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Rochester has Nice Ride bikes (finally)

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The Nice Ride bike rental program arrived in Rochester on Friday.

Bicycles are available for rent at two locations where the non-profit group has set up kiosks: People's Food Co-op (seven days a week) and Peace Plaza (Monday through Friday only).

Unlike Nice Ride's Twin Cities bikes, which are rented at self-serve stations, riders in Rochester will pick them up in person from a staff member, at least for now. KTTC says if the program is successful in Rochester – if it has wheels, you might say – automated stations may be moved in later.

Nice Ride Minnesota's Rochester general manager, Kim Edens, tells the station "We're listening to requests, where people in the community want the racks and where they want to connect different places throughout the city. We would love to see a sea of orange everywhere ..."

Oh, yes. That's the other big distinction Rochester bikes have from the larger, more established fleet in the Twin Cities. Med City has orange bikes rather than green.

Working on it since 2014

In December the Business Journal noted that plans for a Rochester rollout were only inching along since talks began in the summer of 2014. A shortage of bike-friendly infrastructure was apparently a problem.

The Post Bulletin says initially the focus is on renting to visitors (Rochester has 2 million per year) but the hope is that as the residential population of the downtown area grows, use of the bikes by the locals will become more common.

Nice Ride Rochester provides a map of the area with a few suggested bike rides.

Since they're rented by an actual person, the Rochester bikes come equipped with a helmet and lock. Rates are $8 for one hour, $20 for four hours, or $30 for eight hours.

Nice Ride has been in the Twin Cities since 2010 and has a whole basketful of stations in the metro area.

There's also a program in Bemidji.

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