Hey “Nice bike!”

Hey guys. So I subscribed to Nice Ride, you know the public bike-share program with the green frames people use mostly around Minneapolis? They’re coming to downtown St. Paul. Last week I rode 28.5 miles in three days (humblebrag) Couple thoughts as I got started:

The bikes aren’t super fast commuter-style road bikes, but they get you around at a decent clip. My biggest beef so far: 30 minutes to make a single trip could be a little longer. Why? Because if Nice Ride is going to be in both downtowns, shouldn’t it allow riders time to make it between the two without switching bikes three or more times?

This is what subscriber keys look like. Skip the credit card machine, plug it directly in the bike dock and saddle up.

Here was my naive first route: Dale and Hague Street (it’s the nearest dock to where I live until they move into downtown next week or so) to 39th Avenue and East Lake Street. That first trip took me 29 minutes going third gear the whole way. I made it under the fee time by one minute. From there I was able to make it all the way Uptown on the Greenway (to Hennepin and 26th) in 26 minutes.

In short, I don’t want to cut it so close. So for my second trip, again started at Dale Street, then switched at my alma mater University of St. Thomas. From there it takes a while to get over the river and across Hiawatha because of the currently defunct Martin Olav Sabo Bridge. So another stop was required at the Midtown Building. All nice places to stop, but I would rather keep cruising on the Greenway. I know what you bikers are thinking, “Then buy your own bike.” I’d rather not waste space on this post making a pros and cons list of Nice Ride vs. personal bikes. I have my own bike by the way.

Nice Ride wants people to take short trips so the bikes are constantly circulated. I get that. Here’s my question as a loyal subscriber though: Would upping 30 minutes to 45 minutes, or even 60 minutes with no fee, have a significant effect on bike circulation? There are staff members to compute that kind of thing right? I hope 30 minutes isn’t an arbitrary number, since this is like, you know, the first system of its kind in the United States.

Another minor question I found no exact answer to on the Nice Ride website: When I’m switching bikes to beat the fees, can I plug in the bike I was just riding (and had already adjusted the seat for), wait until the light is green, and then pull out that same bike to continue on my way? Or must I choose a different bike? I’ve been doing the latter so far to be safe.

Enough complaining. I already got a “Nice bike!” from someone on a sidewalk. It’s also fun to wave at other Nice Ride users. I like the idea of Nice Ride, and it’s going to make my summer more active and probably more fun. It already has.

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