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Catching a ride on a bike; 2013 a big year for bike share

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The Twin Cities bike-sharing program, known as Nice Ride Minnesota says 2013 was a breakthrough year.

According to a Minnesota Public Radio report, the service counted more than 300,000 rides during the 2013 season. That was a 9 percent increase from 2012. In addition the group added 24 new stations tied to the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, the Hiawatha Corridor and Lake Street in Minneapolis.

The program now has 170 stations and has a total of 1,500 bikes.

Also it has kicked off a greater Minnesota initiative as it looks for cities interested in adding the program. A pilot program in Bemidji is set to launch in the spring of 2014, but the group is hoping to bring its ride to other Minnesota cities.

In its annual report, Nice Ride says that 2013 has been called the 'year of the bike share' with massive bike share systems launched this year in San Francisco, New York, and Chicago, it is clear that bike share is here to stay.

Riders can either purchase a 24-hour subscription, or an annual subscription.

But with cooler weather around the corner, Nice Ride will end the bike sharing for the season on Nov. 3. It will resume in the spring.

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"We purchased 1,200 bikes, and we still have 1,200 bikes," said Bill Dossett, executive director of the Nice Ride program, which is beginning its third season in the Twin Cities. Nice Ride is adding 130 bikes this year as part of its expansion into downtown St. Paul.