Posts Tagged ‘Nice Ride MN’
Wednesday, December 12th, 2012
The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities, that originally ran in the Downtown Journal.
Now that Nice Ride bikes are tucked away for the winter, consider using the bus for your quick trips to lunch, meetings, doctor’s appointments, or shopping. Using Metro Transit is an ideal way to save on car and gas expenses, improve our local air quality and enhance your personal health.
It’s always sad to see the green bikes and stations taken off the road for winter. But, there’s much to celebrate about the 2012 Nice Ride season. There were 274,045 rentals on the system this year, a new record. And the green bikes and stations expanded into downtown Saint Paul and along the Mississippi River.
The folks at Nice Ride report that people who subscribe to Nice Ride (and get their own key fob for locking and unlocking bikes) use them primarily for transportation – including getting to work or school. Those who walk up to the stations and get day passes are using the bikes more in off-peak, non-commuter times of day. For example, many people took Nice Rides all night long during the Northern Spark event last June. During the Uptown Art Fair, Nice Ride provided a bike valet and bike parking, accommodating 1,000 bikes each day of the fair.
Nice Ride stations are strategically located near both bus and light rail stops. On the Hiawatha LRT line, Nice Ride kiosks are near every stop between Lake Street and downtown. Bike stations have already been located near every station on the Central Corridor (aka Green Line), ready for its opening in 2014.
Use the bus for your short trips
This winter, consider taking the bus for the trips you might have made on the green bikes. If you need to move around the city for lunch or appointments, meetings or shopping, check out Metro Transit’s HiFrequency routes. It can be easier and faster to jump on board a bus than to drive. Here are some examples.
- Downtown Minneapolis to Uptown? It’s a 15-minute trip on Route 6, which departs every 7 to 10 minutes during rush hour and every 15 minutes off-peak. Example: catch Route #6 at Hennepin Avenue & 8th Street downtown and get off in Uptown in about 14 to 17 minutes. No worries about parking!
- Downtown Minneapolis to Phillips Eye Institute, Children’s Hospital, or Abbot Northwestern? The #5 Route from Nicollet Mall arrives to these locations in about 15 minutes.
- Over the river for lunch to restaurants in Nordeast? It’s 10 minutes on the #10 from Nicollet Mall & 7th Street South to the corner of University and Central Avenues in Nordeast. Or stay on the bus and check out some of the new restaurants further up Central.
- MSP Airport to downtown Saint Paul? Route #54 from the Lindbergh Terminal to 5th & Minnesota takes about 23 minutes.
- Downtown to the Kingfield neighborhood for Sunday brunch at Currans or a match at Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center? Route 19 takes about 20 minutes from downtown Minneapolis.
Benefits of Metro Transit
You can save a lot of money by using the bus for short-term transportation, instead of a car. According to a 2012 report by AAA, it now costs nearly $9,000 per year ($8,946) to operate an average sedan, driven 15,000 miles annually. Not to mention the cost of parking.
In comparison, a one-way fare on Metro Transit is $3.00 or less – even at rush hour. GoTo Cards (available at many retail locations and online) make it very easy to mix the bus into your normal transportation routine. It’s like a pre-paid fare. When you board, you pass the card over a reader and it deducts the cost of that trip. Refill the card at LRT stations, retail locations, or online. Transit passes (which work like GoTo cards) are frequently available through larger employers and colleges and universities.
You might be surprised to know that Metro Transit boasts some of the cleanest-running vehicles of any operating in the Twin Cities. With a fleet of buses running on hybrid energy or ultra-clean diesel, not to mention no-tailpipe light rail, Metro Transit vehicles produce just a fraction of the per-person emissions of individual motor vehicles.
When combined with bicycling and/or walking, riding on the bus or light rail system can significantly improve your health. People who use public transit are more likely to meet the Surgeon General’s recommendation to get physical activity by walking or bicycling for transportation, according to a recent report from the Journal of Public Health Policy. People who use transit walk about 19 minutes per day compared to only 6 minutes per day for non-transit users.
When you think of how public transit operates, its benefit to individual health makes sense. Since public transit is not a door-to-door service, it requires some amount of walking or bicycling to board. That habit of walking or bicycling, to get to and from public transit, apparently begets more walking and bicycling. People, it would seem, are the epitome of Newton’s first law of motion: “An object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion.”
Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
Nice Ride officially closed its operations for the season on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012 with almost 275,000 rentals for the year. So, in honor of another fantastic year of “Nice Riding”, we thought we’d share a little poem from all of us at Bike Walk Move (with apologies to the late, great Margaret Wise Brown).
Goodnight Nice Ride,
Goodnight trusty green bike,
Goodnight fun rides,
To the places I like.
Goodnight docking stations,
Goodnight Nice Ride key,
Goodnight bike-share system,
Helping me be where I should be.
Goodnight immediate chances,
To traverse our city’s sharrows.
Goodnight teeming streets,
Goodnight gentle parks,
Goodnight to the neighbor’s schnauzer,
Who greets me with his barks.
Goodnight towering trees,
Goodnight wood thrush,
And goodnight to Mother Nature,
Goodnight hours of sun,
Goodnight balmy air,
Goodnight Nice Ride friends, everywhere.
Friday, June 22nd, 2012
Short is beautiful – especially when it comes to bicycling and walking in Minneapolis.
Minneapolis is becoming increasingly ideal for making short trips by bike or foot because so many great places are nearby – work, food trucks, restaurants, small shops, big box stores, museums, parks, music…you name it!
Think of how many places you go each week, and see how your travel patterns compare to national norms:
According to the League of American Bicyclists, in urban areas,
- 30 percent of all trips are 1 mile or less
- 44 percent are 2 miles or less
- 53 percent are 3 miles or less
Yet even with that destination proximity – the nearness of things – we still make most of our short trips by car: 60 percent of all trips of 1 mile or less are driven.
Here’s an idea: rather than driving to a destination of 1 mile or less, try bicycling or walking instead, even if it’s just once a week. Get a map, find your home, and draw a circle with a 1-mile radius from your home. Or if you’d like to try a handy and free online tool to see a 1-mile radius around your home, go to “Radius Around Point,” simply enter 1 mile, your home address, including city and state, and click “Draw Radius.”
You may be surprised how many of your regular destinations are a mile or less away. At a very easy pace, you can travel a mile by bicycle in about 7 minutes, or walk within about 20 minutes. Along the way, you’ll be able to enjoy the scenery, benefit your physical and mental health, and save costs by not driving! Health fact of the summer: If half of all short trips in the Twin Cities were done by bike during just the summer, 300 deaths and $57 million in medical costs would be averted annually, according to a 2011 study by University of Wisconsin researchers.
Notable Local Short Trip Destinations
So, where is good to go for short trips? Nice Ride Minnesota bike-sharing gives us a good picture. If you’d like to imagine yourself a tourist (or if you are a tourist), downtown Minneapolis is a great starting point for short-distance travel.
According to Ellen Apel, marketing manager for Nice Ride, the most popular Nice Ride station in the Twin Cites is in front of the IDS Center.
Using the IDS Center as your hub, popular downtown destinations within 1 mile include:
- Target Field and Target Center
- Loring Park
- The Walker Art Center
- The Minneapolis Outdoor Sculpture Garden
- Minneapolis Central Library
- Nicollet Island
- Mill City Museum
- The Guthrie Theater
- Stone Arch Bridge
- St. Anthony Main
Expand your trip from the IDS Center to 2 miles (a 15-minute ride), and you’ll reach:
- The Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota
- The Northeast Minneapolis Arts District
- The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Nice Ride has stations at or near all of these locations. For a listing of multiple Twin Cities bicycle tours, visit the Nice Ride tour library online.
How does Nice Ride work? While many readers may already be familiar with Nice Ride, here’s the skinny for those who are not: In exchange for a daily ($6), monthly ($30) or annual ($65) subscription (made via credit or debit card), you have access to more than 1,300 green bikes at 140+ stations in Minneapolis and Saint Paul.
The key thing to know about Nice Ride is that it’s based on short trips: plan to keep a Nice Ride bike for only 30 minutes at a time. Get a bike, ride to your destination station, and dock it. When you’re done with your lunch or meeting or seeing the museum or shopping, use your credit card to get another unlock code and take off for another 30 minutes.
If you want a longer ride, plan to exchange Nice Ride bikes every 30 minutes to avoid “trip fees.” Otherwise, you’ll pay $1.50 for the next 30 minutes after the free first half-hour, and a sharply increasing rate after that.
