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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Nice Ride bike sharing service resumes as warmer weather returns.

The program, starting its fifth season in the Twin Cities, will make about 1,500 bikes available at 170 stations. It's also rolling out a new 30-day low cost membership program to attract more riders and will expand its Minnesota operation this year to Bemidji, aiming at tourists and other visitors to the area.

Staff began distributing bikes late Friday afternoon to stations in the Twin Cities; it was expected to take two or three days to get all the bikes out, Nice Ride Executive Director Bill Dossett said.

In Bemidji, Nice Ride is using regular, off-the-shelf bikes to expand its sharing program rather than its signature green bicycles. That's despite a bankruptcy by its supplier, the Quebec-based Public Bike System Co., which has temporarily halted the sale of new bicycles to bike share programs. Dossett said he expects the bikes to be available again later this year.

"We'll be partnering with a number of local businesses up there in Bemidji. There'll be hotels, and the state park up there, and a number of other locations there where you'll be able to get a bicycle," he said.

"If you go to Bemidji State University you'll be able to get a bicycle," he added. "If you are living in the Twin Cities, and want to vacation, you could go up to Bemidji, stay in a hotel and use a bicycle to get around that whole weekend."

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