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Half of Portland car2go vehicles now have rear bike racks

Posted by on March 6th, 2015 at 8:00 am

car2gobike

(Photo: car2go)

After a member survey found huge overlap between car2go users and bicycle users in Portland, the carsharing service car2go has now added rear bike racks to half of its 500-car local fleet.

Portland is the first city to get the racks, which are set up in such a way that the rear tailgate of the car2go can’t open on cars that have the racks. (The rear window, however, can still be opened.)

This decision was announced in December, following a successful trial and pilot period with 30 racks scattered through the fleet, car2go announced that it was moving up to 50 percent of its cars.

Car2go’s user survey had found that Portland respondents were intensely multimodal. Sixty-eight percent biked at least once per week, and 37 percent biked five to seven times a week. That’s presumably why 76 percent said they’d like to see bike racks on at least half of the local fleet.

The racks can fit up to two bikes each. Here’s how they work:

To find out which cars have a bike rack, you can open car2go’s mobile app or website and either tap or hover over nearby cars until you see one with the words “bike rack” in its title.

The fact that half the fleet now has a rack means that most bike users inside car2go’s home area should be able to easily bike to a car with a rack.

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“Car2go’s exciting announcement adds another fantastic arrow to Portland’s vast quiver of transportation choices,” Portland Active Transportation Division Manager Margi Bradway is quoted as saying in car2go’s news release.

The release also quoted car2go location manager Ken Hills as saying the racks would “help maintain Portland’s spot as the #1 bike-friendly city in North America.”

Though it’s likely that if the racks get substantial use in Portland they’ll be introduced in other cities, Car2go spokeswoman Dacyl Armendariz said Wednesday that her colleagues “don’t have a timeline for additional cities at this time.”

One person seemingly not charmed by car2go’s new feature is Austin-based inventor Ryan Battle, who (as we reported in 2013) designed a backpack-friendly bike rack for car2go but was publicly repudiated by car2go officials, who said his racks violated car2go terms of service as well as car2go’s insurance at the time. A car2go spokeswoman told us that the company would suspend users from the service if they used Battle’s rack.

“Congrats to @car2goportland for their bike rack pilot,” Battle tweeted icily last November, after our coverage. “car2go position of bikes flying off cars sounds a bit silly now.”

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Doug Rosser
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Doug Rosser

It’s both exciting and a bit sad when you realize car2go’s have a nicer bike rack than your car does.

Jonathan Gordon
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Jonathan Gordon

It would be really great if you could filter your search for cars with racks rather than poking each car that comes up on their map. They have the search filter feature all set up, it seems like it would a trivial programming task to add bike racks to it.

Champs
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Champs

Maybe Battle should move on to a rack-compatible cargo trailer. A Smart Car alone does not have enough room for all those sour grapes.

Living in a Zipcar household, I’m kind of jealous. The few cars that have racks don’t seem to be searchable, and apparently they move around. Best trip ever was the time our car surprised us with a roof rack and the NW Forest Pass.

Clark in Vancouver
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Clark in Vancouver

I’ve noticed that people driving Car2Gos are more considerate around others. My theory is that they aren’t normally driving so they understand the effect that driving can have on others so when they drive they think of that.
The other theory is that the cars themselves being small just aren’t capable of dominating the street like big cars can.

Hazel
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Hazel

I tried to use one of these last weekend and the rack was already broken. I hope this isn’t going to be the norm.

Caesar
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Caesar

Anyone know where I can find the music on the video?

PorterStout
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PorterStout

It’s a shame the bike rack prevents use of the hatchback if that’s really the case. I have a rack on a hatchback vehicle, and it drops towards the street if you have a bike mounted so you can still open the back when needed. If there’s not a bike on it you don’t even have to do that. It attaches via a trailer hitch, which I guess these Smart cars don’t have, but it’s still a shame to have to lose a significant function of the vehicle in order to be able to carry a bike.

Mork
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Mork

Last month got a flat a long way from home and decided to put both of our bikes on the rear rack. It probably took 5 minutes to get them both secured, during which the minutes were running. I’m sure next time we will be more efficient, but in the dark and rain I found all the different steps fiddly and annoying, even though I had watched the video in advance.

That said, we eventually got two Linus city bikes secured to the rack and made it to our destination. It is a nice alternative to the bus when you have two people and can’t rely on there being two open spots on the bus rack.

FYI to RH, the button to open the rear hatch is on the key, it is a weird L-shaped icon and you have to hold it down for a moment for it to unlatch the hatch.

Eric
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Eric

I watched the video and when she “shook” the bike, it did not look too stable! Tighten those straps ya’ll!

reader
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reader

When I think of strapping my 62cm cross bike to a Smart Car, I am reminded of the brontosaurus ribs on Fred Flintstone’s roof:

http://firewhenreadypottery.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Flintsones.jpg

Greg
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I really like this concept, I wonder if they’re planning on expanding this internationally? I think in places like Berlin this would be used a lot. Everyone cycles there…

Jim Labbe
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Jim Labbe

I used one today. This is a great addition to my personal transportation options.