Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Nice Ride!

That post title is not in reference to the car I drive.  It's the name of the Minneapolis Commuter Biking Program - which I have fallen in LOVE with!

Bike station located behind my condo!
 For those not familiar with this program, here is how it works.  It's meant for commuters (specifically trips that take less than 30 minutes).  You buy a membership (daily, monthly, or annually) and you then have unlimited access to stations all across Minneapolis!  When you have a month or annual membership, you insert a little key and release a bike and you then can use that bike for 30 minutes, free of charge, as long as you return it to a different station within 30 minutes. 

If you don't return it within 30 minutes, you start to get charged.  It's pretty minimal for the first 1.5 hours, but after that it adds up pretty quick.  But there is no reason to accrue charges as there are bike stations all over the place so it's very simple to find another one!  Also, there is an iPhone ap that shows me the closest stations, tells me how many bikes are available, and tells me how many docking stations are available!

It's genius, really.  I have used this SO much. 

I've biked to get groceries.
I have biked home from work.
I have biked to meet my brother for lunch.
I have biked home from happy hour (sober, of course!).

I hadn't rode a bike in AGES, so it has been fun to rediscover my love of biking.  I told Amber that I feel like a little kid again! 

I purchased an annual membership and my plan is to see how much I use it and then possibly buy a bike next summer.  Maybe.  We will see.  The thing I like about this program is that you don't have to worry about locking your bike or getting it stolen or maintenance.

As soon as I started utilitizing this program, Amber gently prodded me made me get a helmet.  I feel less cute in one, but oh well!  I am riding in traffic, so safely comes first! 


Also, now that I have my membership activated, it will track information such as how far I have gone and how much gas I am saving by biking.  I just got my membership recently, so my stats are low, but I imagine they will be high by the time fall rolls around!  I will probably share my total when the program wraps up in October.   Here are my stats thus far!

Pretty cool, huh? 

This commuting bike moment is sweeping the nation!  I believe it originated in France as I remember Paris has a velib system when I was there in 2008.  I am thrilled that Minneapolis has this program available.  It most definitely cuts down on the amount of driving I do!

Do you like to bike?  Does your city have a program like this?

27 comments:

Maris (In Good Taste) said...

What an awesome program! Great exercise and saves the environment!Just be safe!

Becky said...

Dude I am SO jealous of this program! And I love that it tracks how far you've gone AND how much gas you're saving!!! Love!

Sarah said...

I think that's a great program. I noticed London has one as well. It's a great way to save the environment, get a workout and have fun!

Raquelita said...

The first time I was in the cities, I saw those green bikes and thought it was pretty damn sweet that they were there and that there were so many of them. I love that you are taking advantage of the program!

J said...

Such a cool program, sadly I don't think it would work here. We dont have much of a downtown - most of the stuff is in the suburbs so its hard to bike anywhere. Sometimes I wish I lived in a big city but then I also love the small town feel.

Marlys said...

Awesome program! Sadly, our little hamlet doesn't have any kind of program for bikers, including bike paths! But traffic is so low that it would be a total waste of money! I have been thinking about buying myself a new bike but just haven't gotten to it! I love to bike!

Carolina John said...

That's VERY cool! We don't have a commuter bike program here, but I really like the way that one operates. Especially having the iPhone app to help you track everything.

and yes, helmets should be required. You have got to be safe out there.

Zelde said...

The best thing about these schemes is that you can go one way and if it rains or your feet hurt on the way back, you just take the bus. No more worrying about having to leave a bike somehwere :)

Jess said...

This is such a great idea! I'm going to add this to my list of reasons why living in a bigger city is more ideal. I just don't see anything like that happening where I live because it's such a driving city.

Cherry Blossoms said...

The best was seeing you ride with your work dress on! Too funny and I would take advantage of this program too if we had one.

missris said...

Wow this sounds so awesome! I love that you can track your stats too--you'll definitely have to share with us as you rack up miles!

crystal said...

What a perfect and fun idea!! I was wondering what the green bikes were that I saw riding around, I thought it was some new fancy bike :) Damn St. Paul, catch up!

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

What a fabulous program! I love that you're able to take advantage of it. Another advantage of it over owning a bike is you can use it for one-way trips. So, for example, if it's sunny in the morning, but raining by the afternoon, you can ride to work without worrying about having to bike home in the rain!

Lisa-Marie said...

London has a similar bike program, and it works so well. extra exercise and your get there quicker!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

That's awesome! I think every city should have one of those. I had to look it up, but San Francisco doesn't have one yet, but has it in the works for next year!

I love the picture of you in the helmet and DRESS!!! Is that your biking outfit?

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

Hahaha YES! Safety first!!! I for one think you look super cute in your dress + helmet :)

I LOVE that program you guys have and I really wish we had something like it here. I really enjoy biking TO work but don't always enjoy biking home (aka up a giant hill) and I think I would bike around in general more often if we had something like that. It would be nice to walk to the grocery store with my backpack and then bike home with my groceries. I can't wait to test out this program when I come visit!!!

I think you should keep using this program for commuting next year but look into getting a road bike for outdoor cross-training! :-)

Erin from Hey, Soul Sister! said...

This sounds TOTALLY awesome! We, of course, have NOTHING like this in our small town--but I DO have a bike and I'm thinking I need to start using it a little more to get around :) The pic of you with the helmet on is TOO cute!

Mandy said...

I love this! I remember seeing these bikes last August when I was there. I think its genius that you can still ride a bike but not have to worry about bike maintenance/storing/locking etc.

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

This program is so cool! Des Moines has the same thing and it's pretty popular!! The only problem it is only downtown and I am way out west, so for me to take advantage it would have to be for a leisurely bike ride, not to and from work.
I would love to start biking to classes... some people in my program do it, but I think I might have to save it for next year considering I don't even own a bike! ;)

pinkflipflops said...

that is awesome! i wish it was easy to travel around here by bike/walking but we live out in the boonies.

Stephany said...

I WANT THIS! My city offers nothing like this and they really should because we have a high level of biking accidents and I think by making a system, it would raise some type of awareness for biking safety.

I have wanted a bike for a long time and having this little system would be perfect.

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

This is a really awesome program and obviously you would love something that started in France haha. It's a great idea though especially because bikes are not really cheap, so its such a great way to get people into biking!

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

This program is genius, seriously! I Love that you're taking advantage of it and you know the manfriend would be proud as well. :) Europe had these things in several of the major cities I visited. Such a great idea. Yes, a helmet is a must. I get a little heated when I see people riding with their helmets dangling on the handlebars. Save the noggin'!

Abby said...

That is very very cool, Lisa! You're becoming quite the city slicker! Envious!

Can I pretend that you don't ride home sober on your bike? I can just picture Lisa...tipsy...riding her bicycle...hiccupping away... hehehe

I love biking - but I will be honest and say I haven't hopped on the road bike since we went down Mount Lemmon going like 40 mph. That freaked me out for life!

I am glad you got a helmet! Very essential! And you look cute :)

B and B said...

I am glad you are wearing a helmet!!!
I have seen these bikes. Great program.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I like to bike ... but ... ummmm, this is embarrassing ...


I bike on the sidewalk.

Shoshanah said...

I remember my parents telling me about this program in Paris a while back. I love the idea of it, but would never use it because I'm not a big bike fan.

And as for my city, It is definitely NOT bike friendly. First there's a lack of sidewalk throughout the entire city and no real bike paths. But I am friends with a few people who are trying to make Baton Rouge more bike friendly.