Esplanade closure begins February 1st

New company will use bikes to power billboards, promotions

Posted by on January 31st, 2013 at 10:39 am

PDX Pedal Promotions is a new company that will unleash bike-riding “brand peddlers” throughout the streets of Portland. These riders will pedal around billboards towed in trailers behind bicycles and will do other other bike-based promotions. They call it “Portland style advertising.”

Here’s more from their website:

”PDX Pedal Promotions offers outdoor mobile billboard advertising. Unlike wrapping the [pedi]cabs, our peddlers tote billboards behind their bikes! This method of advertising has proven to be extremely effective, memorable & personable. Not only do our brand peddlers distract the audience with your mobile banner, we also act as brand ambassadors by handing out promotional material and engaging with the audience to create a personable & meaningful experience. Eco-friendly advertising gives your company a ‘green-edge’ which is also hip with our Portland crowd.”

The company was co-founded by two entrepreneurs with many years of marketing and business management experience. Tracie Benjamin and Ryan Conner. Benjamin tells us she’s lived in Portland for 23 years and worked at an ad agency in downtown Portland prior to launching Pedal Promotions. “Every week I would pass hundreds of bikers while commuting around the area,” she shared in an email yesterday. Benjamin says her new company is an attempt to make brand impressions off-line, in a more personal way. “That idea, combined with Portland’s culture, landed us PDX Pedal Promotions.”

The company is sponsored by Volt Electric, a Portland-based electrician services provider owned by Benjamin’s business partner, Ryan Conner. He says many of his customers want to be “eco-friendly” so he’s confident bicycle-powered advertising will be well-received.

PDX Pedal Promotions will focus their routes on Portland’s central city, from Nob Hill in northwest, Lloyd Center in the east, the central eastside, and the South Waterfront. Clients will purchase packages of one to 10 rides lasting three hours each.

This new company will join others that offer bike-based advertising and promotions. B-Line PDX, primarily a cargo delivery company, wraps their large trikes with advertisements and passes out free products at events. Portland Pedal Power, who also mainly focuses on delivery, offers a suite of mobile marketing services. Several of Portland’s pedicab companies also carry advertising messages on their cabs.

— Learn more at

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  • Andrew K January 31, 2013 at 11:02 am

    I like this a lot better than the “billboard trucks” I used to see both here and in San Francisco all the time. I always thought that was such a waist of gasoline to just drive around an advertisement.

    I have no idea how effective this kind of advertising is so I can’t really comment on that. I will say though, if nothing else you’ve got a guy or a gal riding around on a bike all day which you know, can’t be a bad thing.

    Just curiuos, does anyone know if they going to be riding e-bikes? I’m interested in the types and styles of e-bikes out there.

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  • Rob January 31, 2013 at 11:06 am


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  • Mork January 31, 2013 at 11:16 am

    I love the idea, particularly as a swell alternative to those silly billboard trucks. However, the PDX Pedal Promotions website needs someone with a knack for grammar to edit it. In my opinion, it’s not quite ready for the public eye. Poor use of English seems like a bad sign if you are selling advertising. Good luck, team!

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    • rain bike January 31, 2013 at 11:25 am

      And someone who knows beer comes from breweries not distilleries.
      “I am also a fan of a nice cold beer from one of our local distilleries!” ?!?

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      • Mork February 1, 2013 at 2:51 pm

        I’m so glad someone else noticed that!

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  • Over and Doubt January 31, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Argh. Clogging the roads with vehicles that have no purpose except advertising/marketing is just another kind of pollution–motorized or not. Maybe this is one road use where a special tax/fee really ought to apply.

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    • Sunny January 31, 2013 at 8:07 pm

      Where are the complaints about Trimet plastering Max and buses with big splashy ads? Or fleet vehicles with company logos or complete vinyl wraps? Or semi trucks advertising Safeway or Toyota or Albertson’s? A bike doesn’t have the natural surface canvass to display ads so this evens the playing field. Bikes lanes are not only for the exclusive use of commuters going to and from work — they’re sparsely occupied outside of commuter hours anyway.

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      • Over and Doubt February 1, 2013 at 10:29 am

        Er, Sunny? Those other vehicles you mentioned are transporting people and/or stuff; their advertising role is secondary, you see. The beef is with vehicles that have no purpose *except* advertising—including those silly billboard-only trucks that roam downtown. Does substituting human power in that role really level any playing field, or just further obstruct it?

