The Worst Day of the Year Ride is February 11th

Portland inks $10 million “Biketown” deal with Nike as title sponsor of bike share system

Posted by on January 7th, 2016 at 9:01 am

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Left to right: PBOT Director Leah Treat, Community Cycling Center CEO Mychal Tetteh, Nike VP Jorge Casimiro, and Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

At the Nike factory store in northeast Portland this morning, the City of Portland announced that Nike Inc., has signed on as the title sponsor of Portland Bike Share (here’s the official announcement). The system is now known as Biketown (pronounced “bike” not “bikey”).

The deal is worth $10 million and will last for five years. PBOT had previously said they needed $2 to $8 million to launch the system, so this is a huge deal for the city.

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Dani Simons with bike share operator Motivate (L), PBOT Active Transportation Division Manager Margi Bradway and bike share system project manager Steve Hoyt-McBeth were all smiles at this morning’s announcement.

Huge is actually an understatement.

In addition to the money and stability of the deal, PBOT and Nike also announced this morning that the partnership will allow the city to expand the initial number of bike share bicycles available to the public. The system will launch with 1,000 bikes and instead of the 600 that passed Council. This will make Portland’s system the largest smart (as in, dockless, with software and technology on each bike versus the more common kiosk-based systems) bike share system in North America.

(Story continues below photos)

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The wrap-around light under the basket is pretty cool.
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Swoosh head badge, of course.
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PBOT Director Leah Treat doing a ride for the news cameras.
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At the press event this morning, commissioner Steve Novick said, “It makes perfect sense for Nike to partner with us. Nike has a long history of supporting sports and physical activity in Portland.” Novick added that while it stung for other cities to launch bike share before Portland, our system will be the best in the country. “They will make sure this is the most exciting bike share system in the country, in the world.”

Nike’s VP of Global Community Impact Jorge Casimiro says they are investing in this project in part to, “Encourage people to move more to encourage physical activity into their everyday lives,” and “The city’s bike share program is the perfect way of doing so.”

“[Nike] will make sure this is the most exciting bike share system in the country, in the world.”
— Steve Novick, city commissioner of transportation

The bikes themselves will be “Nike orange”. “The baskets up front even look like little shoe boxes,” Casimiro said.

PBOT Director Leah Treat nearly choked up (or at least it sounded that way from where I was) while telling the assembled media how much this deal means to her. She has reason to be happy. After years of being hammered by bike share advocates locally and nationally, Treat has delivered a massive deal. “This will be the largest smart bike share system in North America,” she proudly proclaimed, before hopping on one of the new bikes for the news media.

This bike share system will also be equitable — both in the people it serves and the people who service it. Community Cycling Center CEO Mychal Tetteh was at this morning’s launch event. It’s fitting for him to be involved, given that the CCC’s mission is to expand access to bicycles to more people. Not only that but the CCC deployed America’s first ever bike share program when they placed infamous “Yellow Bikes” on Portland’s streets in the 1990s. Today, CCC is on board with Biketown to make sure that at least half of the jobs it creates go to people from underserved communities. (Learn more about CCC’s role in Biketown here).

The deal ends years of planning (our first story about Portland bike share was in 2007) and it finally gives the bureau of transportation the long-awaited green light to put the wheels in motion to get the bikes on the street. When bike share passed Portland City Council back in September, officials promised a launch date of July 2016. PBOT has previously said that it would take about six months to go from sponsor to bikes on the street — but that timeline might be shorter now that they’ve adopted a more nimble system that doesn’t require stationary kiosks.

Here’s a fact sheet with more details about the partnership that PBOT handed out this morning:


With more money and more bikes, PBOT now has the opportunity to expand the geographic coverage of the bikes. However, spokesman John Brady says that’s not confirmed yet. “We do expect to be able to expand the coverage area,” he said. There will be a public process this spring to determine where the bikes will be placed.

Portland’s system will be different than most other large bike share systems in the U.S. Instead of large kiosks where bikes are checked in and out, BikeTown bikes will have all the software and rental technology on-board. These “smart bikes” are the work of Social Bicycles, a company that runs 15 other systems across North America and Australia. Portland’s system will be their largest and will be operated and managed by Motivate, the company that recently bought Alta Bicycle Share and that runs successful bike share systems in Washington D.C., New York City, and other places.

There are many upsides to having Nike as the title sponsor of our system. The company is no stranger to cycling. Not only did they go all-in with Lance Armstrong back in the day, but they used to offer a line of cycling shoes and gear. Nike also has a bike-share system in place at the sprawling world headquarters campus in Beaverton. They are also world leaders on consumer technology, marketing, and fitness promotion. And that brings up an important point: Will Nike choose to promote this system as a fitness tool or as a transit/mobility tool? PBOT would certainly take the latter approach; but it’s clear that Nike has a fitness-centric business model.

Perhaps the biggest coup of this deal is that Nike is taking over the graphic design and visual identity portion of the entire system. Check out some detail shots of the bike from Nike:




With Nike behind the visuals, the bikes and the stations are pretty much guaranteed to be on-point. If you believe that marketing and design plays a huge role in culture change and human behavior (hint: it does), than having one of the world’s best designers working on bikes in our city is a very good thing. And consider the halo effect of this deal: Nike is one of the top brands in the world. They are considered “cool” by millions of people — many of them who are part of demographics bike advocates drool over. Nikes partnership with PBOT adds significant legitimacy not just bike share, but to cycling in general.

In one fell swoosh, Nike has just made cycling cool in Portland and beyond.

