Nice Ride
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Case Study By
Duffy & Partners
16 months
The city of Minneapolis and its mayor, R.T. Rybak
Project Title
Nice Ride Minnesota, Minnesota Bike Share Community
  • Creative director: Joe Duffy
  • Associate creative director: Alan Leusink
  • Designer: Joseph Duffy IV


Concern over unhealthy lifestyles is on the rise. Awareness of transportation and its related environmental issues remain top of mind. Forward-looking communities around the globe are working to develop new solutions that will be supported by governments, businesses and citizens alike—both for the health of citizens and the environment in which they live and work.

Consistently ranked among the nation’s best places to live by many measures, Minnesota’s twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul decided that they wanted to be leaders in developing 21st century transportation solutions and the bike sharing movement.

The city of Minneapolis and Mayor Rybak gave us, Duffy & Partners, the assignment to name and brand a bike share program for the Twin Cities in a way that would be unique to the region and set an example for similar programs around the world.

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 Duffy & Partners designed the naming and branding for Nice Ride to project the colorful spirit of a strong biking community. (Courtesy of Duffy & Partners)

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 Branded wearables were created to allow people to celebrate membership. (Courtesy of Duffy & Partners)

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Naming was inspired by a clever combination of Minnesota and biking vernacular. (Courtesy of Duffy & Partners)

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 MN Nice Ride posters were designed to provide a presence at various biking events and promotions. (Courtesy of Duffy & Partners)


We immersed ourselves in bike culture and sharing systems across the globe. We studied the Twin Cities’ metro culture. We met with bike share operations teams and funding partners, as well as other marketing collaborators to share ideas, analyze obstacles and realize opportunities.


A name was born of a double entendre combining the region’s particular style of Midwestern hospitality with a dash of biking vernacular—“Minnesota Nice” + “Nice ride!” A brand language was designed to scream fresh and friendly. The identity system and brand language were applied to marketing materials, branded merchandise, bikes and rental kiosks throughout the cities.


A challenge was to design a system that would be unique and ownable, and to develop a brand that would create intrigue and make an impact on the streets the moment it was launched.


Public awareness and support at launch generated funding to nearly double the reach of the program in less than 10 months time.

Nice Ride Minnesota demonstrated measurable benefit in shifting trips from driving to cycling after only its first season.

Introduced in 2010 with 65 stations and 700 bikes, Nice Ride Minnesota has now grown to 116 stations and 1,200 bikes, becoming the nation’s largest bike share system.

In 2011 the city added 57 new miles of bikeways to the existing 127 miles already in use. An additional 183 miles are planned over the next twenty years. By 2020, almost every city resident will live within one mile of an off-street bikeway, and within one half-mile of a bike lane.

In May 2011, Minneapolis attained gold level status with the League of American Bicyclists. The League is dedicated to promoting bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, giving awards to cities that have made impressive, measurable efforts to integrate cyclists into the community.

Pro Bono

Duffy & Partners invested the time and talent behind the creation of this program in an effort to contribute to the broader health and success of the community.

This case study is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts

Tags Design for Good sustainability branding Case study