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        • Sunny February 1, 2013 at 1:16 pm

          They can call themselves recreational riders out for exercise or whatever. It doesn’t matter as long as they’re moving about and not parked in one spot. They could even give out coupons so folks will know which downtown eateries are having a sale at the moment — saves people money. No one gives the ice cream bike vendors a hard time.

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          • are February 2, 2013 at 2:41 pm

            note. at least one person who does not claim that a cyclist on the road is, just by being there, taking up space that should be left open for [other] [motorized] uses.

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  • Granpa January 31, 2013 at 11:26 am

    “… peddlers distract the audience…..”
    As they are on the road, in traffic I assume that the “audience” they plan to distract are motorists and cyclists. Um, just what we need.

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  • Patrick January 31, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Just like billboard trucks, they will be an impediment to travel for all road users, and I truly doubt that anyone would be Happy to see them. BLEAH!

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  • John Lascurettes January 31, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t many of those billboard truck companies also act as courier businesses? That is, they’re delivering packages from point a to point b in a a city but also advertising along the way. It’s two income streams for the courier business.

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    • NH January 31, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      All the billboard trucks I’ve ever seen have been way too small to be holding any packages. They’re just a bit of printed vinyl over a narrow frame.

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  • was carless January 31, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Pedaling peddlers

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  • NW Biker January 31, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Interesting idea, I suppose, but do we really need more advertising?

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  • JonathanR January 31, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    I believe that City Code prohibits purely billboard vehicles.

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    • Granpa January 31, 2013 at 1:51 pm

      I know for a fact that in the purview of the Columbia Gorge Commision it is prohibited to display “Portable or wheeled signs, or signs on parked vehicles where the sign is the primary use of the vehicle.”

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    • are January 31, 2013 at 4:48 pm

      parked, yes
      not finding anything on moving vehicles

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  • CaptainKarma January 31, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Sorry, minus ten on this one.

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  • deadbuny January 31, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    more visual pollution, yay bikes…

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  • rain bike January 31, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    I can’t get the link to the BP story and comments on their media page to work. Maybe somebody could fix that.

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  • Kris January 31, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I don’t know about eco-friendly. Turning crops into motion, mostly after the intermediary of feed lot meat and brewery beer, strictly for the purpose of getting some extra attention doesn’t sound very ecologically sound to me. And using public street space rather than private property for advertising doesn’t exactly sound like a boon for active transportation either.

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  • Sunny January 31, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    The ads should be mounted above the riders heads instead of taking up additional space behind or in front of the rider. It would attract more attention as the ad is above traffic and more visible to other traffic. I’d watch out for wind though — perhaps make it a flag on a single pole. Watch out for backlash for taking up additional bike space.

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  • Scott January 31, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    I forwarded the URL to BP oil in hopes they try and sign up.

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  • dwainedibbly January 31, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    This will be really obnoxious on the bridges. Maybe the City should regulate them, just like any other signage, if they’re not carrying cargo. I think a $10,000 business license requirement, per vehicle, sounds about right.

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    • dwainedibbly January 31, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      And it should be quadruple for the sign trucks.

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  • Paul Smith January 31, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    B line and PPP have got this covered, while serving as an emissions free, nimbler delivery service. Agreed with the above, their pitch is clumsy, feels about 5+ years dated, and like they don’t have a depth of knowledge /commitment to this endeavor.

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    • Sunny January 31, 2013 at 8:20 pm

      I agree, those B line behemoths are massive and slow, especially across the Hawthorne. They’re always smiling but don’t realize that drivers are massively annoyed they’re blocking traffic. They’r the parked-UPS-truck-in-the-bike-lane of the bicycle world.

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  • dan January 31, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Heh, so if we were to complete her quote, it might read something like this: “Every week I would pass hundreds of bikers while commuting around the area” (in my car), and I finally discovered a way to make them useful!

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  • Sean February 1, 2013 at 12:03 am

    I passed one of their riders yesterday morning on N. Williams. Just riding a normal bike with no e-assist. I couldn’t help but wonder why they were out there before daylight though.

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  • Mike Cobb February 1, 2013 at 11:43 am

    This business model only wins in a “lesser evil” consideration. Our roads should definitely be reserved for moving people and stuff. This business is taking a portion of our public transportation infrastructure and building a private commercial communication business around it to make some cash. Not the bicycle transportation “branding” that I’m looking for. Someone talk me out of my disappointment.

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