For more on Portland’s bike share system, see their website. You can also delve into our archives for 68 stories covering every twist and turn over the past 9 years or so.

Official Nike announcement with studio shots of the Biketown bike.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Gerik January 7, 2016 at 9:05 am

    This is absolutely fantastic news. Congratulations to all involved!

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  • Jocelyn Gaudi January 7, 2016 at 9:09 am

    Congrats to PBOT and Nike! I’m so very excited to see this project attain such a significant milestone.

    Jonathan – did they mention that the announcement this morning was for media only? I planned on attending having seen your post yesterday, but was turned away at the door for not have media credentials. It seems to me a surprising decision for a program designed to engage the public to accept a new transit system.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 7, 2016 at 10:50 am

      yes. it was media only. i erred in mentioning the time and place in my post yesterday. they sent us a media advisory… which I should have assumed meant no public. However, usually they wouldn’t care. But this is just first sign of what it will be like working with Nike. Nike does not mess around when it comes to PR and media-relations. Everything by the book.. which is very very different than how PBOT usually does media events.

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      • Jocelyn Gaudi January 7, 2016 at 11:25 am

        Thanks for the follow up and excellent coverage, Jonathan.

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      • dwk January 7, 2016 at 12:30 pm

        I have no idea why you waste your time going on the local idiots talk show…..

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  • jake January 7, 2016 at 9:11 am

    This is so great. Thank you Nike, and thanks PBOT for finally making this happen. Can’t wait to ride one.

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. January 7, 2016 at 9:18 am

    Yay! What are the chances we can get some bike share stations at the MAX stops near the Beaverton Nike campus? This seems like a golden opportunity for that!

    Does the service area also expand with this partnership? It would be great to include more of SE.

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    • Champs January 7, 2016 at 10:20 am
      • Adam H.
        Adam H. January 7, 2016 at 10:26 am

        Yes they do, but it’s a bit clunky (need to text to get the unlock combo, need to sign up first, and is only available to people working at Nike) and there aren’t any bikes available at the MAX stops. This would be a good opportunity to drop a few bike share stations at the three MAX stations near Nike’s campus. Having the stations also addresses the lack of parking for non bike share users.

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        • Gary B January 7, 2016 at 10:40 am

          As a PBOT program, I can’t see that as part of this effort (being outside Portland), but perhaps Nike and Beaveton (or Trimet) could leverage Portland’s efforts and piggy-back with their own bikes out there.

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. January 7, 2016 at 10:47 am

            I agree. It would be a shame not to expand Portland bike share across the entire metro region. I can see bike share working well at Nike and in denser suburbs like Orenco.

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            • meh January 7, 2016 at 12:25 pm

              I prefer not to take on a cost like this until it is proven to support itself without sponsorship. Keep your Portland problems in Portland

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              • Peejay January 7, 2016 at 3:59 pm

                Do you feel the same way about roads and driving? Because they are hella subsidized. Maybe we should shut down our local road network until sponsors can be found to fund them at full cost.

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              • meh January 8, 2016 at 6:52 am

                They aren’t subsidized by a corporate sponsor. But then again even those who don’t use the roads benefit from the infrastructure.

                You know the infrastructure that PBOT can’t maintain now with their budget.

                So who picks up the tab five years from now when Nike says, it’s been nice but we don’t want to continue the sponsorship. How many years did it take to get Nike to sponsor this program?

                My advice to PBOT, start looking for Nike’s replacement right now or you’re going to be paying the freight on this entire program five years down the road.

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              • wsbob January 8, 2016 at 10:05 am

                meh at:

                Your advice to PBOT may be good, to the extent that the Portland Rose Festival’s experience of relying on corporate support in exchange for name branding is a valid example. Over two or three decades, PRF has had a bunch of different corporate names in front of the words: ‘(your name here!) Portland Rose Festival’.

                I’ve never liked the festival’s support strategy. Always seems like kind of a sellout. If you can tolerate the name though, accepting the naming practice, is one way for the public to get more back from corporations that are a big part of their community. And it’s a way for the public to face up to the reality that corporations, are, a big part of their community.

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        • meh January 8, 2016 at 6:57 am

          Actually plenty of bikes at the Max stop. The employees take them there regularly and leave them. Travel on jay street in the morning and you’ll see the bikes next to the new parking lots. There’s not a lot of redistribution going on wit the program. It’s pretty self regulating.

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  • Ted Timmons (Contributor) January 7, 2016 at 9:19 am

    This is awesome. I’m thrilled. We’ve had too much bad news lately.

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  • John Landolfe January 7, 2016 at 9:20 am


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  • Paul January 7, 2016 at 9:22 am

    It’s funny that one of my main (and terribly superficial) concerns would that the bikes be a dull color like forest green, so I’m happy they’ll be a bright orange! Great news!

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. January 7, 2016 at 9:26 am

      My bike is forest green and I love it. 🙂

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      • Paul January 7, 2016 at 9:29 am

        Oh I love forest green bikes too (my old Raleigh), it’s just that in mass quantities I wanted to see bright colors bouncing around the city, especially in the many gray days of winter—more color! I think MAX trains should be magenta too btw.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. January 7, 2016 at 9:35 am

          Oh, definitely! Orange is very eye-catching and easily identifiable as a bike share bike. Also serves as a subtle nod to the Dutch. 😉

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          • Meh January 7, 2016 at 5:50 pm

            No it’s a not so subtle nod to Nike’s orange shoe box.

