An Offer He Couldn't Refuse

Share   |  Posted Jul. 8, 2014 by Emily Wade

Commitment-Free Commuting

After a long day at work at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Ned Brooks stopped at the original Dunn Bros on Grand and Snelling to grab a quick cup of Joe with me.  Chipper as ever, Ned’s enthusiasm for Nice Ride radiated across the table, mingling with the scent of fresh beans to create an energy any Minnesotan could be proud of.  

Bike commuter from an early age

Ned grew up in a bike-friendly home in nearby Excelsior.  When Ned turned sixteen his cyclist parents gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse:  any bike he wanted in exchange for not getting his driver’s license.  “I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was eighteen,” Ned tells me.  “All my friends had been driving for a while.”

Today Ned gets around primarily through a combination of Nice Ride bikes and public transit, with some family car trips sprinkled in.  “Have I ever been 100% car-free year-round?  No.  But there was a period of time where I would take the insurance off my car April through September,” he says.  

From Montreal to Grand Old Days

New to Nice Ride, Ned used bike share for the first time while working on a project in Montreal.  “That was just awesome,” Ned tells leaning forward in his chair, “it’s a lot easier to get around on a bike than any other way.” When Ned came back to Saint Paul he was thrilled to see Nice Ride on his side of the river and signed up for an annual membership. 

Still filled with Saint Paul pride, Ned rode one of the bright green cruisers in the Grand Old Days parade this year.  Spearheading the parade organizing effort at the end of April, Ned was glad to be part of the Nice Ride group.  Yet with the rain and some minor maneuverability issues, the ride down Grand had its challenges.  “Parades are so slow,” Ned reminds me, “and there’s only so slow you can go on a bike.”     

A different kind of riding

While Ned still has his own bike, he uses Nice Ride much more often.  “A lot of people say, ‘I have my own bike, I don’t need to do that,’” Ned tells me, “but it’s a different kind of bike riding.”  For Ned, this kind of bike riding is all about commuting.  Rarely using a Nice Ride for an entire commute, Ned hops between bike stations and bus stops all the way to and from work each day to avoid wasting time between bus transfers.    

Ned explains that Nice Ride bikes make him feel less tied-down.  If Ned rides his bike to work, that means he rides it home.  But with a Nice Ride, he has more options.  In the rain, he can take a bus.  If the bus is running slow, he can grab a bike.  “As a guy I like to avoid commitments,” Ned laughs.   

“I haven’t gotten my own bike out this year, actually,” Ned realizes, “I’ve been just riding the Nice Rides.”  With so much freedom, it’s plain to see why.

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