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Bike Sharing

Portland has been studying the prospect of a bike-sharing system for several years. We’ve covered it every step of the way. Browse our previous coverage below and click a headline to read the full story.

Next-gen bike sharing company Social Bicycles swings through Portland

Friday, March 13th, 2015
justin with bike
Justin Wiley, Social Bicycles’ VP of Launch
and Operations, at Velo Cult in
Northeast Portland last week.
(Photo: Lizbon Grav)

Social Bicycles, maybe the country’s fastest-growing bike sharing company right now, sent one of its top executives on a swing through Portland last weekend.

SoBi, as it’s sometimes known, has scored contracts to equip public bike sharing systems in Phoenix, Tampa, Topeka, Boise, Orlando, Ottawa, Hamilton and Santa Monica. The company’s key innovation: “smart bikes” that can be parked anywhere inside a service zone, whether or not they’re at a dock.

Like most business development trips, the visit wasn’t publicized. But it certainly caught my attention last Friday when SoBi Vice President of Launch and Operations Justin Wiley walked into bike shop/bar Velo Cult with a SoBi bike.

“We are spending a lot of time on the road this year meeting with partners and potential clients to demo the product,” Ryan Rzepecki, CEO of the the New York-based bike sharing company, explained Thursday. “Recently, we made a quick visit to Portland to meet with a transportation planning consultant and a large employer that is interested in a private bike share.”

(more…)

Spinlister to launch user-owned bike-sharing system in Portland this summer (updated)

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Back in 2011, when she cast the lone vote against Portland’s still-unimplemented public bike sharing system, Commissioner Amanda Fritz asked a fair question: If bike sharing is such a good idea, why doesn’t the private sector do it?

It’s taken a little while. But with what looks to be a well-funded launch in Portland this summer, the company Spinlister is trying a novel idea for doing exactly that with their Smart Bike model.

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Portland’s low-car transportation web ranks 7th nationally, study says

Thursday, February 5th, 2015
abundant choices
Image by the Frontier Group and U.S. PIRG.

When the news went around last year that Helsinki was planning to “make car ownership pointless within 10 years,” it was misread in some quarters as a plan to remove cars completely from the Finnish capital.

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Now one of few large U.S. cities without bike sharing, Portland sets a new date

Friday, January 23rd, 2015
Downtown Riverside, CA
Downtown Riverside, Calif., the center of the
country’s 13th largest metro area and a city planning
to launch a bike sharing system in 2015.
(Photo: Daniel Orth)

By the end of 2015, it’s looking like 21 of the largest 25 U.S. metro areas are likely to have public bike share systems.

The four that won’t: Los Angeles, Detroit, St. Louis and Portland.

Los Angeles, by far the country’s largest holdout, announced this month that it’s on track to launch a system in 2016. Atlanta, Baltimore and Riverside, Calif., have plans to launch in 2015 but haven’t announced more specific dates.

Meanwhile, four other cities started service late last year or will in the next few months: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego and Seattle.

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Eugene bike share system lands near top of state grant list

Friday, January 9th, 2015
Bike share demo-9-8
A demo of bike share equipment in Portland, 2011.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

It’s looking likely that Eugene will be Oregon’s first city with a public bike sharing system.

After being put on ice last summer after it narrowly missed the cut for lottery-funded “Connect Oregon” grants, Eugene’s bike sharing hopes surged back in December when unallocated funds gave applicants a second chance at the coveted state grants.

On Wednesday the state’s top stakeholder committee recommended a Eugene bike share system as their #2 priority statewide for the new round of money.

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NYC investment company buys Alta Bicycle Share, hires former transit CEO

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014
Bike share ride with Oregon team-1
DC’s Capital Bikeshare system was a hit – a bigger one, it turned out, than an independently owned Alta Bicycle Share had the capacity to capitalize on.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

You might have heard by now: A local bike business that bootstrapped its way to the national stage, and then suffered a dizzying series of problems, has sold.

Alta Bicycle Share, a startup that unexpectedly became much larger than the bike planning company that birthed it after launching popular and successful systems in Boston and Washington DC, announced Tuesday that it has been purchased by New York City real estate developer REQX Ventures.

Terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed. In July, the Wall Street Journal pegged the deal at $40 million, but it’s not clear whether any of that money went to Alta’s founders or will be invested directly into the company. It’s also not clear whether Alta’s six cofounders (including local executive and former Portland bicycle coordinator Mia Birk) retain any ownership in the firm.

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Q&A: How bikes meet tech in Austin, Portland’s chillest sister city

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
spokeqa
Nate McGuire of Austin bike-tech startup Spokefly.
(Photo by Michael Andersen/BikePortland)

Nate McGuire is part of two worlds that Austin, Texas, is still pretty new at: digital entrepreneurship and biking.

His startup, Spokefly, uses a mobile app and combination U-locks to turn people’s underused bicycles into income-generating shared bikes that float around the city until their owners need them. (At that point, the company will fetch it and deliver it home.) Though it’s not yet available in Portland, he’s preparing to launch in a handful of cities soon and was in town last week to scope our city out.

When he stopped by BikePortland’s office for a talk, we saw a perfect chance to hear more about biking and related issues in one of the U.S. cities that Portland most resembles in size, culture and reputation.

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TriMet adds new Beaverton Creek bike parking after Nike bike share takes off

Thursday, July 10th, 2014
Beaverton Creek - staple bike racks
Quite a lineup of bike parking near the platform.
(Photos courtesy TriMet)

TriMet has doubled its public bike racks at Beaverton Creek MAX Station after the popularity of Nike’s new corporate bike share system swamped the station’s staples.

In May, we shared the news that bike parking at the light rail stop was sometimes being overwhelmed by the red bikes now being used by the sportswear maker’s workers as they headed to and from the company’s nearby headquarters.

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Nike launches on-campus bike share system

Friday, May 2nd, 2014
With baskets, cargo racks and step-through
crossbars, Nike’s bike share system is almost Dutch.
(Submitted photo)

For a thriving sportswear giant, Nike has seemed oddly unplugged from the active transportation revolution of the last decade. But this week, things changed a little in its Beaverton backyard.

The fast-growing company is following many companies that operate on suburban campuses by launching a corporate bike share system that’ll help employees zip among its buildings, according to a reader familiar with Nike’s campus.

The reader, who asked to remain anonymous, explained the basics of the system in an email earlier this week, adding at the time that it was “not up and running yet.”

I snagged this pic (link above) yesterday of a station at the Mia Hamm building. Each bike has a number and a lock associated with it. Here’s how it works:

(more…)

Five new bike ideas from other places that Oregon could steal

Monday, April 14th, 2014
Share the Road - North Plains
Time for Oregon to stop “Share the Road”? (This sign is on NW West Union in North Plains, a small city in Washington County.)
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

Over the last week or so, a bunch of great ideas from other cities have been washing up on our digital shorelines. Let’s take a look at a few.

(more…)

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