Get on Your Bikes and Ride Kate Metzger September 16, 2011 A Nice Ride bike sharing station has appeared on Grand Avenue between Finn and Cleveland. Nice Ride’s iconic neon bikes are available at the station for unlimited use by users who subscribe to the Nice Ride program. According to Bob Douglas, chair of the UST Sustainability Committee, the idea is to make urban life more bike-friendly and less congested with traffic.Nice Ride is designed to be used in 30-minute periods, which is why the stations are spaced within easy biking distance from one another. “So if you want to go to Macalester or up to the Merriam Park Library or over to the U of M – where there is a high density of Nice Ride stations – or even downtown Minneapolis, when you get there, you park your bike at a station without chains, locks, or having to look for a bike rack,” Douglas said. “You’re free to go about your activity and if you need a bike to ride back, you check out another Nice Ride bike and ride back to another station close to where you want to go.”A map shows the locations of all of Nice Ride’s stations, along with how many bikes are available at each one. For users with a monthly annual membership, there is no charge when the bike is checked back into a station within 30 minutes of checking it out.A number of subscription options ranging from 24 hours to 12 months are available. Until the end of September, students can sign up for an annual subscription, valid at all Nice Ride locations throughout the Twin Cities, for $30 – the regular student price is $50. Nonstudents can subscribe for a discounted rate of $40 (regularly $60). Subscriptions purchased at any time will run for an entire calendar year.According to Bill Dossett, executive director of Nice Ride Minnesota, bike-sharing programs work best in high-density residential areas where there is a lot of daytime movement and access to transit and bike-friendly infrastructure.“Our stations obviously need to be accessible to the people who want to use them,” he said, adding that stations near college campuses provide strong ridership.According to Douglas, Nice Ride has been a big success in Minneapolis and is just moving into St. Paul along the East-west corridors of Grand, Marshall and University Avenues. “Nice Ride is one of the most, if not the most, successful urban bike sharing program in the U.S.,” he said. “The Nice Ride program benefits are less vehicle congestion, less carbon pollution, more exercise with the result of healthier citizens, and more vital urban areas where you can get to shopping areas and public venues and resources within minutes without having to drive and then pay to park your car.” Nice Ride stations are available until early November when the stations are pulled for the winter. They will reappear sometime in early-April. For more information, including tips on how to rent and use the equipment, subscriptions and safety, visit the Nice Ride website.