by Sarah Fazio
• With 700 bicycles and 65 stations, Minneapolis hosts and boasts the largest bike-sharing network in the U.S.
• Nice Ride Minnesota’s sizable operation was backed by substantial funding. Each bike includes a Blue Cross-branded fender (the HMO bankrolled with tobacco settlement money), and Minneapolis mayor R.T. Ryback helped secure local business support and additional cash.
• Anchored by downtown and the University of Minnesota, Nice Ride caters to short trips and encourages consumers to combine biking with other modes of transportation as cyclists hop on and drop off bikes at any station throughout the city.
• Nice Ride Minnesota charges $5 for 24 hours (with deposit), $30 for 30 days, and $60 for an annual membership (April to November).
• In addition to Nice Ride Minnesota, Public Bike System Co. launched bike-sharing systems in Denver and Montreal, with plans for Washington, D.C.
What This Means to Business
• Car-conscious consumers and casual commuters benefit from the easy access of bike sharing, with a strong infrastructure and simple system.
• Better bike lanes and other municipal support ups convenience and control for city cyclists. Bike-friendly businesses that provide perks like secure racks or discounts for cyclists will win loyalty among this growing consumer cohort.