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Where to rent a bike in Portland

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 19th, 2009 at 11:34 am

Portland is a bike town. Sure, it's not Copenhagen or Amsterdam (yet), but increasingly, when people come here they want to "Do as the Romans do" -- and in Portland that means get on a bike.

But if you don't have friends in town that can set you up with a bike, and you don't want to pay the going rate for a used one (which some feel is way too expensive), renting is an excellent option.

Here at BikePortland, we get a steady stream of inquiries about where the best bike rental shops are. So, we finally decided to try and get a good, solid list together. Below is a list of shops in Portland that rent bikes and a bit of information about them.


Clever Cycles (908 SE Hawthorne)

Opening Day at Clever Cycles
(Photo © J. Maus)

Located conveniently just a few blocks east of the Hawthorne Bridge, Clever Cycles is the place to go if you need to rent a bakfiets cargo bike, a high-quality (Brompton) folder, or even an Xtracycle or well-made Dutch city bike.

Rates

Bakfiets (front-loading cargo bike): $7/hr, $35/day or $75 for three days.
Brompton (folding bike): $7/hr, $35/day or $75 for three days

More info
If you buy a bike like you’ve rented at time of return, they will waive the rental fee. Call them for current availability - (503) 334-1560 or go online for more info.


Waterfront Bicycles (10 SW Ash Street, #100)

Waterfront Bicycles started as a rental-only business. They've now moved closer to downtown and are a full-service shop in addition to having a full fleet of rental bikes available. They rent everything from cruisers to tandems and even stuff for kids like trail-a-bikes.

Rates
Hybrid bike*: $9/hr, $17 for 2 hrs, $23 for 3 hrs, $28 for 1/2 day, $35 for full day, $40 for 24 hrs, $100/wk
*Rates vary for other types of bikes

More info
All rentals include a helmet, lock, and bicycle bag. Reservations can be made by calling (503) 227-1719 or by filling out an online form. Check out their website for more details.


UPDATE, 6/7/12: Citybikes no longer offers rentals


Citybikes Coop (1914 SE Ankeny)

One of the bikes in the Citybikes fleet.

Citybikes has a fleet of hybrid bicycles available for rent.

Rates
$20 for 1/2 day (returned same day before closing), $35 for 1 day, $45 for 2 days, $55 for 3 days ($10 per day for each additional day).

More info
Citybikes advises that you call (503) 239-0553 ahead of time to check availability, especially in the summer months. All bikes come with rear racks, fenders, and generator lights. Locks, helmets, and maps are also available at no additional charge. More info online.


Veloce Bicycles (3202 SE Hawthorne)

Veloce is the place to go if you need a nice, race-quality road bike.

Rates
Masi Vincere (avail. in 51, 53, 56, 58, 60cm): $80 for 3 days, $150 for 7 days
Masi 3VC 105 (avail. in 54, 56, 58cm): $80 for 3 days, $150 for 7 days

More info
Veloce also rents a hardcase for traveling with their rental bikes for $50/week. More info online.


Kerr Bikes/Wheel Fun Rentals (1020 SW Naito Parkway)

New surreys for rent in Waterfront park-102
A surrey from Kerr Bikes on the
Waterfront.(Photo © J. Maus)

Located right in Waterfront Park, just south of Salmon Street Fountain, Wheel Fun rents out a wide range of pedal-powered vehicles -- from 8-seater surreys to standard road bikes and tandems.

Rates
Prices vary. Check out full price list here.

More info
Wheel Fun is run by Kerr Bikes and all profits go toward the Albertina Kerr Centers a 100-year old nonprofit agency supporting youth and families with mental health challenges and children and adults with developmental disabilities. More info at KerrBikes.org.


Everybody's Bike Rentals (305 NE Wygant St.)

Conveniently located one block South West of Alberta and MLK in NE Portland, Everybody's Bike Rentals rents vintage 80s and 90s mid-level American and Japanese road and commuter bikes that come with a lock, lights, helmet and bike map.

Rates
Commuter: $25/Day $60/3 Days $90/Week $245/month
Road Bike: $30/Day $75/3 Days $110/Week $295/month

It’s best to call 24hrs in advance if you need anything specific. (503) 358-0152 Website


Cycle Portland Bike Tours and Rentals (117 NW 2nd Ave)

Offering a wide selection of single speed, modern hybrid, and road bikes for rent. Located downtown next to the car-free waterfront bike path. All rentals include helmets, locks, and if you rent overnight, lights. Free Portland bike maps available along with expert route advice. This company also offers guided sightseeing tours around Portland for those who would like an experienced leader to take them on a ride.

Rates
Single-speed bikes: $5 /hour $20 /day $50 /three day $80 /week
Multi-speed hybrid bikes: $10 /hour $20 /day $75 /three day $100 per week
Road bikes: $15 /hour $35 /day $85 /three day $120 /week

More info: Rental and tour reservations available on line. Please contact info@portlandbicycletours.com with any questions or check out PortlandBicycleTours.com.