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            • Adam January 8, 2016 at 2:09 pm

              You are all wrong…
              It’s in homage to BikePortland’s accent color (logo, header bar, post titles, etc.). I smell a conspiracy theory brewing… ; )

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              • meh January 11, 2016 at 7:32 am

                From the article you are commenting on.

                “The bikes themselves will be “Nike orange”. “The baskets up front even look like little shoe boxes,” ”

                It’s the iconic color used on Nike shoe boxes, same reason the Nike bike share uses orange bikes.

                As a corporate sponsor it’s more than just the swoosh.

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    • wsbob January 7, 2016 at 12:51 pm

      Notice also the contrasting silver and grey striping on the lower half of the frame and forks. With the orange, that’s the scheme Nike uses for the big archway on the company’s Beaverton campus south entrance. If the silver/gray on the bike is of retro-reflective material, that would really help the bikes to stand out when headlight beams are shone on it.

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  • Brian January 7, 2016 at 9:29 am

    Great news all around! Stoked to see that this will have stable funding for five years.

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  • SilkySlim January 7, 2016 at 9:39 am

    So, how do you pronounce “Biketown”? Bi-key-town?

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    • David January 7, 2016 at 10:20 am

      Came here to ask the same thing

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      • mw January 7, 2016 at 11:02 am

        Same. Was going to point out that this will point out one bizarre aspect of the English language. Nike, Bike, should be pronounced the same way, right?

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        • El Biciclero January 7, 2016 at 1:16 pm

          But isn’t “NIKE” Greek rather than English?

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          • Mao January 7, 2016 at 1:29 pm

            Indeed. Nike is the goddess of victory. The story of the Battle of Marathon ends with the runner entering the town of Athens and shouting ‘Nike!’ before dying of exhaustion.

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          • Ian January 7, 2016 at 6:43 pm

            yeah, but it’s spelled Νίκη in Greek

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    • Middle of the Road guy January 7, 2016 at 1:16 pm

      Just like Bi-Key-Portland

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  • RH January 7, 2016 at 9:55 am

    Nice…even though I own 2 bikes I can’t wait for bike share. There are lots of times when I’m walking around too and would love to just hop on a bike for a quick trip. Color is good too…Cheers to the sharing economy!

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    • axoplasm January 7, 2016 at 10:10 am

      Yep, for ex. I have a meeting downtown today, would be easier to hop on a bikeshare for 10min than ride my own & worry about locks, parking, theft, etc.

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  • J_R January 7, 2016 at 10:05 am

    I withhold my congratulations until I see bikes on the street.

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  • RH January 7, 2016 at 10:08 am

    Can we let this article marinate on the front page for at least 8 hours? It’s nice to see some excellent positive news!

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  • realworld January 7, 2016 at 10:09 am

    How ironic that there is no bike infrastructure anywhere near the Nike factory store. As a matter of fact the only way to access the store by bike is riding on a narrow [busy] sidewalk after navigating from a horribly unsafe greenway 2 blocks away from either side of MLK.

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    • Ted Timmons (Contributor) January 7, 2016 at 10:14 am

      Huh. Tillamook is only two blocks away, it’s really pleasant. Maybe you’re talking about Williams as “horribly unsafe”? I dispute that too.

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      • Brian January 7, 2016 at 10:27 am

        Agreed. Tillamook, though not super efficient, is a great Greenway and there are plenty of places to connect to it. It’s the street I used to show my wife how easy it is to bike around town when you know where to go. She loved it.

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      • realworld January 7, 2016 at 10:40 am

        Tillamook is not 2 blocks away it’s 4 blocks away so that means from a reasonably safe greenway you’d have to ride a busy [ped] sidewalk for 4 blocks.

        Williams is not a greenway.

        Rodney is the greenway I was speaking of which is a narrow unsafe greenway. and to Nike factory store from there would be on Russell which those 2 blocks are notoriously unfriendly to bikes with crowded street traffic, [heavily used car parking] door zone bike lanes and double parked [in bike lane] commercial vehicles.

        The point is that its not safe to promote bikeshare in an area that sidewalk riding is your only option to and from the store.

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        • Brian January 7, 2016 at 10:42 am

          Tillamook to Seventh (I think) St. and then one block West on a piece of cake neighborhood street to the Factory Store.

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          • realworld January 7, 2016 at 10:53 am

            Seventh is almost as bad as MLK, no bike infra, narrow, poor sight lines, narrow squeeze points around roundabouts and fast moving cars with very little concern for anyone’s safety.
            I wouldn’t put my worst enemy on MLK or Seventh St. on a bike.

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            • realworld January 7, 2016 at 10:57 am

              *Ave, I forgot 7th is an Ave

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          • ethan January 7, 2016 at 11:40 am

            7th is one of the worst in the area. In my experience, it’s actually worse than MLK to ride.

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            • Brian January 7, 2016 at 12:35 pm

              To each his own, of course. I have no problems riding it, especially if just for four blocks.

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              • ethan January 7, 2016 at 12:41 pm

                I’ve been hit on 7th twice. One time, the driver threatened me and then intwntionally hit me with his van.

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              • Brian January 7, 2016 at 1:26 pm

                Sorry to hear that, ethan. That sucks.

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        • Beeblebrox January 7, 2016 at 11:29 am

          You could just walk couple blocks, you know.

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          • ethan January 7, 2016 at 11:39 am

            Tell that to the drivers, state and city who are convinced that they need 4 lane roads everywhere or the economy will collapse.

