The last time I rode a bike was in the ‘70’s. I had a tricked out bike for sure. Banana seat, handle bar tassles – training wheels. When the training wheels came off, the bicycle went to the garage and never came out again. In fact, I never touched a bike again. Until last year.
As an employee of The City of Minneapolis, I was eligible for a subsidized Nice Ride 1-Year Subscription. Devoted to employee’s wellness and well being, The City of Minneapolis has partnered with Nice Ride Minnesota to offer this benefit to all their employees. I was intrigued. What if I could figure out how to ride a bike without falling off within 11 feet? Could I conceivably use Nice Ride as a commuting option? I was excited about this and decided to find out. My partner rode a bike regularly, maybe I could too! I signed up and became one of Nice Ride’s inaugural subscribers in September 2010.
I wasn’t nervous. The City of Minneapolis had provided a ton of information about Nice Ride and how the system works. Bike maps, system information, subscription information. It was all there. And no parking hassles or gas worries? I just had to get on the bike and ride.
I gave up my car seven years ago, so I was used to walking from my Elliot Park apartment to the City of Minneapolis offices at City Hall, but now I had a faster and more convenient way to commute. I pulled out my Nice Ride key, unlocked a bike, adjusted the seat, and hopped on. Was I really riding? Yes, I was! Comfortably positioned on the oh-so-comfortable seat, smoothly pedaling and squeezing the sophisticated braking levers, I briefly thought about those handlebar tassles from long ago, and said, “no, this is absolutely better.” From that day forward, I’ve considered the bike to be my number one commuting option. I learned to ride a bike again and 100 percent of my success belongs to Nice Ride. I can now ride anywhere for miles and miles (to which I am still slightly in shock about) both on a Nice Ride and on my own bike.
And I don’t just use the bike to commute. Sometimes I take the long way home just for fun. I ride for both leisure and to run errands in Uptown, Midtown, Northeast, and around the lakes. I might even try a ride to St. Paul in the next few months.
Even though this year I purchased my own bike, I’m still a Nice Ride 1-Year Subscriber. It comes in handy when I need a one-way ride. Like when it rains—I hate riding in the rain. (It’s true, we’re not all hard core cyclists). Plus, I don’t have to worry about a bike lock or maintenance.
I also like the more active lifestyle Nice Ride offers and I’m happy I finally caught up to my partner’s passion for biking. Nice Ride definitely can create healthier people and give them a chance at a longer life. You just got to get moving! It’s so easy to hop from here to there with Nice Ride. Just get away from your desk and on to the bike!
What would I change about Nice Ride? Not a thing! I’m pretty much a SuperFan. Well, maybe add some handlebar tassles.