One of the biggest things people from other cities tend to notice about Minneapolis is all the bikes.
"Jeez," they say, "why does everyone bike so much?" (Or at least that's what I imagine they say.)
Minneapolis is one of the best cities in the nation for biking - we often trade back and forth with Portland, OR, for first and second place every few years - and it pioneered NiceRide, which is often seen as the best public bike sharing program in the nation and was the model for New York's CitiBike. Minneapolis has 92 miles of on-street bike lanes and 85 miles of off-street trails.
I didn't have a bike on campus my freshman year. I lived in a residence hall that was right in the heart of campus, so whatever I needed was always close at hand. For my second year though, I moved a bit farther off campus and I needed something to help cut down travel time.
Now, I bike every day. I bike to work, to the grocery store, to concerts, and to friends' houses. It's a great way to get around quickly, it's more flexible than bus schedules, a LOT cheaper than taking a taxi or driving, and a good way to get some exercise.
For an extra incentive, the University even has a program that gives rewards for biking to faculty, staff, and students. For faculty and staff, the rewards are tied to health insurance, but students have "sweeter" rewards - gift cards for coffee, groceries, and frozen yogurt.
It works by having a small ZAP tag installed on your front wheel. Whenever you ride by one of the ZAP readers - which are located all around campus - you log a "zap" for the day. If you zap 12 days in a month, you are entered into the drawing for gift cards.
There's still work going on to make Minneapolis and the U of M even more bike friendly though. The Dinkytown Greenway opened on August 4, 2013, and will provide a direct, bicycle-only route all the way from East Bank to the St. Paul campus.