Pedal Bike Tours (133 SW 2nd Ave.)

Pedal Bike Tours offers a wide range of bikes for rent, including kid trailers, and kid bikes. This company is also known for its excellent guided tours. Tours are just a few bucks more than the rental price and if you go on a tour, you can rent the bike for just $18 for 24 hours (1/2 off regular rental fee).

Rates
City bike: $9/hr, $27 for 4 hrs, $36 for 24 hrs, $90/week
*Rates vary for other bikes

More info
All rentals include a helmet and a lock. Reservations can be made online. See their website for full details.


Fat Tire Farm

Fat Tire is a legendary off-road shop. Situated right near Forest Parks roads and trails, they are also the perfect place to rent a mountain bike. They have a standard mountain bike with a front shock, and a full-suspension model available for rent.

Rates
Giant XTC 2: Flat rate for up to 24 hours, $40
Giant Trance X3 (full-suspension): Flat rate for up to 24 hours, $60.00

More info
They don't take reservations, so it's first come, first served. Check their website for full details.


Western Bike Works

Western has a good selection of both high performance road bikes and more city-oriented cruiser/commuter bikes. Check out their website for more info.


Riding a bike is a great way to enjoy Portland! If you know of other bike rental resources in the Metro area, please contact us or share more info in the comments below.

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Comments
  • Jessica Roberts August 19, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Don't forget that some hotels have loaner bikes, either for free or to rent, as well. Last I checked, the Ace, Jupiter, Hotel Monaco, and Aloft all had some sort of guest bikes.

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  • Options Guy August 19, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Over at GettingAroundPortland.org, in the Transportation Options -> Bicycles section, we have a list of shops that rent bikes as well.
    More shops are listed, though less specific information is given. Check it out here:
    http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?c=34812&a=71974

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  • Porteur August 19, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Fat Tire Farm rents both Mountain & Road bikes. Perfect for a friend or business associate that wants to do a bit of offroading while they visit. I've got a coworker in town right now that rented a bike from them instead of a car and I am taking him into FP tomorrow AM.

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  • Jim August 19, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    If the bike is used as primary transportation over a week or more stay, then consider shipping your bike and assembling there. The benefits of having a (presumably) mechanically sound bike geometry-correct to you are subtle but appreciated. If you're not mechanically inclined, having a local bike shop take it apart and a destination shop put it together can make for a (more expensive) option.

    At summer car rental rates it's still a bargain.

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  • Carl August 19, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Just to add to Jessica's comment: Hawthorne Hostel also rents great bikes to guests and, though I forget the exact price, their rates are SUPER cheap.

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  • Russell August 19, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    I know the economics for each are different, but I do find it interesting I can rent a car for about 0.25% of it's value per day, but a bicycle rents for more than 5% of it's value per day in most cases.

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  • dennis August 19, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Is there anyone who rents cyclocross bikes?

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  • KruckyBoy August 19, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    I am on the same wave length as Russell. It seems strange that I can find rental cars for as cheap as $25 a day (less when rented for 7+ days), yet only one place in town rents a bike for as little as $20. It also seems interesting that Veloce will rent you a really nice bike for ~$21/day when rented for 7 days while lots of lesser bikes cost as much as $35/day. $35 seems really steep to me when an all day trimet ticket is ~$5.

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  • Alan August 19, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    I rented a nice, late-model Sparta city bike with 8-speed planetary hub, sturdy luggage rack and light* this June in Groningen, NL, from the bike shop conveniently located at the train station. IIRC, it was about 8 euro (~$11) per day including optional damage insurance. I know that's a reflection of regional economics as well as bike culture, and I hope that Portland bike renters are able to make a go of it at whatever rates they charge, but...well...like the "bicycle inflation" article, it is interesting to reflect on those differences.

    * http://i839.photobucket.com/albums/zz315/_Alans_Pics_/Sparta_bike.jpg

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  • Jessica Roberts August 19, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Alan #9 I agree - I have never understood why bike rental has to be so expensive. I was thinking about renting a Dutch city bike from Clever for the last few months of my pregnancy but at over $100 per week there's no way that makes sense. Heck, it would make more sense to BUY a Dutch bike and sell it later at that cost!

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  • Schrauf August 19, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    I agree the car vs. bike rental rates appear illogical. However, a roughly ridden bike usually does not survive as long as a roughly driven car, it needs maintenance more often compared to a car(although such maintenance is less expensive), and there is probably some level of increased damage and liability risk for the lessor compared to a car (you don't need insurance to rent a bike). These items explain at least some of the discrepancy.

