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Springtime means bikes! Nice Ride announces launch of 2017 season

Bikes will be available beginning April 3.
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It's getting warmer, which means you’ll soon be able to hop on one of the signature lime green bicycles from Minnesota's seasonal bicycle-sharing system.

Nice Ride Minnesota announced the launch of its upcoming season. Bikes will be available to rent in the Twin Cities beginning April 3.

Nice Ride also has programs in Rochester and Bemidji – where the bikes are orange, not green.

The cost varies depending on how long you keep the bike. It's $3 to rent a bike for a half hour, or $6 for a 24 hour pass. Riders can also pay for monthly or yearly memberships. More about pricing here.

If you're a frequent user, it's probably worth it to download Nice Ride's app. It'll help you find the nearest station, plan your trip, and even pay for a rental without having to use the kiosk. Plus, a timer will track how long you've been riding, so you can avoid extra fees.

It's important to note that there are some rules for renting the bikes. Nice Ride users must be at least 16 years old, and the bikes are designed to accommodate riders who are at least 5 feet tall.

And while you're not required to wear a helmet, Nice Ride says you really should.

You can read more frequently asked questions here.

Success of the program

This year marks the 8th season for the bike sharing program, Nice Ride said. The program launched in Minneapolis in 2010, and now has over 200 stations in the Twin Cities.

And for the second year in a row, the organization is making a bigger effort to help people with their mental health. The Star Tribune says Nice Ride has partnered with Hennepin County Medical Center to provide free bike memberships for people dealing with mental illness.

Riding a bike can certainly be fun and therapeutic, so it's no wonder bike sharing systems are becoming really popular in the U.S. From 2011 to 2016, MPR says  bike share usage in America grew from 2.3 million trips yearly to 28 million.

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