Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


A day in the life of Nice Ride bikes

For Twin Cities Bike Walk Week, we’ve animated a day in the life of Nice Ride bikes around the cities.

The green bikes have come to downtown St. Paul with this week’s installation of 25 Nice Ride stations, just in time for the Twin Cities Bike Walk Week.

It’s the latest expansion of the popular bike rental system that lets subscribers pedal between automated, solar-powered stations scattered throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The system began in Minneapolis two years ago. With the St. Paul expansion, there are now 146 stations with 1,328 bikes available stretching between Minneapolis’ Uptown and St. Paul’s West Side.

Daily, weekly or annual subscriptions are required, allowing free rides of up to 30 minutes, with trip fees added after the first half-hour.

Below, we’ve animated a day in the life of Nice Ride bikes in the Twin Cities. Click play and zoom into the map to see how bikes move between stations throughout a 24-hour period (based on 2011 data).


  • Press to start or pause the animation.
  • Press for fullscreen version.
  • 2011 station; press to see name.
  • Press to zoom out map.
  • Press to zoom in map.
  • Model routes taken by cyclists over 2011, weighted by popularity.

Bike routing is not actual; the routes are modeled with OpenStreetMap data weighted for cyclists. The animation is a model of what was determined to be the "most average" day of 2011 which was May 18, 2011 at 4:30AM to May 19, 2011 at 4:30AM.