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  • Schrauf August 19, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    You are also viewing bikes purely as transportation. In that case, $35 does not make sense. But, if you also have more fun on a bike...

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  • beth h August 19, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    EVERYTHING about the cost of making and supporting autombiles and an auto-based infrastructure, is SUBSIDIZED through the nearly-incestuous relationships between governments, large corporations and oil producing countries. The prices you pay to rent, buy, repair -- and drive! -- a car are all reduced to far below their real monetary cost in large part because of these decades-long subsidies.

    Bicycles enjoy no such subsidy.

    I'm willing to live with that until we can change the paradigm -- or until it collapses under its own weight. Have a little faith, stop quibbling about percentages, and enjoy the sublime view from the saddle of your [rented] bicycle.

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  • Porteur August 19, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Dennis,

    I think Waterfront bikes rents cyclocross bikes. At least they used too.

    Also Sellwood Cycles used to, but I checked their site and it doesn't appear that they do anymore... You could give them a jingle though.

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  • stanley August 19, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    damn......it is so expensive for a simple bicycle....

    i don t get it...as expensive as a car rental.

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  • KruckyBoy August 19, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    I'm willing to live with that until we can change the paradigm

    Maybe you are, but I can guarantee a lot of visitors to Portland are not. I surely wouldn't spend $35 on a bike rental.

    I think having low cost alternatives to cars would be a great way to change the paradigm you mention above. Let people see the benefit of going by bike. Based on the rental prices above the renter would be paying for the bike entirely after only 17 days of rental (assuming a $600 hybrid bike was rented out at $35 / day- bakfiets not included). Even with maintenance cost, I assure you that is a cushy set up for the renter. It comes out to $1,050 / month. I don't understand why something has to be dis proportionality expensive just because it is 'good' for the earth.

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  • ScottG August 19, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    When you rent a car you either have to have your own insurance or buy some from the rental company; this helps reduce the risk that car rental companies are making when the rent vehicles. This could be one reason why bike rentals are proportionally more expensive.

    There seems to be demand for ultra-cheap bike rentals in Portland. Someone should try to fill this need and report back on how it goes.

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  • Jessica Roberts August 19, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    I don't understand this insurance argument. It seems to me that in no case - damage to bike, liability for damage to others by user of bike - is the bike shop liable, right? The user is on the hook. So why would that make the rental more expensive? Or do rentals come with some sort of theft/damage/liability coverage policy I am not aware of? Because if yes, I want to get one of those for me on my regular bike, please.

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  • Ruby August 19, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    yeah Waterfront rents cross as well as road bikes.

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  • PDXCyclist August 19, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    I think most of you are too focused on the bike as transportation. If you go on an amusement park ride like, say, the "slingshot" you are paying for the experience and the fun of it. Likewise if you go on a vacation and want a fun, interesting way to explore the city then doing it by bike is a lot more fun then renting a car and going from place to place, or even walking from place to place.

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  • Kris August 19, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    The perceived high price is relative... renting a snowboard or a pair of downhill skis will also set you back $20-30/day. These are basically leisure services that include a convenience premium: the assumption is that the customer is willing to pay a premium for the convenience of not having to bring their own gear with them and having a bike readily available whenever they need one.

    I don't believe that insurance plays any role in the price of rental bikes. Like with snowsport equipment, the seasonal nature of the business is likely a much bigger factor. The market for rental bikes is probably 95% with out-of-town visitors who would only rent bikes when the weather is nice. I guess that is much less a factor for car rentals. Other things that might help explain the lower prices for rental cars (and for rental bikes in the Netherlands) are economies of scale and a more competitive rental market.

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  • BURR August 19, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Hey, bike rentals ain't cheap in San Tropez either (believe me, I checked when I was there...)

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  • Schrauf August 19, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    I think insurance has some impact to rental rates compared to cars. When a car is rented, the owner obtains proof of insurance and any property damage or other liability is very likely to be paid.

    With bikes, no insurance exists, and in the event of damage the owner must sue to recover. That takes time and money. The risk of such therefore results in a small premium in rental rates, compared to cars.

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  • Coldswim August 20, 2009 at 7:36 am

    Has no one heard of brightneighbor.com? It's what we use to borrow a bike when family is in town and it's free.

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    • David August 21, 2013 at 1:13 pm

      Great tip - THANK YOU. I'll let you know if brighneighbor works out for me.

