Our new bike share program in Minneapolis kicks off this Thursday. Over the weekend the docking stations have sprung up like daisies after a long rain. While I still remain a skeptic, I must admit that I am excited to see this infrastructure being put in place and will be happy to try it out in a few days.
The Start Tribune had this to say:
The annual celebration of alternative commuting will culminate Thursday with the official launch of a bike-sharing system in Minneapolis that organizers say will be the largest of its kind in the United States. Nice Ride will feature more than 700 neon green and sky-blue but otherwise sensible bikes docked at 65 solar-powered, automated kiosks around Minneapolis, where anyone with a credit card can check one out for a ride.
The idea, said Bill Dossett, executive director of Nice Ride MN, is to provide short-distance, fuel-free transportation (and exercise) to people who aren't bike commuters. "What it's all about is to make it easy for people who got downtown a different way to use a bike to take short trips when they're downtown," Dossett said. "They're for people who might like to take a three-mile trip to go buy something, or meet some friends, go hear music, whatever."
I'll have a full report in a few days after I take one of these bikes for a spin. I will say they are putting the bike stations close enough to make this a real viable option for the everyday person. In the meantime you can read all about the program here.