FARGO — The city's bike share system that allows users to check out and return bicycles at self-serve stations will launch its fifth season this weekend.

Great Rides Bike Share will kick off the 2019 season on Sunday, April 7, weather permitting.

Preparations have already begun, and the staff of Great Rides along with their parent company, Great Northern Bicycle Co., are hard at work setting up the more than 100 bikes at 11 stations in downtown Fargo and the North Dakota State University campus.

After starting North Dakota's only bike sharing program in 2015, Great Rides has tracked 416,608 rides. They have also been honored nationally with “Most Rides Per Bike Per Day” four years in a row. Last season, they averaged 3.3 rides per bike per day.

Users check out their bike at a station, take it anywhere they want and return it to any station in the system when they’re done.

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Things are looking mostly the same for the program this year, with the only planned change being the move of the former US Bank station downtown to the NDSU campus.

Last year, Great Rides began a partnership with the public MATBUS system that will continue into this season. The partnership offers “Multipass” options that allow members to use both services for daily, monthly and yearly fees.

“The main goal of the program is to offer an easy and inexpensive way to get around downtown Fargo and the NDSU campus,” says Dylan Skoyles, director of operations at Great Rides. “In the future, I hope to expand the system both in downtown Fargo and on the NDSU campus, but also possibly into Moorhead.”

Users can choose to either rent bikes from the station for $4 per hour or purchase a membership online. Memberships include unlimited hourlong rides with daily, monthly and annual options.

Fortunately for NDSU students, this won’t be necessary — portions of NDSU student fees go toward unlimited 30-minute rides for any students who enroll in the program.