Our story

Nice Ride Minnesota is a non-profit organization that provides public bike sharing to the Twin Cities.

About Nice Ride Minnesota

Our Mission

To enhance the quality of our urban life by providing a convenient, easy-to-use bike sharing program that will provide residents and visitors a healthy, fun, different way to get around town.

Our Vision

We see a bike sharing program that will permanently change the way people experience and perceive our city, as well as the way they experience and perceive transportation.

Nice Ride will create a more vibrant city, a place where people want to work, live and play.

Nice Ride will stand as a working example of how our state and cities create programs that meet critical and shared public goals.

Nice Ride will show that the benefits of alternative transportation are many and lasting. For our residents those benefits will include:

  • Avoiding vehicular congestion
  • Reducing our carbon footprint
  • Less dependence on fossil fuels
  • More efficient movement from place to place
  • More opportunities for healthy physical activity
  • More interesting personal experiences interacting with the city
  • A growing affinity to make other changes in all modes of transportation
  • A sense of civic pride

History

Nice Ride Minnesota was formed through the Twin Cities Bike Share Project, an initiative started by Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and the City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation in July 2008. The Project evaluated bike share systems through an RFP and developed a non-profit business plan based on a combination of public and private funding. Bike/Walk Twin Cities (a program of Transit for Livable Communities funded through the Federal Highway Administration) announced its financial support in March of 2009, responding to a major funding commitment by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Center for Prevention. Nice Ride held its first board meeting in April of 2009 and received non-profit status the following June. Funding for Phase 1 of the bike share system was secured by the end of 2009 and a staff was quickly assembled. In early 2010, we selected Public Bike System Co. (developers of the Montreal Bixi bike share system) to supply our bike share equipment. We formed relationships with two local businesses, Freewheel Bike Shop and Sieco Construction, to help us assemble and install the bike share equipment.

The bike share system became operational on June 10, 2010. Hundreds of people turned out for an inaugural ride down Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. Phase 1 of the system included 700 bikes and 65 stations throughout Minneapolis. In our first season we logged over 100,000 rides on Nice Ride bikes.

We have aggressively expanded the bike share system in each of the years since 2010. In 2011 we added 51 stations and another 500 bikes. This expansion took us to in to St. Paul and more areas of Minneapolis. The 2012 expansion added 30 stations followed up by a 24 station expansion in 2013. During that same period the size of the fleet increased to over 1500 bicycles. By mid 2013, riders had taken over 700,000 rides on Nice Ride bikes. Much of this work was made possible with support from the National Parks Service.

The creation of Nice Ride Minnesota is a remarkable story of cooperation by local professionals-all donating their time—to create something great for the Twin Cities. Each of these firms donated hundreds of hours of staff time to make Nice Ride Minnesota a reality: Dorsey & Whitney (legal), Duffy & Partners (design), Mono (marketing), Grant Thornton (accounting), Roepke (P.R.), and Clockwork Active Media Systems (web development).

Future

Our number one priority is to provide superior service to our subscribers and provide a bike share system that is safe, reliable, and easy to use. In addition to serving more areas, our plans include programs aimed at making the system accessible to a wider range of people. With the support of our title sponsor, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Nice Ride is beginning a new Greater Minnesota Initiative. Just like when we started in Minneapolis in 2008, we don't know exactly where this new initiative will lead. We do know that people all over Minnesota want easy access to smart, healthy transportation.

To learn more about us and how you can help, see: GET INVOLVED.

Community

Nice Ride Minnesota is part of a growing community of people and organizations working for active lifestyles, vibrant cities, and livable public spaces. We’re helping build that community by making it easy for everyone to ride a bike and to feel safe and welcome on a bike. We’re reaching out to neighborhoods, students, office workers, and residents. We're partnering with large and small businesses, local government, transit providers, and universities. Become part of the Nice Ride community.

Board of Directors

President: Mark Bixby, Director, U of M/North Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program
Treasurer: Jan Bjork, Partner, Pieper Whitaker & Bjork LLC
Secretary: Jim Van Iwaarden, Owner, Van Iwaarden Associates
Paul Adelmann, Manager, Community & Local Gov't Relations, Xcel Energy
Jon Armour, Winthrop & Weinstine
Lisa Austin, Planner, MnDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Program
Mark Bixby, Director, UofM/North Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program
Joseph Duffy, Designer, Duffy & Partners
Andrew Finsness, General Manager, Sheraton Midtown
Mike Gibbs, Marketing consultant
Tim Jensen, Building Supervisor, Downtown YWCA
John Orner, Vice President, Treasury & Chief Investment Officer, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Minnesota.
Katherine Roepke, President, Roepke Public Relations
R.T. Rybak, Executive Director, Generation Next
Steve Sanders, Bicycle Coordinator, University of Minnesota
Ed Surko, Vice President, Commercial Deposit & Payment Solutions Group, U.S. Bank
Dan Sutton, Roundpeg Consulting
Janelle Waldock Director of Public Policy & Community Initiatives at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
Perry Wilson, Partner, Dorsey & Whitney LLP

Staff

Chad Belcher, Operations Technician
Angela Coe, Lead Mechanic
Anthony Desnick, Director, Greater Minnesota Strategies
Bill Dossett, Executive Director
Coreen Elwell, Accountant/Office Manager
Matt Irons, Operations Technician Ian Nancekivell, Operations Manager
Anthony Ongaro, Marketing Director
John Strharsky, IT Systems Technician
Melissa Summers, Customer Care Manager
Tami Traeger, Outreach and Sponsor Relationship Manager
Mitch Vars, I.T. Director

Additional Information

2012 Annual Report and 2013 Mid-Season Update (5.2 MB PDF)

2011 Annual Report and 2012 Mid-Season Update (1.92 MB PDF)

2012 Form 990 (3.9 MB PDF)

2011 Form 990 (3.13 MB PDF)
View the Station Map