Another resource chock-full of potential short-distance destinations is the website of Meet Minneapolis, the city’s official convention & visitors association. Check out the site’s helpful Itinerary Creator; it’s filled with a multitude of destinations that can easily be reached by bike or on foot from downtown.
By bicycling or walking for short trips, instead of driving, you’ll enjoy firsthand the city’s amenities, likely boost your physical and mental health, and save on transportation costs. That way, you’ll have more to spend on yourself (and others) when you reach your destination!
Tags: bike Minneapolis, Biking Minneapolis, Meet Minneapolis, Nice Ride, Nice Ride Minnesota, Nice Ride MN, short bike trips, short bike trips Minneapolis, short trips via bike
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Monday, May 7th, 2012
Last month, we started a new series on the Bike Walk Stories blog—Featured Routes. In March, we focused on the bike lanes along Blaisdell and 1st Avenues in south Minneapolis. Today, we’d like to take a closer look at two bike boulevards that opened in Northeast last fall.
The 5th St. and 22nd Ave. bicycle boulevards in northeast Minneapolis provide good north-south and east-west routes through a part of town that previously lacked good facilities. The 5th street route is mostly north-south, going from Marcy Holmes and St. Anthony East neighborhoods to the Logan Park and Holland neighborhoods. At NE 26th Street, the route follows the alleyway behind apartments facing University and briefly uses the sidewalk to reach a bike trail to St Anthony Parkway on the northern border of Minneapolis. The 22nd Ave. route is east-west. It cuts across the Bottineau, Holland and Windom Park neighborhoods, connecting Marshall Avenue near the Mississippi River to the Quarry and the Diagonal Trail to the east. Note: Another north-south route, the Presidents Bicycle Boulevard, is planned for the east side of Northeast, running parallel to Central Avenue.
Bicycle boulevards. Minneapolis has installed several bicycle boulevards in the last couple of years. The general idea with bicycle boulevards is to add traffic-calming and safety features to quiet residential streets to make them better for bicycling and walking. Studies of bicycle boulevards in other cities have shown that women prefer them to riding on busy streets with bike lanes. In fact, bicycle boulevards often run parallel to commercial streets. In the case of Northeast, the 5th Street bicycle boulevard runs parallel to University Ave. The 5th street route also passes through the Northeast business district (at Hennepin & Central) and crosses the 13th and 26th Avenue business districts.
Bike signal. The region’s first bike traffic signal at 5th St. and Broadway Ave. NE helps bicyclists cross one of the busier roads in the area. There also are new curb bump outs and crossing signals for people walking.
Bicycle detection stop light. For cyclists taking 5th St. north through the commercial district of Northeast, there is a bicycle detection signal at the intersection of 5th and Central/Hennepin, activated by placing your bike tire on the bike symbol.
Traffic circles. Mini, or “residential”, traffic circles replace stop signs at several intersections in Northeast Minneapolis. Highly-visible, traffic circles make it possible for bikes to proceed without coming to a full stop and also make sure cars slow down while moving through the neighborhood.
Nice Ride stations. There are seven Nice Ride stations close to the 5th St. and 22nd Ave. bike boulevards—just in case you forgot your bike (or don’t own one):
* Central & 20th (between 18th & Lowry
* Logan Park (Broadway & Monroe)
* University & 12th (close to 13th Ave biz district)
* Marshall Ave. & 8th (near Elsie’s & the Yacht Club)
* Hennepin Ave. & Central Ave. (near Whiteys)
* University Ave. & Bank St. (across from Lunds, near Surdyks)
* 100 Main Street (near Saint Anthony Main)
Bike parking. New bike racks have been added at several locations in Northeast Minneapolis, including those along 22nd Ave. at Mill City Cafe, St. John’s Byzantine Church, Dean’s Circle Grocery, Jackson Square Park, and the Firefighters Hall & Museum. Along 5th St., there are new bike racks at Conga Latin Bistro, St. Mary’s Church, and near apartment buildings.
Connects to the University of Minnesota. The 5th St. bike boulevard also connects with the bike lanes along 5th St. SE, which lead to the University of Minnesota campus at Dinkytown via a bicycling/pedestrian bridge over 35W.
