The move marks a first outside of the Twin Cities metro; instead of their standard automated kiosk and row of green bikes, they’re taking a brick + mortar approach (with some orange flair).
Starting with the city of Bemidji, Nice Ride will have 100 bikes stored across four locations, all leveraging Velolet’s technology.
“If all goes well, it is a new arena for us to play in,” says Co founder Dan Cleary. “Quite a few bike-share programs are looking for ways to expand their impact outside of the big cities and we can help.”
Co founded by Cleary and Ethan Otterlei in 2011, Velolet has changed since inception, molding the model to serve manufacturers and bike shops who want a better way of managing their rental fleets. With roughly a dozen customers, Freewheel Bike and Penn Cycle are other local partners.
“We were ready to invest in developing our own system but in the end I’d rather focus on the business of getting people on our bikes rather than managing software projects,” says Mitch Vars, Nice Ride MN I.T. Director.
“Velolet could deliver a turn key system with many if not all of the capabilities we were after so it was an easy decision. They were honestly the best solution I was able to find, the fact that they’re a local company was a real added bonus for us.”