Blue Cross drops $1.5 million money bomb on Nice Ride
Imagine if you will the mayor of Minneapolis, R.T. Rybak, riding a lime green bicycle around City Hall, followed on same by Blue Cross CEO Pat Geraghty and the Do Groove TV commercial guy -- the dude in the sweater vest bustin' out his hip hop moves in a doctor's waiting room.
Rybak and the Do Groove guy.
No, you're not halucinating.
They were all celebrating the successful first season of the city's bike share program, Nice Ride Minnesota. In the 150 days it was up and running this summer and fall, the non-profit notched more than 100,000 rides, just two out of something like 700 bikes went missing, and only one got dinged up.
Rybak was positively giddy, telling those assembled that he was proud the program decided to "go big, or go home," and asserted that Minneapolis is second to no other American city when it comes to launching and sustaining a bike share program.
Geraghty was also there to announce that Blue Cross wanted to drop a $1.5 money bomb on the program so that next year it can expand into new corners of Minneapolis, and cross the Mississippi River into St. Paul.
But there's a catch (there's always a catch): The Blue Cross largesse is a challenge grant. It will kick in if Nice Ride can pull together the majority of the funds it needs to expand its fleet of bikes and kiosks.
Public meetings are now under way to start working out how and where to expand the network of kiosks and bikes.
The lime green cruisers are here to stay, it seems.