Making cities and towns in Minnesota better places for bikes.
Part of the vision we share with our partners in the community is to change the way people perceive transportation. We want our communities to be places where it’s natural for people to walk or hop on a bike to get where they want to go.
In 2009 this vision led us to become the title sponsor of Nice Ride Minnesota. Nice Ride is a nonprofit organization funded through public-private partnerships and the first bike share in Minnesota. When Nice Ride launched in 2010, bike share was considered experimental. At that time it was the largest bike share system in the United States with more than 700 bikes in 65 kiosks in Minneapolis. Five years later the system boasts of 170 Nice Ride stations all over Minneapolis and St.Paul, connecting the chain of lakes and the river, the Twins Stadium and the Guthrie Theater, the Stone Arch Bridge, the Saints Stadium, two downtowns and countless parks and trails.
It's about more than bikes
170 Nice Ride stations connect Minneapolis and St. Paul, the chain of lakes and the river, the Twins Stadium and the Guthrie Theater, and countless parks and trails.
As it expands, Nice Ride continues to make Minnesota a better place to live. In a program evaluation conducted in 2015, we found that after people join Nice Ride, they:
- Drive less
- Get more physical activity (and it's not just limited to biking)
- Are more likely to notice people on bikes when they're driving their cars
An evaluation of the Nice Ride Neighborhood program found that it directly impacts participants’ health and changes their views about using bicycles for shopping, commuting and getting around town. It also increases their use of bike lanes, trails and parks in their communities. As one participant put it, “I never would have bought a bicycle without participating in this program. This program opened my eyes to another way of taking care of my basic needs and then also taking care of the need to keep my body in better condition.”
Nice Ride Neighborhood is a program that pioneers new strategies to help people make biking a part of their daily lives. It operates in traditionally under-served communities in Minneapolis-St. Paul, in neighborhoods that have lower Nice Ride ridership, and where people are less likely to own a bicycle. These can be areas where barriers are prevalent, including less physical infrastructure, safety concerns and general misgivings about bicycling. Nice Ride Neighborhood provides both high-quality commuter bicycles and an intensive program focused on giving participants a positive, long-term bike experience. Bringing together social service organizations, community bike shops, and experienced riders, the Neighborhood Program is a catalyst and support system for community members to make a positive change toward a more active lifestyle.
Nice Ride Bemidji launched in June of 2014 as an experiment designed to bring bike share to cities and towns in Greater Minnesota. Bemidji offers access to safe places to ride, great food, entertainment and Minnesota's extensive trail system. Evaluation of the Bemidji program will provide valuable information to help towns and cities outside of the Twin Cities build bike share systems that suit their communities. It’s a step toward in creating more bike places — towns where there are safe places to ride, ample bike parking and businesses that support people on bikes — for everyone to enjoy.
Nice Ride Minnesota Program Evaluation, conducted by University of Minnesota, May 2015.