            Wouldn’t it be great if MLK wasn’t such a traffic sewer? There’s no need to have 3 parallel highways within a mile of eachother in an urban area. Since I5 exists, MLK should be switched to public transit and active transit first and foremost.

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    • ej January 7, 2016 at 11:15 am

      Use Knott St. It’s been a great connector between that portion of Ne /N for me over the last 20 years. From either direction too.

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      • El Biciclero January 7, 2016 at 1:23 pm

        Heh. Listen to yourselves. While all y’all argue about which crappy route is least crappy, even if you have to go blocks out of your way, drivers will just take I-5 to Weidler (or I-84) to MLK, no discussion.

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    • daisy January 7, 2016 at 4:56 pm

      NE Morris is only two blocks north of the Nike store and is part of the Klikitat greenway system. Stanton is only one block north and would be a fine street to use from east or west. And Knott is fine for biking, too.

      MLK is bad, yeah, but perhaps there are other routes in the neighborhood you haven’t explored yet.

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  • GlowBoy January 7, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Really excited about this news, and very excited to use the system once it’s up and running. I still come to Portland several times per year, with my work over on the westside. So for me, having the system present on both sides of the West Hills will be an enormous boon. I will use it every time I come to Portland, and nearly every day I’m there. I don’t usually rent a car when I’m there anyway (and when I do, it’s usually a quick Zipcar trip), but I will now have even less reason to do so.

    I’m interested to see how the dockless system works. I’m used to the dock-based system here in Minneapolis, and use it regularly. Will dockless be like car2go, where the bikes are more widely distributed and you use a web app to find the nearest one?

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    • Ted Timmons (Contributor) January 7, 2016 at 10:27 am

      Dockless- in the earlier discussions, there was going to be a dock but you could lock the bike up anywhere on the same block and it would be considered “home”. There was a bonus/penalty thing going on so you could dump it anywhere, ala car2go, or you could return it to a “dock block”.

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    • davemess January 7, 2016 at 12:20 pm

      Yes, I’m a little confused by that. Jonathan talks about the “smart system” a lot in the article, but then the fact sheet clearly says 100 docks.

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 7, 2016 at 12:35 pm

        there will be some docks, but you don’t have to park at them. That’s a huge difference from other systems like CitiBike in NYC where you must return the bikes to an official dock. The docks in a smart bike system are still needed simply as a marketing and organizing/parking tool… but they won’t be nearly as expensive or cumbersome as traditional kiosks.

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        • davemess January 7, 2016 at 1:42 pm

          Don’t have to, but you still can park at them?
          What is their point? Just more visibility of the program?

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          • davemess January 7, 2016 at 1:43 pm

            Sorry, I need to do a better job of reading.
            I guess I’m just a little skeptical of this system, having found traditional docks to work pretty well.

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            • pdxhobbitmom January 7, 2016 at 2:46 pm

              Docklessness is a big deal for me. I tried bike share overseas (without cell service) and it was a big pain finding docks near where you wanted to go. There were some system maps but not at the dock where we rented the bikes.

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              • Jeff Snavely January 8, 2016 at 12:31 am

                And how do you think finding a bike in a dockless system would work in that same location? I feel like you might only be focusing on the second half of the transaction.

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              • davemess January 8, 2016 at 2:39 pm

                True, but a lot of the market for a bike share system is repeat rides from locals, who will remember where the kiosks are.

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            • Mark Rejhon January 11, 2016 at 2:01 am

              I am a resident in Toronto/Hamilton area.

              Toronto uses a BIXI style system.
              Hamilton uses the SoBi system.
              I am members of both.

              Trust me, SoBi blows away BIXI. By a huge margin.

              I can park the bike at any parking meter, stop sign, pole, or anything, by using SoBi’s electronic U bar. It’s great when docks are overflowing, or my dock is too far away, or I am in a rush to catch a commuter train, etc.

              All the SoBi bikes have built-in GPS trackers.

              Hamilton, a much-more bike unfriendly city than Toronto, with fewer bikes… more active members in less than 12 months than all Toronto in 5 years. They were able to effectively spread 750 bikes over 40 square kilometers (and 120 stations), versus 1000 bikes over 15 square kilometers (and 80 stations, docking required)

              You do have to pay a $1.00 convenience fee if you finish your bikeshare away from a dock, so there’s a crowdsourced incentive to return bikes to a station as you get a credit when locking at an official location.

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        • was carless January 8, 2016 at 2:53 pm

          So… I’ve ridden a couple of these bike share programs (last time in Denver), and the docking stations are nice and easy to find. Won’t it be hard to find these bikes if they are scattered around the city?

          Whats to prevent bike thieves from pitching them to the bottom of the river??

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  • Dave January 7, 2016 at 10:26 am

    Good to see Nike putting some bucks into a non-competitive, participant centered activity.

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  • dan January 7, 2016 at 10:38 am

    Is there a previous BP article describing how the dockless system will work?

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  • Ray Atkinson January 7, 2016 at 10:54 am

    “There will be a public process this spring to determine where the bikes will be placed.” What do you think the public outreach process will look like?

    In addition to an online map, Philadelphia used stickers (see link) to help with public outreach for its bike share system. Since I feel Portland often relies heavily on online maps for public outreach, I hope Portland will consider doing some public outreach that doesn’t require everyone to have access to a computer. This is especially important in downtown where low-income residents likely don’t have access to a computer.

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    • Steve B. January 7, 2016 at 12:28 pm

      That’s a great point about how to do successful public outreach. This approach would be useful here in Portland. Thanks for sharing.

