U of M ZAP Program

What Is the U of M ZAP Program?

The ZAP bike commuter program is a non-profit biking incentive program. Student participants receive gift cards and employees earn health insurance premium reductions just for riding their bikes! The coolest part is that once you are signed up, you don't have to record your biking data - the equipment does that for you. PTS uses Dero ZAP RFID hardware and software - an automated bike commuting recognition system pioneered at the University of Minnesota.

Where Do I Get Started?

  1. Get your bike(s) tagged at the University Bike Center near the Oak Street Ramp or watch for our mobile "ZAP Zone" tent to pop up around campus. A tag will be attached to the front wheel of your bike and you will be given a web address to register yourself. You must visit the bike center during normal business hours.
  2. Bike to campus past at least one ZAP reader. There are approximately 20 readers on campus (See a map of RFID reader locations) and several readers around Minneapolis and St. Paul, so you shouldn't have to go out of your way.
  3. Students can win cool stuff and employees can earn Wellbeing rewards. You can also form teams for competition and track your miles, CO2 saved and calories burned on your personal ZAP web page.

Why Should I Participate?

For Students: Students who complete at least 12 rides in a month will be entered in that month's drawing for one of 100 gift cards to local businesses! Past prizes have included $10 gift cards to The Hub Bike Co-op, HOURCAR, Afro Deli, The Market at Malcolm Yards, Nico's Tacos, Acadia Cafe, Chin Dian Kitchen, Qdoba, UMN ReUse Program and more! 

For Faculty and Staff: PTS and the University Wellbeing Program have teamed up to offer any UPlan medical program member an incentive to bike to work. Bicycle commuters may earn points in the University's Wellbeing Program to reduce their UPlan Medical Program rates.

Team Competitions

ZAP has a series of seasonal competitions open to any team of at least two people. Teams are split into divisions based on group size. Division 1 includes groups of 2-5 people, division 2 includes groups of 6-10 people, and division 3 includes groups of over 11 people. Each team can earn a total of 1 ZAP competition point per day of the competition, with each member earning a possible fraction of that point (A member of a 2 person team can earn .5 ZAP competition points per day, a member of a 4 person team can earn .25 ZAP competition points per day, and so on). The team with the highest score at the end of the competition period wins! 

To join a team, all you have to do is email with a team name and members. Once you become part of a team, you will be able to see the current team standings under your personal calendar. 

Prizes vary per competition, but the overall first, second, and third place teams of each competition will receive certificates and ZAP Program tote bags! Good luck and happy riding!

How Does It Work?

A small tag attached to two front wheel spokes is recognized by strategically placed ZAP readers installed in rings around downtown Minneapolis, downtown Saint Paul and the University of Minnesota.
Riders passing within 5-15 feet of the reader will hear a beep, indicating they have been "zapped." Trip data is uploaded to the web, making it accessible to the cyclist and the administrators of the program.

To get zapped (your ride logged), look where the antenna is pointing to identify the "sweet spot" of the ZAP zone. This is typically 5-15 feet out from the reader on the street side of the reader (NOT on the sidewalk side of the reader). Readers are not designed to read across an entire street. When a rider is zapped, the machine will "beep" and a green light will flash.You need only one ZAP per day to get roundtrip ride credit.

  • If a rider is right beneath the reader, chances are he/she will NOT be zapped.
  • Riders may occasionally get zapped on the opposite side of the street (consider that a bonus zap!).

Other Program Details

Newsletters: Sent out early each semester to let users know what Zap has been up to, upcoming biking events, and updates about biking around campus (infrastructure changes, construction, etc.).

Social Media: 

Learn More!

Watch a short news story about this innovative program.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I got zapped today but it's not showing up on my calendar. 

A. It can take up to an hour for the zap to be reflected on your calendar. If it's been longer than that amount of time, please email to troubleshoot.

Q. I have more than one bike. Can I have more than one tag?

A. Yes!  Just email with your new tag number to get it registered.

Q. My tag fell off. 

A. You'll need to get a new one attached. Head to the U of M Bike Center to have a new tag installed on your bike. 

Q. It's been a significant amount of time since I signed up. Do I need to re-register?

A. No, you never have to re-register for ZAP. 

Q. My Zaps are not appearing on my Wellbeing account.

A. We run about one report per month to find the eligible riders and send that data to Wellness.

Once it reaches their system, it can take another 6-8 weeks to show up in your points bank. It is a long process, but rest assured that you will get your rewards! 

Q. I've been entered in the drawing multiple times but I haven't won yet.

A. Keep it up! The drawings are random, but the odds are in your favor if you are repeatedly entered. 

Q. I've got more questions!

A. Email PTS at