One of the most fun things to do in the spring and summer months in Rochester, Minnesota is to explore the city on a bright orange bike rented through the city's popular new Nice Ride program. Launched in 2016 as part of the city's efforts to promote health and wellness, the Nice Ride program is a good fit for visitors and residents of our sporty, active community.
"If we want to be the healthiest city in the state and beyond, multi-modal transportation has to be an important component of that," says Kim Edens, general manager of Nice Ride Rochester.
MAP YOUR RIDE
Not too many cities boast 85-plus miles of paved bike trails, but Rochester has those bragging rights.
"Most visitors and residents, myself included, are just absolutely blown away by how many beautiful trails we have alongside the rivers," Edens says. For those interested in exploring Rochester's trails, Nice Ride Rochester offers visitors maps with three great bike route options.
Edens -- who was trained as a registered dietitian and spent 20 years at Mayo Clinic working in health and wellness -- loves that the bikes offer visitors and residents an accessible, low-cost transportation method while also encouraging people to move more.
"This is a very safe and healthy way to promote activity," she says. "Even people who have joint issues, when you're on a bike, it really helps."
The bikes not only offer visitors the opportunity to exercise and explore Rochester's miles of trails, but also provide easy transportation.
And the bikes themselves are fun and easy to ride. "The seat adjusts to fit most riders, and a front basket and rear cargo rack mean it's easy to run errands," Edens says. "Meanwhile, the style is urban European, with the rider seated more upright than on a typical bike. It's a bike you'd see in Amsterdam."
The bikes have been a big hit with visitors from places like New York, Chicago, and Europe, where people are accustomed to a wide variety of transportation options. In fact, a student from Belgium requested to rent a bike for several months while working downtown.
"Visitors from other countries and big cities where bikes are ubiquitous are wanting to have this as transportation," Edens says.
The Nice Ride Rochester program kicked off with 200 bikes, with plans to add more as interest grows. Visitors can rent bikes from one of two customer service kiosks located in the city, with the option to rent for as little as one hour or as much as a full day.
Edens also plans on developing group bike rides so visitors can explore all Rochester has to offer in a way that's both safe and fun.
Learn more at www.niceridemn.org/rochester.
People's Food Co-Op, 519 First Ave. SW, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Open seven days a week.
Peace Plaza Visitor Kiosk, First Ave. SW & First St. SW, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Open Monday - Friday.