I recently moved to Minneapolis from Northfield (Cows, Colleges, and Contentment!), forty miles south of the Cities. I’m fortunate enough to have a car, but having had to deal more with cattle crossing than heavy, downtown traffic and confusing one-ways, city traffic can be a little overwhelming. Adding that to the fact that my bike is falling apart (that’s what $40 on Craigslist gets you), getting around Minneapolis for work and leisure isn’t always the easiest to do.
I just started interning in the PR/Marketing department at the Walker, about two miles from my apartment. It’s too far to walk, but I feel guilty driving such a short distance (not to mention having to find parking). So what’s a geographically-challenged guy to do?
Three months ago, Minneapolis introduced a new, really unique, really convenient way to get around. The city built 42 bike stations downtown, uptown, everywhere in between, and stocked them with 350 bikes. As of July, it’s been upped to 65 stations with 600 bikes. You can spot the bright green ‘Nice Ride’ bikes pretty much everywhere around the city, in use or parked at busy locations. The Walker has a station right out front, usually stocked with at least a half a dozen bikes. In the morning, I’ll grab one at the Lake & Humboldt station, turn onto Hennepin, and follow that a dozen blocks north to the Walker. It helps not only that drivers in Minneapolis are incredibly bike-aware, but that the cost of a ‘Nice Ride’ is reasonable. $30 gets you a month pass, or $60 for a full year, and every ride under a half hour is free. In all, it beats gas prices by a huge amount.
Nice Ride also just published their three-month update online (you can find it here), detailing overall usage, revenue, stats, complete with nifty pie charts. Turns out that the Walker is one of the most popular destinations for Nice Riders, many coming from my neighborhood but also from Whittier, downtown, and even as far away as Seward and University. There’s still plenty of comfortable fall days left to check out these bikes. If you’re close, you should definitely grab one and swing by the Walker. It’s hard to beat a day filled with art and biking.