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      • Ray Atkinson January 7, 2016 at 12:47 pm

        Thanks! Since the article mentions how “no other city has used markers at proposed station locations as part of an outreach process”, I’m assuming Portland likely may NOT use a similar public outreach process. While I know Portland staff are intelligent, I’m concerned that Portland staff may be too time constrained and pressured to launch bike share by a certain date to have a successful and equitable public outreach process.

        In case you are wondering how Philadelphia created its sticker outreach campaign, Philadelphia received help from “some wonderful local partners, including Textizen, which created the text-message based feedback platform, and the Mural Arts Program, which helped with the design and implementation of the stickers themselves.”

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    • ajo123 January 7, 2016 at 12:48 pm

      Philly’s outreach, from that short article, seems like it used some great components that Portland can emulate. Big, bright orange stickers would be very difficult to miss!

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  • Brad January 7, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Orange, just like the Orange Theory Fitness bikes popping up around NE Portland.

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  • David Lewis January 7, 2016 at 11:13 am

    Portland desperately needs this shot in the arm, and I hope it comes with an improved outlook on transportation in general. The city deserves direct cycling routes, and maybe this program will help justify it.

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  • Go By Bike
    Go By Bike January 7, 2016 at 11:26 am

    time to start building the infrastructure to support biketown! can’t wait to get my membership!

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  • Schrauf January 7, 2016 at 11:30 am

    Great news. I wonder if the bikes will be of slightly higher quality than the average bike share vehicle. I would be surprised if Nike put their name on the clunkers used in Paris, for example. I realize any bike share vehicle must be tough and therefore fairly heavy and clunky, but some I have used are impressively rough around the edges. But maybe someone who does not bike much (one of the target markets) would not notice.

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  • Neil C
    Neil C January 7, 2016 at 11:34 am

    It’s great to see Nike stepping up for this program.

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  • Spiffy January 7, 2016 at 11:39 am

    ugh, Nike… guess they could use some good PR…

    I can already imagine the children building these bikes in asian sweatshops…

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. January 7, 2016 at 12:22 pm

      You know that don’t do that anymore, right? Not since the 80’s after all that bad press they got.

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      • Steve B. January 7, 2016 at 12:32 pm

        Not quite.

        But let’s not get it twisted, Nike isn’t alone in the world of cheap manufacturing and dubious overseas labor practices. Most of the products we use everyday are made in similar conditions, including our bicycles, clothes, phones, appliances and computers.

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        • soren January 7, 2016 at 1:19 pm

          Every bicycle I’ve ever owned was manufactured in Taiwan, Japan, or Spain. Those nations, unlike the USA, are pluralistic democracies with social safety nets and decent human rights records.

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        • 9watts January 7, 2016 at 9:14 pm

          “Most of the products we use everyday are made in similar conditions, including our bicycles, clothes, phones, appliances and computers.”

          So we should just forget about it then because all choices are bad? I reject this kind of thinking. I think it matters where and how stuff is made, and our approval (whether through buying it or celebrating the results) makes us complicit. Yes it can be exhausting to push back all the time, but what are the alternatives? Cognitive dissonance?

          And FWIW, my bikes, clothes, and appliances were not made in similar conditions; they predate our offshoring of everything in this country. And I don’t have one of those phones that I am guessing I would need to participate in this system/find one of the not-docked bikes? As for my laptop, I suspect it fits your description above. Though I bought it used seven years ago, for whatever that is worth.

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    • Andy K January 12, 2016 at 9:19 am

      Spiffy and 9watts can just cover up the swoosh with tape prior to riding bikeshare, problem solved!

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      • wsbob January 12, 2016 at 10:22 am

        They might prefer to use a sticker reading ‘Bye-Bye Cars! “.

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  • wsbob January 7, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Shaft drive, rather than belt or chain drive. Should work out for utilitarian city bikes, no grease on pant legs and dresses, no need to do the goofy looking right pant leg rolled up only thing. Looks like a generator front hub and a single brake, disc (wait…maybe that is a disc on the front as well.) in the rear.

    Doesn’t look like the kind of bike that would be good to ride up over the west hills, or even up to the zoo, or Washington Park, but that’s probably no big deal to whatever potential for success this bike share system may have.

    Fortunately the bike does have both front light and tail light. Wonder what the lumen output is…hope the lights are bright. Treat looks good on the bike.

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    • Chris January 7, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      Looks like a twist shifter near the RH grip. If the gearing is deep enough, the riding position may still be ok.

      Would be nice to have a mudflap on the front fender, though.

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  • Tad January 7, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    Wonder if this will signal Nike re-entering the cycling apparel market, as they’ve been out since 2007. When I did work for Nike, I biked to work every day from Lake Oswego and unfortunately had to keep wearing all my Pearl Izumi gear despite the general “please wear Nike stuff” ethnic.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. January 7, 2016 at 12:24 pm

      Yes, please! Running shoes aren’t very comfortable on a bike. Although I suppose their skateboard shoe line or Converse would work well.

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    • canuck January 7, 2016 at 12:31 pm

      Please don’t give them ideas. 2007 was their second foray into the market. They left their retailers high and dry both times by just disappearing. I doubt many retailers bitten twice would want to get back in bed with them a third time.

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      • davemess January 7, 2016 at 1:45 pm

        Not to mention I have to think that the whole Lance debacle has left them pretty soured on cycling in general.

