Here’s what those orange bikes around Northeast Portland are all about

Posted by on November 23rd, 2015 at 3:12 pm

orange bike

A bike placed on NE Broadway to market
a new gym in the area.
(Photo via Tim Dowell)

A new gym that opened recently in Portland’s Lloyd District is following its national marketing playbook and distributing a handful of orange-painted bikes on nearby streets.

It’s the same phenomenon we covered in January when the same chain, Orangetheory Fitness, had recently opened locations in Beaverton and Tigard.

In an interview Monday, Orangethoery Oregon Regional Director Amanda Goolsby said her team plans to keep shifting them around nearby streets indefinitely.

“They don’t just stay out,” she said. “We take them down daily. We move them around.”

Goolsby said she didn’t know how many there were on Portland streets at the moment. She said her boss was unavailable Monday afternoon.

“We just bring them in and put them out there,” she said. “I think we’re going to be rotating the bikes through.”

One local man seemed annoyed that the bikes were taking up physical or mental space on the street:

Goolsby said she doesn’t think running out of public bike parking spaces is a problem in Portland.

“As I’ve been going about the city, it seems like there’s five or six bike racks for every street,” she said.

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Under Portland city code, it’s illegal to “scatter notices or advertisements on any street right-of-way or to post a notice or advertisement anywhere on a street right-of-way.” Also, the city has the right to impound bikes that have been left on public property for more than 72 hours, or three days, and charge a fee to the bicycle’s owner if it does so.

Both rules are complaint-driven, meaning that the city generally enforces them only if people report them as problems.

Another issue that sometimes comes up with Orangetheory’s bikes is whether their use of a colored bicycle is exploitative of the “Ghost Bike” tradition.

Here’s a Facebook post along those lines from Naples, Florida:

orange-naples

I asked Goolsby if she had any thoughts on that possible reaction.

“If anyone does take that view, we apologize,” she said. “That’s not at all our goal with the orange bikes.”

She said Orangetheory’s goal is simply to give people a good way to be active.

“It’s an active city where it rains a lot and the wintertimes are really rough,” she said. “Our goal for 2016 is to help the community and Northeast Portland as much as possible, and really bring some new health and fitness to the area.”

New Year’s resolution season tends to be the hottest time of year for new gym memberships.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

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Buzz
Guest
Buzz

Why should they care about taking up bike rack space throughout the city with their advertising? What they really want is for you to ride a stationary bike inside their gym.

Adam
Subscriber

Ugh, not this crap again. Didn’t they learn their lesson from last time? How about instead of using bikes to advertise your gym, why not donate those bikes to the Community Cycling Center?

Kirstin
Guest
Kirstin

The pic in this article was one that my kid took – they chained the damned thing to the rack directly in front of Jimmy John’s – the riders there were unhappy campers!!

Tomas LaPallela
Guest
Tomas LaPallela

If you ask me, Jimmy John’s should provide secure / private bike storage for its delivery staff rather than taking up space on city-provided racks. They’re as much of a business as the gym.

LC
Guest
LC

Fair enough but in the meantime there’s no reason to punish their employees who have no say in the matter but have to use a bike for their job..

Wiloon
Guest
Wiloon

I think it is inherently disrespectful to comandeer public space for private business advertisement. Gross. Seems to be against the law, too.

I wish I could remember the name of the prolific litterbug anti-theft company that profusely stickered bike racks around town. Shame on those guys. I had to remove over a dozen stickers from one bike rack. Ugh.

Kevin Wagoner
Subscriber
Kevin Wagoner

They could give functioning orange bikes to people that would sign up to ride them often. That would be cool.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Would it be illegal to cut the locks on these bikes? I mean, just cut it and leave the bike. You wouldn’t be stealing the bike, technically.

HJ
Guest
HJ

Sounds great to me! On top of it put a “free” notice on craigslist advertising it. I would love nothing more than to see an end to this appalling advertising tactic.

kitten
Guest
kitten

Cut the chain and re-lock it to the door handles of the offending gym, that would send a clear message I am sure.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

“It’s an active city where it rains a lot and the wintertimes are really rough,” she [Goolsby] said.

Since when are our winters rough? A touch of rain and one or two days with snowflakes is hardly “rough”. Sure, it’s not 75F every day and dry; if I wanted that I’d move to San Diego.

Joe Adamski
Guest
Joe Adamski

Maybe San Diego IS her point of reference?

Joe Adamski
Guest
Joe Adamski

Like many folks, I have a couple of crappy old U-locks with only one key.. and then call parking enforcement or whomever…

Mao
Guest
Mao

I don’t mind colored bikes, since they’re brightly colored and look more like someone 3D printed one up from a distance. But anyone who takes parking spaces for advertising deserves a fine.

Paul Wilkins
Guest
Paul Wilkins

Let me sharpen my pitchfork, again. I’ll be right there, angry mobians.

Carl
Guest
Carl

In 2008, DKNY did a similar thing with orange bikes in New York. Somehow I ended up in a New York Times story about it. My opinion’s the same today: make the most of it, freakbike builders! I hope to see some tallbikes and choppers with orange parts on them in the coming months.

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/08/rounding-up-the-orange-bicycles/?_r=0

fourknees
Guest
fourknees

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe bikes of any type (stationary) are part of their workouts or in their facilities. I the gyms have treadmills, rowing machines and free weights.

Craig Harlow
Guest
Craig Harlow

Under Portland city code, it’s illegal to “scatter notices or advertisements on any street right-of-way or to post a notice or advertisement anywhere on a street right-of-way.”

Michael, I’d be curious to learn from the the city whether there’s any probability of enforcement.

Populating our viewspace with this ugliness is unneighborly. Of course there’s no legal penalty for unneighborliness per-se, conveniently–as you pointed out–hijacking public space for commercial advertising is illegal and carries a fine of either $250 per violation, or up to 160 hours community service: http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/?c=28513

Wouldn’t it be lovely if the law were applied in this instance (especially community service)? Of course they would probably be wearing florescent orange jumpsuits while they pick up roadside litter :^)

Craig Harlow
Guest
Craig Harlow

And it appears they are a future tenant of the new Hassalo On Eighth complex:

https://www.facebook.com/OTFPortlandLloydDistrict

Perhaps we can share our feelings on Hassalo On Eighth’s twitter feed?

https://twitter.com/hassalooneighth

Isabella
Guest
Isabella

Yeah, I would have been extremely irritated by this as well– I used to deliver for that exact JJ’s location, and that rack was crowded enough with all of our bikes stacked on either side.

Wade
Guest
Wade

The one at JJ’s has an $85/day ticket stuck to it when I walked by yesterday at lunch. Maybe report them all to the parking enforcement?