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Video: Through the drive-through, by bike

Posted by Elly Blue (Columnist) on September 21st, 2009 at 11:44 am

A month ago, local eco-fast food chain Burgerville announced a new policy that would allow people to use bicycles in the drive-through lanes at all of their 30 something locations, after a woman was denied service on her bike broadcast the incident online.

Last Thursday they sealed the deal with a promotion at their Hawthorne location -- anyone showing up by bike got a free blackberry milkshake with their purchase during a two hour window.

Joe Biel and I decided to head over there with his video camera to get some milkshakes, see how it worked, and talk with the officials on hand. Here's the movie that resulted:

Drive Thru Mayhem from Joe Biel on Vimeo.

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It seems there is still some development to be done on the "cycle-thru" concept. I liked the convenience of not having to lock up, and it was nice not to have to wonder whether or not I would be served, but sitting behind an idling car while waiting for my food was a pretty substantial downside.

It'll be interesting to see if other companies follow Burgerville's lead and start changing their bikes in the drive-through policy.

Oh, and this didn't make it into the video, but the Burgerville honcho also told me that they're looking into installing new bike parking at all their locations (most currently have only a wave rack, and a few have none at all.

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Comments
  • Shane September 21, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Hmmm, maybe a special "cycle-track" style, segregated bike-thru would be more pleasant. Wonder who the first business to do that will be?

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  • Ed September 21, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Letting bikes use the drive through is so much better than letting cars sit there and blast fumes into the air as they idle while waiting to get to the pickup window. Bravo!

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  • Ivana Tinkle September 21, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Just when you think Burgerville couldn't get any better, they do this!

    This has to be the clincher on pro-local business, yay for Burgerville for being a trendsetter, pro bike and thinking outside the box!

    Now, off to BV on my bike for a burger and shake! Mmmmmm!

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  • kww September 21, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    The video was great, until you blew that stop sign right after the drive through order zone!

    I also liked Elly's handlebars!

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  • bikieboy September 21, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    make mine Burgerville!

    the first bicyclist in the video at the pick-up window sure looked a lot like former city commish Mike Lindberg..? he used to live in Ladd's...?

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  • [...] BikePortland → [...]

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  • Steve B. September 21, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Great video. There's something a little unsettling about Burgerville CCO's attitude about skaters and rollerbladers. Who says they don't follow the same rules? Thanks for putting this together!

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  • Doug Klotz September 21, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    It's great that Burgerville has responded to bicyclist pressure.

    This solves, at least for bicyclists, the issue of how to buy food at fast-food when only the drive-up window is open. Many fast-food places close their inside seating in late evening, but continue selling to auto drivers. Maybe they will follow Burgerville's lead and serve bicyclists.

    The next step in Portland would be to get fast-food places to acknowledge pedestrians, "wheelchair users", as this fellow put it, etc.,so they will to be able to buy food the same hours auto drivers (and now bicyclists) can.

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  • Anonymous September 22, 2009 at 11:17 am

    This is great and makes perfect sense.

    My local branch of Wells Fargo, after permitting me to use the drive through many times (probably due to management oversight), eventually refused to serve me and requested that I come inside.

    Adding insult to injury-- there's no bike rack and only a single handicapped parking sign.

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  • BJD September 22, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    I noticed how convenient the SE Powell at SE 92nd Ave. Burgerville is for the I-205 bike path cyclist. It's just right there.

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  • Pete September 22, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    I'm still digging this guy's job... Chief Cultural Officer, wears a Hawaiian shirt to work... bet his day at the office is much less stressful than mine! Rock on Burgerville!

    I wanna be "Vice President of Employee Entertainment."

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