Landmarks and notable businesses along routes
The northeast Minneapolis area is home to many wonderful restaurants, watering holes, churches and other landmarks, including:
Gardens of Salonica (5th & 1st)
Red Stag Supper Club (5th & 1st)
Grumpy’s (4th & 22nd—a block off 5th & 22nd)
Hennepin Country Library (22nd & Central)
Northeast Social (4th & 13th—a block off 5th)
The Ritz Theater (4th & 13th—a block off 5th)
Mayslacks (4th & 15th—a block off 5th)
Edison High School (22nd & Monroe)
St. Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral (5th & 17th)
Northeast Farmer’s Market (2nd & 7th)
Jackson Square Park (22nd & NE Jackson St.)
Windom Park (Johnson St. & 23rd—a block off 22nd)
St. Anthony Park (5th & 3rd)
Tags: Bike Walk Move, Bike Walk Twin Cities, Nice Ride Minnesota, Nice Ride MN, northeast Minneapolis bike boulevards, northeast Minneapolis bike lanes, northeast Minneapolis bike routes, Northeast Minneapolis biking
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Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
Bike share is hardly a new or novel concept these days. From Paris to Montreal to Mexico City to Washington, DC, bike share programs are popping up all over the world in an attempt to provide healthy options to those seeking a different way to get around.
Here in Minnesota, we’ve been fortunate to have one of the more well-respected, unique and successful bike share program right under our noses: Nice Ride. For the last two years, Nice Ride (and the many organizations who have sponsored Nice Ride, including Bike Walk Twin Cities and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota) have provided a new means of transportation for hundreds of thousands of Twin Cities residents—from North Minneapolis to St. Paul. Nice Ride has changed the way people get to work. It has changed the way people think about bicycling. And, it’s even changed the way tourists think about getting around town.
And, they’re not even close to done yet.
So, we thought we’d sit down with Ellen Apel, marketing manager at Nice Ride and see what exciting things Nice Ride has in store for 2012 and how and why the bike share program has had such an impact on the Twin Cities.
You had an incredible year in 2011—more than 217,000 rides and more than 3,500 one-year subscriptions. What will be Nice Ride’s primary focus and goals heading into the 2012 bicycling season?
Nice Ride wants to get more people on more bikes taking more rides to great places in the Twin Cities! We have a busy event schedule that will encourage ridership, and we will also reach a broader audience with expansion into downtown St. Paul and focus on under-served communities.
We are excited that this summer we can include downtown St. Paul in the Nice Ride community. With help from a great network of funders including State of Minnesota, Central Corridor Funders Collaborative and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, we plan to add 25+ stations to downtown St. Paul.
Additional funding has also been received from the National Park Service to place stations in the Mississippi River Area. The placement of these stations will take place in 2012-2013, with stations in 2012 placed in downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis. In 2013, these stations will stretch from Webber Park in North Minneapolis, south to Fort Snelling and eastward past downtown St. Paul.
With sponsorship support from Target, we are also focusing more effort on outreach to under-served communities with our Nice Rides with Your Neighborhood program (here’s a list from last year’s program). In partnership with non-profit organizations, we hope to provide education and hands-on experience to under-served communities in the Nice Ride area. We also plan to give away 600 one-year memberships in these communities.
You’ve mentioned that Nice Ride will be expanding into downtown St. Paul in 2012. Can you talk a little about why you made the decision to station bikes downtown St. Paul? And, based on your experience in Minneapolis, who do you think might use the downtown Saint Paul bikes the most? People going to lunch? Capitol staffers headed downtown for meetings?
Similar to downtown Minneapolis, downtown St. Paul has a thriving business district, exceptional places to visit, and areas of high-density residential housing. Combine these components and you have a great place for bike share. Bike share is a great option for commuters who travel short distances, enjoy active lunch breaks and those who travel within downtown to business meetings and conferences. There will be several stations at Capitol locations, downtown proper, Lowertown and along the river to provide a convenient grid for getting around downtown St. Paul.
You’ve also said you’re planning to add stations along the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis. Which exact locations are you targeting—and how did you land on those spots?
In conjunction with the National Park Service (NPS), Nice Ride determined station locations using criteria used in previous planning. Taking into account areas that have the most traffic and use along with determining popular destinations, Nice Ride targeted placement of stations in Northeast Minneapolis at Broadway, North Loop Minneapolis near the Cedar Lake Trail, and at the Stone Arch Bridge and Gold Medal Park in Minneapolis. NPS will also provide the bulk of funding for stations along the Mississippi in St. Paul.
Now that you’re a few years in, what are the most popular routes you’re seeing Nice Ride subscribers using on a regular basis? And, based on those routes, what destinations do you believe riders are traveling to on the Nice Ride bicycles?
The IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis continues to be the Nice Ride station with the highest usage. We interpret that most of these riders are commuting for work, coming from neighborhoods throughout Minneapolis. The most popular route in the system was on the University of Minnesota campus between Kolthoff Hall and the Social Sciences building, a route traveling across the Washington Ave Biking and Pedestrian Bridge. After placement of a station near Lake Calhoun, we saw a great upswing in riders at that station. Downtown Minneapolis riders also report traveling to St. Anthony Main frequently. While most of our one-year subscribers report they use the system for commuting, we also experienced about 40,000 24-hour subscribers that seemingly use the system to get to places like the Convention Center, Walker Art Museum, and the chain of lakes.
Historically, Nice Ride has seen a higher percentage of women riders than the overall cyclist mix in the Twin Cities (which tends to skew toward more men cyclists). Why do you think that is?
Women are smarter? Nice Ride Minnesota bikes are very rugged and sturdy and along with the “no maintenance, easy to use” perks, provide stability when riding city streets and great lights when riding after dark. As Nice Ride becomes a consistent fixture in the Twin Cities landscape, perhaps women feel more familiar and comfortable using the system without having to worry about carrying a lock and the ability to utilize Nice Ride as a one-way transportation option.
What patterns do you see in terms of usage during key times of the day (morning/evening commutes, lunch time, weekend afternoons)? And, what does that say about how people are using the Nice Rice bicycles?
The Nice Ride Street Crew works to re-balance bikes and maintain the system from 6 a.m. – 1 a.m. every day. Rush hour, morning and evening, are always busy times for this crew as commuters travel to and from work, but it’s tricky to try and predict other times when the system will blow up. Glorious summer days around the lakes are always busy, and bike sharing to special events (U2 at TCF Bank Stadium!) are very popular too. Somewhat dependent on weather, rainy, cold days often cause a drop off of usage.
Before Nice Ride began, naysayers thought that Nice Ride bicycles would be quickly stolen. The reality has been far, far different. What number of Nice Ride bicycles have been lost or stolen in the last two years? Why do people treat the bicycles so well, in your opinion?
We are grateful to the Twin Cities that they have shown such respect for the Nice Ride system. In 2010, two bikes were reported “lost”, however both bikes were recovered in 2011. 2011 saw no “lost” bikes. The security and conditions of use are great deterrents towards theft. And because of the unique design and look of the bike, resale opportunities are limited.
Last question: How do you think Nice Ride has impacted the overall bicycle culture here in Minneapolis and St. Paul? Do you think it’s had a lasting impact on people who might not have been cycling as much a few years ago?
Frequently we receive stories telling us of people using Nice Ride after a biking hiatus since childhood. We’ve received stories of people engaged with immigrant populations who use the system to teach communities to ride who have never been on a bike. We’ve received stories from people who have had one too many bikes stolen that now exclusively use the Nice Ride system. Many stories from out-of-town visitors praise Nice Ride and include wishes for the same kind of system in their hometown. Even stories from people who own multiple bikes sing Nice Ride praises for being available in a pinch and handy if their own bike happens to go in the shop.
All these stories tell us that Nice Ride makes biking more accessible to residents and visitors of the Twin Cities. We feel confident that Nice Ride has contributed to the Twin Cities’ nationally recognized bike-friendly status and are proud to be part of the effort to make biking and bike share more visible in the United States. We are also proud to be unique among other bike-shares and have a substantial presence in under-served communities. We are working to bring a healthy, active, fun transportation option to all communities and are happy to be represented throughout the Twin Cities.
Thursday, October 20th, 2011
Haven’t been on a bike since grade school? That didn’t stop one North Minneapolis resident from taking a spin on a Nice Ride bicycle this summer. In this short post, Jen Emmert shares what motivated her to try the bike rental program and how it changed her perspective of her hometown.
Name: Jen Emmert
Occupation: Corporate HR
Neighborhood: North Minneapolis/Jordan Neighborhood
You do a lot of things to stay active, which you document on your weight-loss journey blog, but until recently biking wasn’t one of those activities. Tell us about what motivated you to get back on a bike.
I recently began writing for the Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune about healthiness-related topics: places to go, things to do and where to eat. Outside of childhood, bike riding has never really been a part of my healthiness journey. But I knew I wanted to incorporate fun healthiness things to do in my writing, things that were beyond just the limited scope of what I’ve done in my own journey.