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  • Catherine August 20, 2009 at 9:19 am

    I think the bike vs car rental thing is a threefold issue. (1) car hegemony (so easy I almost didn't include it)

    (2) economies of scale. Most car rental places are national franchises with fleets in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. Combined with issue three (coming next), they can buy these cars for a substantially lower cost than market price

    (3) I don't know for sure, but I'm fairly convinced that the car rental places get some sort of tax incentive or greatly reduced (or free?) cars. National car rental outfits almost exclusively (in my limited experience) have American-made models. There's got to be something to that--based on how the US companies are doing in the free market, it's not the market demanding American car rentals. Working in a legislative library and all, I should be able to look up the tax incentive part fairly quickly, and will if I get some more free time. But yeah. I think if the major bike companies started giving "loaner bikes" to bike shops specifically for rental (aka advertisement) purposes, maybe the rates would go down. Not going to happen though because the person who stands to gain from this advertisement is the bike shop--if the person buys that kind of bike, it would likely be through them. Electra (or whoever) might not notice an extra sale here and there but the bike shop owner will, and that's why it's kind of on the shop owners to do this now.

    Oh and there's a hidden #4--plain old supply and demand. If people are going to pay $35/day to rent a bike, that's what people will charge. No way people pay $350/day to rent a car, so the rental companies have to charge lower.

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  • Dave August 20, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Holy shit--Veloce's road bike rentals are a stone bargain! And there's also a place to rent folding bikes. That would be great for someone who wants to try true multi-mode travel.

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  • GlowBoy August 20, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    Great lineup of pavement-oriented bike rentals, but even if it was merely an oversight it is unfortunately typical of Portland's mountain-bike-unfriendly bike community that no place to rent mountain bikes was mentioned.

    I can understand the perspective that mountain bikes aren't as relevant because Portland offers virtually no opportunities to do actual mountain biking without getting in a car and driving somewhere else, but that's the problem.

    In any event, while it mostly doesn't meet the common definition of mountain biking, Forest Park is an lovely place to ride a bike on something other than pavement that is very attractive for out of town visitors, and is within blocks of Fat Tire Farm. Thanks to Porteur for pointing them out, and could the original post be edited to include them?

    Hi GlowBoy, I strongly disagree that my oversight is something "typical of Portland's MTB unfriendly community". "MTB's aren't relevant"? Haven't you seen all of our coverage about Forest Park/Gateway Green and other MTB issues and events? But thanks for your comment. I will indeed update the post with the Fat Tire Farm info ASAP. Cheers. -- Jonathan

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  • Toby August 20, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    I have to say that though $35/day for a rental seems steep in general, it's quite a deal for a Bakfiets (1% of the purchase price, about). I've steadfastly resisted the urge to buy a cargo bike, but now I'll at least have to take one out and run a few errands...

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  • GlowBoy August 20, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Jonathan, you're right and the "typical" part of the comment was out of line. I do appreciate the strong coverage you've given around Forest Park and Gateway Green.

    It does seem like in the past many of those stories have generated a fair number of comments along the lines of "why should we care about mountain biking / recreational riding, when transportation cycling is more important," and I do think the attitude that "mountain bikes aren't relevant" is still fairly common in Portland. But I should know better than to associate the point of view of those who post comments with you or the operations of bikeportland.org, or to insinuate a connection with Fat Tire not being on the list. Sorry.

    I hear you about the sentiment among some about mountain biking. And yes, I agree that it still exists with some of the more hardcore transportation-oriented folks. You'll be happy to know that PBOT, Parks, etc... are really keen on MTB'ing and they seem very committed to getting more opportunities opened up.

    I've updated the story with Fat Tire Farm's info. Cheers. -- Jonathan

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  • Doug August 31, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    My wife and I visited Portland back in January. We stopped by a few shops to check rental prices and were amazed at how pricey it was. Doing the math for our 6 day visit, it would've been less money for us to each buy a new low-end bicycle from a large chain store and just donate it before we left than rent one from any of the bike shops in town. We used the TriMet services the whole visit but didn't get to do any spontaneous exploring because of it.

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  • eli bishop September 3, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    you posted this just in time to plan a little bike jaunt for my partner's parents visiting from arizona! thanks to this post, we had a really lovely day biking to oaks park on the springwater corridor trail. we made a great impression!

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  • Tyler September 18, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Just came in from fort collins and I must say I am disappointed that p town offers no free bike rentals as they do in my fair city. After hearing everyone go on and on about how "bike friendly" this community is, I find out it costs at least $100 per week to actually use a bike. Oh well, all your bike lanes look pretty from the sidewalk...

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  • Sylvia July 11, 2012 at 7:24 am

    These prices might be okay if you're in town for a weekend or even a week (though I don't dispute earlier comments regarding the incongruently high rates of bike rentals vis-a-vis the total value of the bike), however are there any longer term rental options? For example, I am going to be in Portland for two months and would love to rent a bike out for that period. It is looking like I might need to simply buy a used bike instead... which after reading the article linked above also doesn't seem promising!

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  • [...] Everybody’s doing it. Really though, they are. Rain or shine, a bike seems to be the appropriate method of transportation in this city, taking you from point A to B in a peddle. If you didn’t happen to bring your own bike along for a ride, you can easily find one here. [...]

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