BikePortland.org

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

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:

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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