Summer weekends are always busy for Nice Ride, but Pride weekend is busier.
The bicycle-sharing service hit more than 4,000 trips Sunday night, breaking the previous record — set on last year’s Pride Sunday — by nearly 800 rides.
Nice Ride Marketing Director Anthony Ongaro said beautiful weather coupled with one of the city’s biggest events brought riders out in droves.
“Everything really came together,” he said.
There are 170 Nice Ride stations and about 1,550 bikes in the Twin Cities. Ridership jumps at the beginning of the season and continues to grow throughout the summer, Ongaro said. This year has been the service’s most successful yet — during the month before Pride, average Sunday ridership was nearly 2,500, compared to about 1,900 at the same time last year.
“I think we knew that [Pride] would be big,” he said. “This has been a really busy year.”
Nice Ride usage has gone up every year since 2010, when the bright green bikes arrived in the Twin Cities. This year’s increase is partly due to a new payment option for riders, Ongaro said. In addition to one-day and one-year passes, Nice Ride now offers 30-day passes for $15. It’s already a popular option, Ongaro said, and one that’s expected to gain traction as the year goes on.
In celebration of the 4,000 trips, Nice Ride handed out 30-day membership trials at stations around the Twin Cities on Monday.
To prepare for Sunday’s ridership spike, Nice Ride employees upped their efforts around downtown, Loring Park and the Pride parade route, Ongaro said. Four trucks transferred bikes from station to station — an increase in manpower from a typical Sunday, when there are usually just three trucks on duty.
An estimated 300,000 people attended the weekend’s festivities — a number that’s stayed more or less the same in recent years. Twin Cities Pride Executive Director Dot Belstler said in an e-mail that the rain kept a lot of people away on Saturday, though Sunday was “more crowded than ever.” And bike usage was heavy across the board, Belstler said, filling bike racks in Loring Park all weekend.