Why did you decide to use a bicycle from the Nice Ride program?
I loved the idea of the ability to be able to jump on and ride from one place to another. I was excited that I didn’t have to have my own bike to use the program and that there were locations everywhere! The thought of getting on a bike was slightly intimidating to me so if I could break through my own complex while, at the same time, helping someone else consider breaking through their own complex, why not?
What paths or routes did you take the day you decided to give the Nice Ride bikes a try? Were you aware of those bike paths beforehand?
I had looked up the Nice Ride paths before but for whatever reason, I was too intimidated to do it. I didn’t consider myself a “bike rider.” When I finally decided to take the plunge, I gathered up a few friends so I wouldn’t have to do it alone. I picked out a convenient location in Uptown so we could jump on a greenway and do the Graffiti Tour.
In your recent Star Tribune post about your Nice Ride experience, you said you found yourself wanting to stay on the bike after your ride. Would you consider purchasing an annual Nice Ride subscription? Why or why not?
I would consider purchasing a summer pass so I could jump on during the nice months and enjoy the tours, take low-key rides and even just bike from location to location.
Did you learn anything new about the Twin Cities that day from the perspective of being on a bike?
I grew up in Minneapolis, yet I never even know the greenway existed. I loved all the little stops on the path and the beautiful gardens. I felt like I was in a secret society, like I was on a secret path in the middle of the city that many didn’t know existed. When you drive through the city in a car, we are so used to the speed that we don’t realize how much of our surroundings we are missing. Riding with the Nice Ride program slows life down a bit and helps to truly see the sights. It’s easier to stop and maneuver through the city and get around.
Do you see biking becoming a regular part of your exercise routine or rotation of activities to do with friends?
I loved the leisure of biking with friends – being able to laugh and share in conversation while seeing Minneapolis and St. Paul in a whole new light. There were times in our bike ride when the conversation would fall silent and we would just exist. The silent sometimes says more than words.
What advice do you have for others who haven’t been on a bike since they were children?
We’ve always heard the old saying, “It’s like riding a bike, you never forget how.” Surprisingly enough, it is true! Sure, the first two minutes of getting on the bike I held onto a nearby fence. And true, I wobbled a bit but within five minutes, I was pedaling like I belonged. For those who have some hesitation? Anticipation sometimes holds us back – only you can decide if you will let your anticipation prevent you from doing something. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable means you are letting yourself be challenged. To those who haven’t been on a bike since they were a child, I say break through what holds you back and do it because once you do, you’ll realize how much you’ve been missing!
Thursday, August 25th, 2011
Jim Bjorkes, a businessman from Vancouver visited Minneapolis recently, and had a fantastic time exploring the city and seeing the many sights. He credits Nice Ride for that—here’s why, in his words.
I took the train into the city from my hotel near the Mall of America, and quickly tired myself out walking from the Metrodome to the trails along the Mississippi. I really wanted to see all of downtown, the University of Minnesota, Target Field and Dinkytown. But I would’ve either had to spend a fortune in cab fare, or wear out my shoes walking miles and miles and getting lost.
Then, I noticed a Nice Ride stand, and although I’d never heard of it, the directions were easy to follow and it seemed like such a fantastic idea that I decided to give it a whirl. SO glad I did. What a deal for five bucks! And such a fantastic system.
The maps at each station made my trek around the city easy, and the bike stations were easy to find and plentiful. The bikes themselves were in great shape, and a lot of fun to ride. I went back and forth over the bridges, the university grounds, along the Mississippi—everywhere I wanted to go, everything I wanted to experience I did thanks to Nice Ride!
I spent about four hours exploring the downtown area, and used about five different stations. Thanks again! I’ll be telling everyone I know about Nice Ride and hopefully one day Vancouver, BC Canada, will adopt the same system. It’d work great in just about any city!
Thursday, August 11th, 2011
Paul Onderick and his wife enjoy biking around White Bear Lake for fun and activity, but when Paul tried to figure out how to include biking in his long daily commute to downtown Minneapolis, it became a hassle—at least until Nice Ride bicycles were installed. Here’s his story.
I’m a patent attorney from White Bear Lake, who wears a suit and tie everyday to work in downtown Minneapolis, and I use the Nice Ride system—frequently.
