Portland Bike Share

Portland inked a deal with Nike to launch the “Biketown” system by July 2016. But the effort to bring bike share to Portland began way back in 2007. We’ve covered every twist and turn. Browse the archives below…

Over 2,300 trips taken on Biketown bike share in first 24 hours

by on July 20th, 2016 at 2:29 pm

People are warming up to bike share in Portland.(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

People are warming up to bike share in Portland.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

It hasn’t taken long for Portland to embrace bike share. Just 24 hours after it launched yesterday Biketown is already getting lots of praise from users on social media and in the streets. And the initial statistics back up the enthusiasm.

Not everyone is a fan of course, but I’ve visited a few dozen stations already and everyone I’ve talked to has had a positive reaction. Now we have our first glimpse of data to see how the system is doing.

According to numbers released by Biketown’s operator Motivate Inc. today (at our request), there have been 2,366 trips taken on the system since it was launched yesterday at 11:30 am.

Here are the numbers in more detail (as of 11:00 am or so) along with some other fun stats: (more…)

“This is awesome!” Photos and notes from the Biketown launch event

by on July 19th, 2016 at 1:34 pm

Biketown bike share launch-29.jpg
Mayor Charlie Hales and his wife Nancy are followed by a host of other dignitaries including Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish, Nike shoe designer Tinker Hatfield and U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer on the inaugural Biketown ride on the Tilikum Bridge.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

“This is awesome!”

Those three words by Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat at the launch event for Biketown summed up many people’s feelings. It is indeed awesome to finally launch a bike share system nearly 10 years after the idea was first hatched.

Today in South Waterfront hundreds of people gathered to mark the occassion. There were the requisite dignitaries, electeds, and advocates. After a few speeches about 150 of them rode across the Tilikum Bridge and back to mark the ceremonial first ride.

Scroll down for photos and notes from the event…

It’s bike share day in Portland. Here are a few things to expect

by on July 19th, 2016 at 9:22 am

Passersby check out the Biketown bikes in the station at SW 5th and Oak.(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Passersby check out the Biketown bikes in the station at SW 5th and Oak.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The day has finally come for bike share to spring forth on the streets of Portland. We have waited nearly 10 years for this (our first post about Portland’s plans for bike share was in February 2007) and now it’s time to take the plunge.

Come on Portland. We can do this!

We’ll be at the launch party this morning and will be tracking any developments and updates as needed. But before the crazy starts, here are few things you can expect to happen today:


Even though the Portland Bureau of Transportation has done their homework and our system (run by Motivate Inc. with bikes by Social Bicycles) is relatively simple, we might see some technical glitches here or there. Keep in mind that we are launching the largest “smart-bike” system in North America (that’s a reference to the fact that the operating software is on each bike instead of at a central server/kiosk). The bikes themselves are pretty bombproof (they even have a shaft-drive which is much more reliable than a chain), but you just never know what might come up.

Will the on-board software work smoothly? How about that new app? The good news is that Biketown is a top priority for PBOT and for Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick so we’re confident they will throw everything they can at making sure the system works — and/or fixing an unforeseen glitches — from the get-go.

It’s bike share eve in Portland: Tips, new app, latest on parking, and more

by on July 18th, 2016 at 2:20 pm

Crews are working overtime to get the final stations installed. This crew worked fast on Salmon Street on Saturday.(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Crews are working overtime to get the final stations installed. This crew installed a station on Salmon Street on Saturday in about an hour!
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Less than 24 hours from now Portland will have a bike share system.

Let that sink in.

OK. Now let’s get focused and think about what we need to know about this Biketown thing. Below is a roundup of news tidbits we’ve been collecting for the past few days:

Nike announces first Biketown branding campaign: Sneaker bikes

by on July 13th, 2016 at 12:03 pm

Tucked into Nike’s exclusive $10 million bike share contract with the City of Portland is a clause that allows the company to put its considerable marketing prowess on display.

Nike has the right to place occasional “wraps” on 100 of the 1,000 Biketown bikes. This means they can change the color scheme of the usually bright orange machines in order to promote whatever they please. Today they announced their first wrap scheme.

