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Nice Ride now giving pedal-assist 'e-bikes' a spin in Minneapolis

50 of the new bikes will be in circulation for a limited time.
e-bike

If biking the old-fashioned way isn't leisurely enough for you, the metro's bike-sharing program is running an experiment you might be interested in. 

Nice Ride Minnesota, the non-profit whose bicycles are available for rental in the Twin Cities during the nicer months, is rolling out a fleet of e-bikes for a limited pilot program.

Starting Monday, the test run will put 50 "pedal-assist" bicycles — which have motors activated by (as the the name suggests) the rider's own pedal power — at Nice Ride docking stations around Minneapolis. 

In case you're not familiar with this style of riding, Erik's Bike Shop breaks down how they work in this video: 

As the video points out, you can still get a bit of a workout on pedal-powered e-bikes, but they make the biking experience a lot less strenuous than it normally would be. 

"This launch is a limited pilot designed to allow Minneapolis residents to try them out and get excited for more to come in 2020," Nice Ride says in a news release, hinting that the bikes could make a comeback next year.

If you're wondering how you can take one for a spin, it shouldn't be too much of a hassle, as the e-bikes "seamlessly integrate into the existing Nice Ride system and app," the release says.

That means customers "can find, unlock, ride, and dock an e-bike just like any classic bike."

Nice Ride also says the bicycles won't come at any additional cost during the pilot program, so if you do get your hands on one, expect to pay the usual Nice Ride rates: $2 for a single ride and $6 for a day pass (an annual membership costs $75).

Of course, given that there's a limited number of the e-bikes on the street, it may take a bit of luck (and patience) to try one. 

It's not yet clear how long the pilot program will last. 

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