterday (originally from Art Crank) that describes my feelings toward biking perfectly: bikes are “Human Powered Freedom Machines.” I’m super excited to be a paying supporter of this awesome system and encourage others to check it out for themselves!