Say hello to “sneaker bikes.”

When Biketown launches next week some of the bikes will echo the stylings of three historically significant Nike sneakers.

Here’s the announcement from Nike: (more…)

City responds after bike share station locations spur complaints

by on July 13th, 2016 at 11:01 am

Biketown station on North Mississippi and Skidmore where an on-street bike corral used to be. (Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Biketown station on North Mississippi and Skidmore where an on-street bike corral used to be.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Besides the bikes themselves, the stations are the most visible part of the Biketown bike share system that’s set to launch six days from today. And not surprisingly, as the bright orange stations are installed on streets and sidewalks throughout Portland, their presence has stoked anger and confusion.

We’ve already covered the confusion: People are locking their own bikes to the racks which are intended solely for Biketown bikes. That issue is likely to disappear once the Biketown bikes show up next week.

Then just as that story died down a bit, we heard concerns from readers via comments that the City of Portland has torn out existing bike parking corrals in front of businesses and replaced them with bike share stations. Also yesterday, I fielded a call from a southeast Portland resident who was angry when she woke up, looked outside her house and saw that the space where she used to park her car was now a row of 18 Biketown racks.

What’s going on? Here’s what the city says… (more…)

City has authority to impound privately-owned bikes parked at Biketown racks

by on July 11th, 2016 at 2:42 pm

This is how a Biketown station should look when it's empty.(Photo: M Andersen/BikePortland)

This is how a Biketown station should look when it’s empty.
(Photo: Peter Koonce)

In case you haven’t heard: Don’t lock your bike to one of the orange Biketown racks. If you do the City might cut your lock and impound your bike. Why? Because those racks are only for Biketown bikes.

After docking stations were installed last week they were almost immediately used by people looking for a place to park their own bikes. The issue forced the City to post a relatively aggressive tweet that was picked up by the local media. After that dust-up we asked the city if there was any city code that specifically covered this issue. There is.

NW Portland is about to become one of the best bike-share areas on the continent

Michael Andersen (News Editor) by on June 14th, 2016 at 11:26 am

NW Portland Week day 2-36.jpg
A bikeway crossroads: NW 14th and Johnson.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Portland’s most underperforming bike quadrant is about to get a very big investment.

Despite their proximity to jobs, northwest Portland residents are significantly less likely to bike-commute than residents of inner southeast, north or northeast Portland. And that’s exactly why Portland’s Biketown system is putting its biggest bet on northwest.

Today’s announcement of a final station map comes on the very same day that a state committee will start debating the fate of the first major bike project for northwest Portland in many years, arguably the key to getting inexperienced bike users comfortably across Interestate 405: the proposed Flanders Crossing bridge.


Should you buy a Biketown membership right now? Here’s the calculation

Michael Andersen (News Editor) by on June 14th, 2016 at 7:29 am

hello biketown is here
There are a few scenarios to consider.
(Image: BIKETOWNpdx.com)

Now that we finally know the prices to use Portland’s new public bike sharing system, it’s time to start making a decision: What do you want to commit to?

Even broken out into $12 monthly payments, $144 a year is a pretty big commitment, though far cheaper than, say, an annual TriMet pass ($1,100). And unlike TriMet or most U.S. bike sharing systems, month-to-month passes apparently won’t be an option with Biketown. You can pay $12 for 24 hours or $12 each month for a year; nothing in between. Or you can put up $2.50 for a single ride any time you need one.

So what’s the best option for you? Here’s a short BikePortland guide to the $12-per-month decision.


Portland’s bike-sharing system just started selling memberships at $12 a month

Michael Andersen (News Editor) by on June 14th, 2016 at 6:31 am

Screenshot 2016-06-14 at 6.21.52 AM
(Image: BIKETOWNpdx.com)

After 10 years, it’s happening.

Annual memberships in Portland’s city-owned, Nike-sponsored public bike sharing system went on sale at 6:20 a.m. Tuesday, and the 1,000-bike system to be known as Biketown will get one of North America’s largest-ever bike share launches on Tuesday, July 19.