Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fun Find: Nice Ride Minnesota

If it's one thing I've learned about Minnesotans, it's that they cherish the summer and as a whole do what they can to savor every moment of it. Dealing with temperatures that make a New Yorker like me shiver from just the thought, who can blame them? During my first trip to Minneapolis, I took note of how many bikers shared the road with the vehicles. What I observed is that bike riding is more than a recreational activity, it is a means of transportation, and a popular one at that. Did you know that "Minneapolis is ranked 2nd in the nation for the number of people who commute to work by bicycle"? I didn't until I read this.

During this second visit, I discovered something even more exciting. Captivated by the bright green and pretty blue bikes all in row, I stumbled upon Nice Ride Minnesota, a bike sharing system. With 60 locations throughout Minneapolis, Nice Ride MN makes most trips seem like just hop, skip, and a pedal away. For a 24-hour subscription price of $5 (plus trip fees), the bike is yours. If your trip is less than 30 minutes, there is no fee. From my experience of walking from the U (University of Minnesota) to Uptown Minneapolis, it seems that many destinations can be reached in less than 30 minutes by bike. Then you can check out another one to ride back home. Depending on the details of your trip, this option can beat the cost of bus fare, a cab ride or even gas money.

As simple as it may seem, I was so impressed by it because it is such a good idea. Like other bike sharing systems throughout the country, Bike Ride MN is cool in so many positive ways. Not only will it help with traffic but it can have positive effects on physical health and fitness (and they say as much in their Vision).

Because Bike Ride MN has only been on the streets since June, there are still many questions surrounding it. The Bike Ride website provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions. The local Fox 9 News also shared information about the new system:

Whether it be a means of a transportation, exercise, just for fun, or out of curiosity, Nice Ride certainly seems worth a trip.

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