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        • canuck January 8, 2016 at 7:00 am

          They were pretty much into Lance on their own before breaking back into market. They were sponsoring the US Postal team at the time. And there was a period where they were still producing the products strictly as LiveStrong products after they terminated the partnership with Trek.

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    • Dan A January 7, 2016 at 12:33 pm

      I see guys all the time in Nike kits riding east on the Hwy 26 MUP. Maybe Nike gives them the kits to wear for commuting?

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      • Andy K January 7, 2016 at 1:06 pm

        That’s me, Dan, among quite a few other commuters. The kits are not available to the general public. 🙁

        I know you’re a westside rider, too…just imagine one of these bikeshare bikes coming up over Kingston or Montgomery. (Not happening!)

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        • Dan A January 7, 2016 at 7:30 pm

          I see fixies on Kingston sometimes….being walked 🙂

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      • Andy K January 7, 2016 at 1:10 pm

        I just realized I didn’t answer your question – no the kits are not given to employees. Give me a shout-out if you recognize me on the MUP!

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    • wsbob January 7, 2016 at 1:10 pm

      I was out of biking for awhile when Nike had it’s cycling line going. When I resumed biking, Nike’s line was just starting to go out. Stores still had some of their gear, but my size was already not available. I kind of liked their sport riding style road shoes and may have got a pair if the company hadn’t stopped producing them.

      A family member gave me one of the company’s aquamarine blue and purple gore-tex Echelon biking jackets, which I still use on occasion. It’s well made, has a distinctive look.

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      • canuck January 8, 2016 at 6:54 am

        I’ll let you in on a secret, the products were designed in partnership with Trek the last time around.

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        • dan January 8, 2016 at 12:13 pm

          Still happily using some Nike carbon-sole road shoes.

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  • ethan January 7, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    It’s weird to me that they unveiled this at a location that’s on a state highway and then had camera crews and demonstrators blocking the sidewalk.

    Also, how will the docks work downtown? Will they be on thw sidewalk? And if so, will the city change the law or post it at each dock to remind people not to ride on sidewalks downtown?

    Not being able to ride directly from the dock to a nearby street would kill the usefullness by quite a bit. It would be like requiring drivers to push their cars out of their parking spots and walk it to the nearest highway before driving away.

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    • ajo123 January 7, 2016 at 12:58 pm

      Not holding my breath, but I think the best-case scenario would be having the docks replace on-street parking closest to the intersections where possible. This would a) put the user at street level instead of sidewalk level when they un-lock, b) daylight the intersection for people trying to cross the street, and c) avoid taking up limited, valuable sidewalk space, especially downtown. Could use small concrete curbs or planters to line the space and dissuade people from parking/driving too close to the docks/bikes.

      In some places, though, like the big plaza in front of OMSI, it could make sense to put the docks prominently closer to the entrance to the business (if there’s enough space). That’d make the program even more visible and minimize the distance people need to walk after to access their destination. On that note, I wonder if businesses will have an opportunity to sub-sponsor docks near their locations, maybe with some smaller branding…

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  • Josh Berezin January 7, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Any word on whether the increased number of bikes in the initial system means the service area will be expanded?

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    • ethan January 7, 2016 at 12:42 pm

      I want to know this as well. The original plan puts no docks anywhere near my house.

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    • Josh Berezin January 8, 2016 at 9:44 am

      Answering my own question:
      I can’t find a link to the story online, but I heard Leah Treat say on OPB this morning that the coverage area would be expanded. She specifically mentioned including more of Southeast and North Portland.

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  • Edwin January 7, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Regarding the quality of the bikes: I have ridden the bikeshare bikes in NY, San Antonio, Toronto, DC, Nashville and a few others, and they all share the same, slow, heavy ride. Which is fine for a 2-3 mile ride. It will not be as good as your own bike, just as a bus/train/subway is not as good as your own car. Having a basket, rack, fender, and lights means it will be useful and fairly safe.
    As for the dockless idea, I have not tried a bike share with that concept yet. The nice thing about docks is that you know where they are. The bad part about them is they are not always that close to where you are going. I will be interested in hearing how that works.
    $10 million does not seem to be that much of an investment considering the great press they will get. Looks like in 2014 they spent $3billion on “demand creation aka advertising.

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    • 9watts January 7, 2016 at 9:18 pm

      “$10 million does not seem to be that much of an investment considering the great press they will get.”

      I don’t think this should surprise us at all. They’ve done the math and figured it is a win for them. And thanks for digging up that figure.

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    • canuck January 8, 2016 at 7:45 am

      Am also interested in how the bikes work. I went to the Social Bikes website and there isn’t any indication on how the technology works.

      It looks like the technology will lock the rear wheel, but is there a way to lock the bike to a rack or other fixed piece of infrastructure.

      My worry is that these bikes will become an easy target for vandalism and will end up in the river like the yellow bikes did.

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      • Ted Timmons (Contributor) January 8, 2016 at 11:53 am

        It was previewed months ago. There’s a u-lock built into the back rack, not just the wheel immobilizer.

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        • canuck January 8, 2016 at 1:54 pm

          Thanks, it’s not obvious from any of the photos and the companies website doesn’t explain anything at all.

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    • Gasper Johnson January 12, 2016 at 3:40 am

      im all about trying the dockless system. In my experience ny desired dock was often already full.

      The problem compounds because there is a sort of migration of bikes each day. Many bikeshare users having the same problem hunting for a open dock. Suddenly you feel like you are back in a car, looking for a parking spot. Half the time i was taking it to catch a bus or train. Stressful.

