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Gearing up for gears: Nice Ride Minnesota to offer daily, weekly or yearlong bike rentals

BEMIDJI — This summer, Bemidjians and visitors will have a chance to bike around town without owning a bike.

Last fall, Nice Ride Minnesota selected Bemidji as a community to expand its bike-sharing program outside the Twin Cities metro area.

On Tuesday night, Bemidji City Council members received an update on the program, which organizers earlier said they hope to start sometime in May.

Tony Desnick of Nice Ride Minnesota updated the council on how the bike-sharing and rental program, which has proved successful in Minnesota as well as other cities across the country, might work.

Some of the questions raised by council members included the overall rental costs for people and how best to do signage to help people understand the program, as well parking and other issues.

One question that couldn’t be answered directly however, was just when the program would start and stop.

“Well, that will have to be decided depending on when the winter begins and ends,” Desnick said.

Also brought up was the idea of bringing about 20 extra bikes for seasonal, and not just daily or weekly, use.

“Some people have an old bike in their garages that have deflated tires and need to be fixed,” Desnick told council members. “So they may not want to invest $700 for a new bike. But for about a $100 a year, they can rent a bike that is up to grade.”

He added they would ask those who rent a seasonal bike to make that they used the rental, such as riding to work or shopping at least once a week, so that they can promote the program but also to ensure bikes just don’t sit after being rented.

South shore survey

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, council members officially received the results of a mail-in survey on options on south shore cleanup and development.

The survey was conducted by Marketing Assistance and Research Solutions at BSU. A total of 51 percent of those who responded were in favor of an option that includes cleanup of both the lake shore and the lake bottom, according to MARS representatives Madison Lewison and Chris Vinderslev, who presented the survey’s findings to council members Tuesday.

There were 824 responses received of the 3,056 questionnaires mailed for a a 27 percent response rate. The margin of error for the survey was 3.4 percent.

Options included just cleaning the lake shore, while the other option had cleanup of both the lake shore and lake bottom.

Option A was for the cleanup of the lake shore and lake bottom, at a cost of about $2.2 million to $3.4 million, whereas Option B was only the cleanup of the lake shore at a cost of about $1.7 million to $2.6 million. Twenty-seven percent of respondents preferred neither option. The average age of those surveyed was 58.35. Of those surveyed, 29.9 percent were from Nymore. City Council members actually received the survey at last week’s council work session.

Joe Froemming

Joe Froemming is a page designer for Forum Communications Co. You can read his blog at

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