Entrepreneur finds niche with temporary bike parking

BikeRacker debut-1.jpg

BikeRackers in action.
(Photos J. Maus)

If you think it’s hard to find a bike parking spot around town, try finding one at an event (especially if it’s bike-related). Last March, a local entrepreneur set out to solve that problem and so far his business has been “amazing”.

Jeff Castro, a former product designer (with stints at Harley Davidson and Yakima), took a bit of a gamble when he invested in a concept called BikeRacker. The idea was to provide a turn-key, secure, easy-to-use, temporary bike parking solution.

With the busy summer season behind him, I caught up with Castro recently to ask how things have gone.

Tour de Fat 2008-58.jpg

The racks got a workout at
the Tour de Fat in June.

He says “it’s been an amazing first year” and that he’s provided services to 15 events including the Tour De Fat, Sunday Parkways, Symphony in the Park, and an event at the Oregon Zoo.

Castro says he’s gotten “overwhelming support and positive feedback from the racks” and from the service in general. “It’s been fun and educational to watch how the community has interacted with the racks, and utilized them in expected and unexpected ways.”

Portland has been a perfect testing ground, Castro says, due to “the diverse bicycle mix”. His racks have parked, tall bikes, recumbents, long tails, and tandems.

This fall, Castro plans to continue to be at various events, including the Oregon Manifest Handmade Bike Show, where BikeRacker racks will be used in the parking area set-aside for custom bikes.

By next season, Castro says he’ll double or triple his capacity to keep up with demand and he plans to consider new parking solutions, including some permanent applications.

“To say the least,” he says “it will be a busy winter.”

— Check out the newly revamped BikeRacker website.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Jessica Roberts
Jessica Roberts
15 years ago

We were one of the stops on the green homes last weekend and we were so glad for Jeff’s services…now I hope that all the events in town realize how much they need this service. (Willamette Week’s Eat Mobile festival, I’m looking at YOU. PICA, you tried for TBA but it still wasn’t good enough. Obama rally organizers…well, there probably aren’t enough portable bike racks in the country to meet that need…)

Greg Raisman
15 years ago

We used his racks for a big party we had this summer. It was amazing. Check out the driveway here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregraisman/2592285603/

chuck
15 years ago

personally, I had a hell of a time using these racks at MCBF. the tubing used is the wrong diameter. I couldn’t get my lock around my wheel, frame, and the rack itself no matter how I tried. drop the diameter of the tubing you used by a half inch, and I think the problem would be solved.

beth h
15 years ago

I was so relieved to find a buncha these at the Oregon Symphony’s Waterfront Concert on Aug. 28. I had little trouble using them and believe me they saw plenty of action — they were 2/3 full before the concert began.

Adam
Adam
15 years ago

I also had a home on the Build It Green tour with OSD this past weekend. I got to talk with Jeff when he dropped off the rack. No sooner had he done so than the bikes started flocking to it like flies around a pile of poo (except that his product is not at all like a pile of poo). The rack was full all day long, and people seemed very grateful to have it there. Mad props to Bikeracker!

Jeff
Jeff
15 years ago

Is it just me or is there a troubling overuse of superlatives in casual conversation these days?

Yes, it’s AMAZING!

Lisa G
Lisa G
15 years ago

I enjoyed having the opportunity to try one at the South Waterfront Festival. I was probaly one to do so in an unexpected way as I use three locks including a U-lock that encompasses the front wheel and frame, but it all worked without too much trouble. These can work for large tires & mountain bikes with smaller frames, too.

Steve
Steve
15 years ago

I worked with Jeff at the Oregon Zoo event and found him to be great to work with and the racks easy to use. I would highly recommend his service to anyone.

Tony Pereira
15 years ago

We used Jeff’s racks for our wedding in August and they were great. He set up way ahead of the event and broke them down after we were finished. Flawless and very reasonably priced. Here’s a pic:
http://tinyurl.com/3knepk
Thanks Jeff!

bikieboy
bikieboy
15 years ago

A great product,& a great service for portland’s moveable bike-feast.

thanks, Jeff!

Kris
Kris
15 years ago

They were also a big hit at the Portland MTB Short Track Series this summer. The beauty is that they are so simple and versatile. I saw one racer using it as a makeshift workstand, lubing her chain and adjusting her shifter cable tension while her bike was hanging on one of the racks. Way to go, Jeff!

revphil
15 years ago

yup, they work well and he is pretty modest about it too (last time i checked)

continued success Jeff