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  • davemess January 7, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Jonathan, anything on the lights on the back. Looks like a bunch of buttons on top. Are there variable light patterns? Weird they wouldn’t just go with something that’s alway on.

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  • yashardonnay January 7, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    This should really put some pressure on the city to build decent bike infrastructure in the downtown area. It would be an absolute nightmare to let out of towners bike around downtown with infrastructure as is.

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  • Todd Boulanger January 7, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    WOW! – Finally. Such good news.

    This is a very big shot in the arm for PBoT bikeyness…as it would be impossible to retain the City’s bike ranking with another missed deadline.

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  • Todd Boulanger January 7, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    …as for the bike design…please consider future minor tweeks:
    – add a set of loops or bar so that existing bike commuters could attach on the ubiquitous Ortleib type panner on the bikes right (?) side; and
    – add a bit of black tape or plastic to the top of the lower top tube, to minimize the black heel marks common to step-thru utility bikes.

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    • Anthony January 7, 2016 at 2:06 pm

      But why would someone using these already have a pannier or panniers with them? I assume if someone had a pannier with them, they’d also have their own bike with them.

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      • B. Carfree January 7, 2016 at 5:16 pm

        How about when someone rides a bike that is too nice to leave locked outside to the office (where it is stored inside in a secure location) and then wants to pop out for a quick errand? Such a person may prefer to hang a pannier on a BikeTown bike if it were possible.

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  • Buzz January 7, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    No thanks, I won’t buy or use anything branded with the Nike name.

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    • dan January 7, 2016 at 3:52 pm

      Similarly, I have been boycotting Amazon since the Hachette mess. High five for doomed crusades!

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  • Racer X January 7, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    Jonathan – it would be great if you would do a follow up ride test once the system is up and running…to check out the effectiveness of the bike’s lighting…will that headlamp be more for “show” or actually illuminate the roadway as a dynamo with a good bike headlamp (B&M etc.) would.

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    • Dweendaddy January 8, 2016 at 6:50 am

      The light will be a “to be seen” light, not to light up the roadway. I don’t know why they can’t put good lights on bike share bikes. I haven’t seen a system that has them yet.

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  • Tomas La Palella January 7, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    Coming soon, locked to a railing near you.

    No docking stations means you can expect these to show up in places where they shouldn’t be, and for longer than “just a minute”.

    The CitiBike docks are almost foolproof. These rear-rack locks look incompatible with many rack designs out there…. But perfectly suited for locking to signposts, fences and other railings. My worry is that casual renters won’t know any better, so now we’ve got not only bike distribution woes but also hazards for peds and mobility device users, discarded bikes clogging up racks at popular destinations and fresh opportunities for thieves. Expect a mess until proven otherwise.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 7, 2016 at 3:01 pm

      You make valid points… And I actually hope this is a problem because it has a very easy solution: more bike racks. If this happens, it would be very easy to have PBOT install tons more bike parking relatively quickly. And this is exactly the type of infrastructure urgency that bike share can impact on a larger level in terms of actual bikeways.

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      • El Biciclero January 7, 2016 at 4:14 pm

        “…I actually hope this is a problem because it has a very easy solution: more bike racks.”

        I hope so, ‘cuz there’s also another solution: more confiscated bikes (if the approved racks are full of bike share).

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  • Gerald Fittipaldi January 7, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    I’m trying to figure out how the drive train works. From the photos I don’t see a bicycle chain. Anyone know? And how many speeds do the bikes have?

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    • Tomas La Palella January 7, 2016 at 2:25 pm

      Shaft drive. Like a worm gear that’s driven through one of the chainstays. Not terribly common but not that unusual.

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      • Gerald Fittipaldi January 7, 2016 at 7:32 pm

        “Not that unusual.” Really? I can’t recall ever seeing one. Care to name a bike shop that sells this type of bike? It has always struck me as odd that US bike shops don’t offer many bikes that resemble bikeshare bikes. Clever Cycles does, but I wish more shops did.

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    • Dweendaddy January 8, 2016 at 6:52 am

      I agree. It is a strange choice. Though they do exist (, they are rare and not proven an a huge scale like chain driven bikes have been.

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  • Lenny Anderson
    Lenny Anderson January 7, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    Great news! Special acknowledgement for Steve Hoyt-MacBeth, who was PBOT’s point person on this for the last couple of years. Congrats Steve!
    These bikes can be great for first and last mile on TriMet, especially MAX where crowded trains are not too friendly for those with bikes.
    Now I’d like to get adidas a bit anxious about their visibility in town, so that they step up to help fund the “adidas North Portland Willamette Greenway Trail,” that will go almost right by their N. Portland campus!

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    • pea January 7, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      Funny to notice Director Treat’s shoes… looks like they are adidas 😉

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 7, 2016 at 2:59 pm

        nope.. they’re Nikes. She’s too smart to wear Adidas to this event.


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        • 9watts January 7, 2016 at 9:20 pm

          Oh, please!

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        • pea January 8, 2016 at 10:02 am

          phew! looked like three stripes… didn’t get the swoosh shot in the first pics.

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  • Tim Davis January 7, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    I’m still in absolute awe of this announcement! It’s the best cycling–and the best transportation overall–news I’ve heard in YEARS!! And holy cow, were we *ever* due for some good news, especially on the cycling front. We may be incredibly late to the bike-share party, but I think that our system will be the envy of the world! And who better to sponsor and design this entire system than our own Nike? I just love *everything* about this! And Nike has the financial and other resources to make sure that this system works well–and looks great, of course. 🙂 Hopefully BIKETOWN will be Portland’s “Word of the Year” for 2016! 🙂

    Granted, I still want more information about stations or the dockless system in general; that part is really confusing. But I’m sure we’ll hear much more about this soon. Right now it’s all about being incredibly excited!

