Bike-based ‘Street Books’ library will expand thanks to bike shop’s donation

talking to J with paper

Street Books founder Laura Maulton talks with two patrons.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Street Books, Portland’s five-year-old free private book-lending library, will be spending more time on Portland’s east side this summer.

Splendid Cycles, the cargo bike store at the north end of the eastside’s Springwater on the Willamette path, will donate a new, fully built-up Bullitt cargo bike, and Jeff Lauten of Badger Bikes will donate a handbuilt water-tight box to match.

Street Books, which we profiled last summer, launched its fifth lending season on Tuesday.

“We have long wanted to expand our Street Books shifts and spend more time over on the East side and throughout more inclement weather,” Street Books volunteer Diana Rempe wrote in an email to BikePortland. “We really couldn’t do it on the bike we have, as much as we love it. We spent time last year talking with folks about possibilities and we were stunned and amazed when Barb and Joel at Splendid offered to DONATE a bike to us. What an incredible act of generosity from a small business owner.”


We’ve written in the past about Splendid Cycles, a literal mom-and-pop shop that has become the leading American seller of Denmark’s Bullitt-brand cargo bikes, and also about Jeff Lauten, whose cargo-bike-box building operation grew from a hobby for a full-time dad to a part-time job that took over half his basement.

Street Books will get the new bike later in the summer, once Lauten’s box is finished.

“Though we dearly love our first bike, we recognize the wisdom in having a second bike that is less creaky, and can go farther, faster,” Rempe wrote.

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7 years ago

Nice all around! What a great community we’ve got.

7 years ago

Splendid is a great shop.

7 years ago

Three cheers for Barb and Joel! And for Jeff, too, though I don’t know him.

7 years ago
Reply to  Kasandra

Michael, thank you for covering this story. With the recent focus on bike theft and homeless camps, I think it is important to talk about Street Books and the work they are doing. In talking with Laura and Diana and deciding to donate a bike to Street Books, I was enlightened by many of the stories they had to tell about lending books to homeless people.

One of the reasons this organization earned our donation for the year is that they see the value of the people that live out on the street. They understand that homelessness is not synonymous with uneducated or untrustworthy. That’s what we see too. We also see the need to build bridges, lend a hand, and give dignity to those living on the street. Street Books is working toward that so we applaud them and are anxious to see their organization grow.

Although this post has a rousing three comments (thank you commenters), I think it’s an important story. So, I hope when you get a chance, you do part 2 of this post and dive into the stories behind the people Street Books serves. I know there are some interesting stories to be told about the people that borrow books from a non-profit cargo bike book-lending library. Too, I think its important to share that side of the homeless situation.

Again, thank you for covering this story,
Barb Grover, owner
Splendid Cycles

PS – one correction, we are on the Willamette, not the Columbia