Nice signs

Minneapolis agency creates locators for Nice Ride bicyclists

By Kevyn Burger
Tuesday, September 6, 2016

There’s new guidance for cyclists who hit a Nice Ride bike sharing station and hop on one of the bright green bikes.

Persuasion Arts and Sciences, the Minneapolis creative brand consultancy, has created a series of helpful new signs to help riders find local landmarks while they’re on two wheels. The signs not only point cyclists in the right direction, they also spell out how many minutes it would take to pedal there.

“A bike gives you such intimate access to the cities,” says Dion Hughes, the award-winning art director and co-founder of Persuasion. “We found that one barrier to biking is that people who live here and visitors who use the Nice Ride bikes don’t understand how bikeable the Twin Cities can be.”

Each of the 24 new wayfinding signposts that went up in August point riders to four to six various destinations, including local landmarks, coffee shops, pizza joints and breweries. The outdoor campaign includes locations that might get a smile from locals — and a head scratch from tourists.

“Some of them are meant to provoke conversations,” Hughes says. “We set some of them up as a fun puzzle game.”

One sign directs riders to some of the area's now vanished Minneapolis landmarks (the Metrodome, Glam Slam, Nye’s Polonaise Room, the 400 Club). The University of Minnesota signs will only make sense to those most familiar with Gopher subculture, with signs that point to Mill Hell, the Nap Room and the Witches Hat. Riders in St. Paul can find out how long it takes to ride to various gangster locations, including notorious mob hangouts at The Hamm Building and The Commodore.

Persuasion expects to create additional signs in the future.

“We’re thinking about different themes. I can see Prince destinations in the future,” Hughes says.

Hughes, 54, moved to Minnesota from his native Australia in 1995, following his girlfriend (now his wife). The two had met in London and she persuaded him to visit her home.

“I arrived in Minneapolis in January and it scared me,” he recalls.

Before that, Hughes says that the only awareness that he had of Minnesota was from watching the Mary Tyler Moore Show, which featured the lead character walking around Lake of the Isles and tossing her beret in front of the IDS Tower.

“Hmmm, maybe we should do some signs on that,” he says.

Currently, Nice Ride offers some 1,800 bikes at 198 locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul.