Support BikePortland

New business will help you ‘Pedal Portland’

Posted by on September 7th, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Pedal Portland logo

Kirk Paulsen wants to “get you psyched to ride your bike.” That’s the rallying cry of his new business, Pedal Portland. If you have a bike gathering dust in the garage and want to use it for more than just Sunday Parkways and Bridge Pedal, you can hire Paulsen to show you the ropes.

Paulsen’s idea is to offer personal, one-on-one consultations designed to take the guess-work out of riding bikes. Whether you have a bike and just aren’t confident to start riding it around town yet, or if you are completely new to riding, Paulsen wants to help.

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Kirk Paulsen
(Photo © J. Maus)

He offers two packages and also has pricing for couples and families. For $90, Paulsen will help you get set up for errands and riding in city traffic. Once the bike is properly equipped, he’ll help you find the best routes in your neighborhood and then accompany you on your first ride, offering tips and insights along the way. A similar package for folks without a bike runs $150 with the added service of bike purchasing guidance.

Paulsen, 27, was new to biking himself when he moved to Portland back in June. After completing his undergrad in civil engineering at Washington State and then working for a transportation engineering firm in Seattle for two years, he came to Portland and “immediately took up biking.” Now it’s the main way he gets around and he is “absolutely in love with it.” In fact, his love of biking is what inspires him to share it with others and it also inspired him to return to school to get a graduate degree. He’s currently attending Portland State University with hopes of specializing in bike research.

Since bicycling is just a recent thing for Paulsen, he knows that it can be stressful at first. “I want to be there to alleviate that stress,” he says, “because it will only get easier each and every ride after that.”

Learn more at PedalPortland.org.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

22 Comments
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    NW Biker September 7, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    What a great idea!

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    Dude September 7, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    The dream of the 90s is alive in Portland!

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    beth h September 7, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Serious niche marketing there.

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    Mark September 7, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    While I can certainly appreciate the fact that Paulsen is excited about biking and would like to share his enthusiasm with others, I am somewhat concerned that he’s offering a professional service like this after only three months of riding himself.

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      Kirk September 7, 2011 at 3:20 pm

      I understand your concerns, and just wanted to say that I have been biking for nearly all of my trips for over a year now. It doesn’t take long before learning the many routes throughout this wonderful city. To be able to share this knowledge with others is a wonderful thing.

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        Mark September 7, 2011 at 3:52 pm

        I must’ve been mislead by the wording of this post, since it said that you were new to biking when you moved here in June. I didn’t watch the video, maybe I missed something important there.

        It is wonderful to be able to share one’s knowledge and experience with others, especially if it can help to get more cyclists out on the roads. I wish you the best with your endeavor. I wasn’t trying to hate.

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          craig September 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm

          Jonathan, could you clarify this point for your story? Either he’s a total newbie, or an experienced city bike rider.

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            Kirk September 7, 2011 at 5:19 pm

            Yes, it is supposed to be since June of 2010.

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    Babygorilla September 7, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    This is soooo BikeSnobNYC material. Shame he’s on vacation.

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      ThornB September 7, 2011 at 6:06 pm

      I disagree. I think this is a fairly unpretentious project aimed at helping regular people get interested in biking. I actually think BikeSnobNYC would approve. There’s nothing smug about it.

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    Kate September 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    I haven’t used Kirk’s professional services, but I’ve ridden around town with him several times, and he is a wonderful guide– extremely enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and easy to talk to. He helped alleviate most of my concerns about urban cycling, and I’ve been a daily bike commuter for 2 months now.

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    Ronald September 7, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    At the beginning of the summer, I was a skinny, 97-pound biking weakling who routinely got blown away by recumbents when climbing Williams. After just two sessions with Kirk, things totally turned around: now I’m in contention for the Cat VI championship of North Portland! Thank you Kirk!!!

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      was carless September 8, 2011 at 1:13 am

      But are you nonplussed?

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    Matt Haughey September 8, 2011 at 8:24 am

    This is great, as someone who lives outside of Portland and is comfortable with riding in a city, the hardest part of learning a new city on your bike is knowing the safest routes for going each direction around town. It took months-to-years of tinkering in LA, SF, NYC, and Austin for me to realize the best ways to get around safely. If I could have just paid a local guide in each city, I would have saved a lot of time, risk, and noodling around to find the right advice.

    I recently backed Elly Blue’s Kickstarter project just to get a custom itinerary for a family ride around the city, since even though I know where the big bike lanes are, I don’t really have a good idea of where the best places to ride at a slower pace with less experienced members of my family would be.

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    Mabsf September 8, 2011 at 8:45 am

    I think Kirk’s idea is great – I spend long hours mapping routes for clients… I would be delighted to just say “hey, call Kirk or get elly’s & meghan’s zine”.

    From a market perspective, I think that we skimmed all the easy-converted cyclists off the batch… The ones now coming in will need more hand holding- be it women and families on bikes or commuter with a more challenging routes…

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    dcufan September 8, 2011 at 8:57 am

    FYI… this is already being done by others in the cycling comm.

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    Nita September 8, 2011 at 11:10 am

    What would be truly innovative is to see this done on more of a volunteer basis. Why not arrange a “bikepooling” website where people who want to commute can connect with volunteers who live near them, commute to a similar location, and are experienced bike commuters willing to ride along a few times and give tips? I don’t see any reason that anyone should have to pay for a little guidance. I’ve helped friends and co-workers with this stuff many times and, as Kirk himself mentions, it’s not that hard to learn the bike routes. I just can’t see asking someone to pay me for this kind of help. I want people to ride and I don’t want it to cost them any more than the price of a decent bike, helmet, and lock!

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      Jonathan Gordon September 8, 2011 at 11:45 am

      I think there’s room for both a paid service and a volunteer service. Though from my read/viewing, this is more than just a ride-along service. I think they’re offering a premium over what you could likely expect from volunteers (complete strangers) and their prices seem very reasonable to me. Good luck guys!

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    Tom September 12, 2011 at 8:08 am

    I visited Portland in early summer (2011), and rode with Kirk from north Portland into the downtown and on/off the MAX light rail system. I’m an experienced cyclist, and greatly appreciated Kirk’s knowledge of the routes and neighborhoods we traveled. Much easier and safer than trying to figure it out on my own.

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    Naj September 13, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    When visiting the city last summer, I had a WONDERFUL time exploring Portland by bicycle with Kirk as my guide. From NE Portland we rode along the Columbia, climbed to Mt. Tabor, took the Max to the Zoo Bomb :-() , crossed 4 or 5 bridges, explored beautiful old neighborhoods, and even biked to Last Thursdays. The guided tour was better than any roller coaster ride, hands down! As a 60-year-young female, this was the most fun city ride I’ve ever experienced. Kirk is a great guide!

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    Logan September 16, 2011 at 10:03 am

    I moved to Portland about 6 weeks ago from Texas. We don’t ride bikes in Texas :(. Upon arrival, I met Kirk and was inspired to learn more about bikes. He gave me great tips on what to look for in a new bike and how to spruce up the one I bought. He also explained a great deal of bike safety to me. Things I could probably only learn through trial and error. 6 weeks later, I bike to work everyday, run my errands, and visit my friends in the hood all on my bike. Kirk is Super Nice. He’s friendly and knowledgeable. If you’re interested, I submit give the Kirk a call.

    P.S. I saved more money and time with coach Kirk. Kirk- I’m specifically thinking about my derailleur situation and also how we handle intersections ;).

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    Eli September 16, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Did you see the outtakes at the end of the video?!? I love this man.

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