I’d been working in the IDS Tower for more than ten years, driving from White Bear Lake to downtown Minneapolis everyday. So, I was interested when Nice Ride installed the green bikes and solar-paneled stations in the spring of 2010. I approached one of their friendly street crew members, and found out I’d be able to participate in the bike share program soon.
Growing up in Northern Ohio, I rode bike all over, and frequently rode to work when I lived in Kentucky and Indiana. I tried to find ways to bike to downtown Minneapolis from my home—I missed the flexibility I had with a bike at my fingertips and dreaded the in-and-out parking hassles. I considered bringing and leaving an old bike downtown so I would be able to at least take short trips during lunch. After considering maintenance and storage issues, I decided it was too much hassle.
Then those green bikes hit the street and came to my rescue. In the spring of 2010, I became one of Nice Ride’s inaugural one-year subscribers and continue to take Nice Ride trips frequently. I’m able to quickly check out a bike with my Nice Ride key fob, jump on and take a short trip to get to a meeting or a nice lunch spot. My favorite places to take Nice Ride include Peavey Plaza, the Convention Center, Loring Park and St. Anthony Main.
I appreciate the Nice Ride system for providing the opportunity to get a bit of exercise and for the chance to get out of the office for a change of scenery. Nice Ride allows people to go different places and experience different things while getting there just a little faster. I also really appreciate the chain guard that protects my suit pants. I now have the freedom to get out and explore the city — all in a suit and tie!
Tuesday, August 9th, 2011
Walk into Clockwork Active Media Systems in northeast Minneapolis and you quickly realize this isn’t your garden-variety office environment.
Sounds pretty cool, right?
But, what’s not as obvious upon entering the building is the strong culture that has emerged at Clockwork the last couple years: A culture of biking.
With co-founder Chuck Hermes leading the way, nearly 20 Clockwork employees choose to make biking a part of their daily (or in some cases weekly) routine. Chuck bikes more than 40 miles a day to and from Stillwater.
“I’m a life-long cyclist—I’ve had pictures of bikes on my birthday cakes for years,” Chuck says. “I take the Gateway trail to work almost every day. Sure it takes more time, but it also means I’m a more productive employee. And, maybe more importantly, I’m happier and I’m a better husband and father as a result.”
How did they foster a culture of biking?
How did this culture grow? Organically, according to Chuck and his teammates. As a younger company, over the last several years, more people have banded together through biking to work. As a result, what was once a small sub-culture at Clockwork has come to define the firm’s brand in many ways. In fact, the League of American Cyclists recently recognized Clockwork as a 2011 Bicycle Friendly Business winner.
Clockwork employees participate in a number of biking-related activities, including:
* Bike Lunches. The team will frequently bike to lunch around town. With downtown only about two miles away, and a plethora of options available, there’s really no reason not to. But, the group has traveled as far as Sea Salt Eatery in south Minneapolis (nearly six miles away) for lunch.
* MS 150 ride. For three years each spring, Clockwork employees have been participating in the MS 150 ride from Duluth to Minneapolis. What started as a small group has now grown to 20-plus employees, partners and other “friends of Clockwork.” (The Clockwork team raised more than $23,000 this year for multiple sclerosis research)
* Active in the biking community. Clockwork hosted an ARTCRANK pre-party this year, which included a ride over to the ARTCRANK show later that evening. It’s an event that could quickly become an annual tradition.
* Bike profiles. Earlier this year, the Clockwork team started featuring its employees and their biking addictions right on the Clockwork blog. These “Biker Profiles” have become a way for Clockwork cyclists to show off one of their most prized possessions: their bikes. And, the photography is fantastic—thanks to Sharyn Morrow, a Clockwork employee who’s rather handy with a Nikon.
Culture starts with people
People create and sustain culture. In any organization. And Clockwork is definitely not short on talented, creative professionals. And people who absolutely love to bike. So it’s no wonder the bike culture continues to thrive at this Minneapolis-based interactive firm.
Just some of the people who make the Clockwork culture go include:
* Rett Martin. Clockwork’s creative director bikes 7 blocks with his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter to daycare every day. Rain or shine. Snow or sleet. With only one car in the household, it’s become a part of his daily routine—and he wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, Rett now claims when he has to drive his daughter to daycare on those very few days, it’s a much bigger pain than biking.
* Micah Spieler. The newest Clockwork cyclist also has the shortest commute—just a few short blocks away. But, Micah is in it for the camaraderie and social aspects. He’s also a frequent rider on the bike lunches.
* Alex Wohlhueter. A QA tester at Clockwork, Alex’s commute cuts across the Seward neighborhood, through the University of Minnesota on his way to the northeast office. Like Rett, he rides with his young son from time to time, dropping him off at daycare just a few blocks away.
What about the business impact of biking?
This bike culture stuff is fine-and-dandy, but is there a real business case here? Or, is this just a matter of a bunch of employees who love to ride their bikes?
Chuck says there’s a significant business case to be made for bicycling —and it’s already paying off.
“We’ve already got two new clients that I would say are a direct result of our passion for biking,” Chuck says. “We’re currently working with Nice Ride and the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota—both could be directly attributable to our biking culture. In fact, I met Dorian Grilley, executive director of the Bicycle Alliance while riding down the Gateway one day—that led directly to us working together.”
But, the benefits don’t stop with new clients. Chuck says the bike culture also has significant recruiting and retention benefits. And, Clockwork employees back that up.
“When I tell people I bike to work they say ‘Oh that must be so nice,” Micah says. “It’s a huge perk for me. Biking wasn’t one of the reasons I came to work at Clockwork–but it’s definitely a reason I want to stay now.”
In an industry where top developers, programmers and creatives are increasingly at a premium, recruiting and retaining that top talent is absolutely critical to business success. Clockwork definitely sees the “business value” in fostering this culture of bicycling.
But, it’s the pure joy of riding a bike every day that really drives the culture at Clockwork. It almost seems like the “business case” is really just a nice added bonus for this firm. Nevertheless, Clockwork seems to be smack-dab in the middle of a fast-emerging trend of businesses that support biking.
Friday, August 5th, 2011
Doug Kiner of Mountain View, Calif., recently visited Minneapolis with a few colleagues for a business conference downtown. He and his colleagues all used Nice Ride bicycles as their main mode of transportation during their time here. On behalf of the group, Doug shares his story below.
I recently returned from a work trip to Minneapolis, and wanted to share how much my colleagues and I enjoyed Nice Ride – what a great system! We were staying at the Hyatt and the Hilton downtown during a conference that was held at the Minneapolis Convention Center. A waitress that served us one night started telling us about the Uptown area and that it might be a fun place to visit. One of my colleagues suggested that we use the Nice Ride bikes.
The next day, we went to the Downtown YMCA station, followed the instructions, rented the Nice Ride bikes, and took off down Hennepin Avenue. We rode down to the Lake Street and Humboldt Station, docked the bikes, and grabbed a cup of coffee at Caribou Coffee.
After coffee, we grabbed our bikes again and rode down to and around Lake Calhoun. While we were riding around the lake, we realized that we had a conference call that we had forgotten about, so we pulled over and used one of the picnic tables as our ad-hoc “conference room.” The photo depicts me and one of my colleagues deep in thought as we “conferenced” on my cell phone.
We then rode through the Uptown area, docked the bikes at the Lake Street and Lyndale station, and had lunch at Stella’s Fish Cafe. After lunch, we grabbed some bikes from the Lake and Humboldt station again, and rode back to our starting point at the YMCA Downtown Station.
We had a blast, and in large part due to Nice Ride! It was so convenient, well documented, and with the Nice Ride stations located so conveniently, it really made our excursion enjoyable and convenient (not to mention healthy). The next morning, since it was still within my 24-hour rental period, I grabbed another Nice Ride bike, and pedaled over to the downtown FedEx/Kinko’s location and took care of some business there.
I wish we had a system like Nice Ride in Silicon Valley!
The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities, that originally ran in the Downtown Journal. Now that Nice Ride bikes are tucked away for the winter, consider using the bus for your quick trips to lunch, meetings, doctor’s appointments, or shopping. Using Metro Transit is an ideal way
The following is a post written by Bri Whitcraft, Special Projects Coordinator, Bike Walk Twin Cities. It all started with a video as inspiration and a Tweet as declaration. (My mom thought it was a joke.) Map & Route From my home in South Minneapolis, I biked to St. Paul to borrow the trailer from
The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities, that originally ran in the Southwest Journal. Practical, affordable and surprisingly rewarding, winter bicycling has become increasingly popular in Minneapolis, recently named one of the top five cities in the nation for winter bicycle commuting by MetaEfficient. That’s amazing when