    Bike share is MUCH more amazing and transformational than most people realize; its uses are endless, and *all* people benefit from this system. I’ve used it with great joy in nearly every big city I’ve visited for the past few years. I’ve also had long assignments in several U.S. cities with bike share, and you just can’t believe how useful and flexible it is. There’s nothing like going from A to B by bike share, B to C by bus, C to D on foot, D to E by bike share, and E back to A via a ride from a friend (or whatever mode you’d like!). And not *one* of those times do you EVER have to worry about your bike; it’s completely out of sight & out of mind. I found myself intentionally going to restaurants and other shops that were within a block of bike share stations just for the fun of it!

    Finally, let’s hope that this is the jump-start we need to get our long, LONG-awaited decent cycling infrastructure downtown! $6 million for an amazing protected north-south cycle track has been sitting there for years. And maybe the Green Loop will gain momentum, as well! Once that’s in, it will radiate out to the neighborhoods via BIKETOWN in the most amazing way!!

    I haven’t hung posters on the wall since college, but a BIKETOWN poster (once/if one is made) is something that I’d hang with pride right now! 🙂

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  • eli bishop January 7, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    “Today, CCC is on board with Biketown to make sure that at least half of the jobs it creates go to people from underserved communities.” Awwww, that’s the kind of thing that makes me feel warm & fuzzy about Portland again. Bikeshare is nice and all, but incorporating social justice components is unique to PDX. More of this, please!

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    • 9watts January 7, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      “Bikeshare is nice and all, but incorporating social justice components is unique to PDX.”

      My take is that it is a clever if not particularly original ploy by a multinational corporation to build up its street cred by ‘partnering’ with local entities that lack the corporation’s mixed record when it comes to social justice. Nike is buying exposure, putting its brand in places otherwise off limits to them/their competitors, and this is the smoke and mirrors it is all wrapped up in.

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      • Mao January 7, 2016 at 10:19 pm

        Nike has made a lot of donations that don’t make it into the news. They’ve given clothes to my middle school and repaired basketball courts. They wouldn’t have to do that since Nike already has a dominating presence in Portland and Oregon, but it’s still a nice gesture.

        Or the city can decline it and hope that a different global corporation with fat stacks to spend steps in.

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        • 9watts January 8, 2016 at 7:33 am

          “They wouldn’t have to do that since Nike already has a dominating presence in Portland and Oregon, but it’s still a nice gesture.”

          The remaining unbranded spaces are getting rarer. Branding is about total dominance. Just look at what Leah Treat wore to the event. Who knows – maybe her underwear was also branded by Nike?

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  • doug B January 8, 2016 at 1:26 am

    I think this is great news, but does anyone else feel like bikeshare in Portland would be much more successful if they did it after the Green Loop was completed?

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    • Ted Buehler January 8, 2016 at 2:02 am

      doug — Nope. But, I think the Green Loop will be more likely to be built because of Bike Share.

      There’s rarely an ideal sequence for anything.

      Best to get what you can get delivered now, and use forward progress to lever your way to the next things you want. I think the term is “sightline” in hiking — if you want to get somewhere you need to actually be able to see a line on the ground that can get you there and not drop off cliffs, get you stuck in a box canyon, etc. There was an organization in Seattle called Northwest Environment Watch who changed their name to Sightline a couple years ago to try to emphasize the point that an end goal is oncly achievable if you can to pick out a route to where you want to go…

      Ted Buehler

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    • Ted Timmons (Contributor) January 8, 2016 at 11:50 am

      I think this is great news, but does anyone else feel like bikeshare in Portland would be much more successful if they did it after the Green Loop was completed?

      so, basically, never, at the rate we’re going?

      bikeshare is amazing progress compared to pretty much everything that has happened lately. We aren’t getting many wins, and the Lars Larson/vantuckyians of the world think it’s still too much, they’d rather we help clog the roads in cars.

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  • Ted Buehler January 8, 2016 at 1:58 am

    Great news!

    Congrats to:
    * Nike, for coming through.
    * Steve Novick, Leah Treat, and all their tireless efforts to land a sponsor.
    * BikePortland blog rats, for finally celebrating good news instead of naysaying it to death…

    Looking forward to seeing how this next era in Portland public transit/bicycle transportation plays out.

    Ted Buehler

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    • Ted Buehler January 8, 2016 at 2:36 pm

      “for finally celebrating good news instead of naysaying it to death…”
      BTW, I fully admit I’ve been a naysayer, Debbie Downer and all sorts of other things as a BikePortland blog rat over the last couple years. I’m not trying to be down on the realists, “downers” or anyone else that thinks we’re going waaaaay too slow with bike improvements in Portland. It’s just that this is a nice little sunbeam of good news — the original plan of 600 bikes was so few that the system might not even function. And a fleet of 1000 from the get-go is a very nice plus.

      Happy Sunny Day, Portlanders,
      Ted Buehler

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  • hotrodder January 8, 2016 at 6:58 am

    I predict 1000 new riders at this summer’s naked ride.

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  • Jeff Bernards January 8, 2016 at 7:25 am

    I see lots of people drinking the Nike koolaid. They got the legislators to sign a 30 year exclusion to pay local taxes in the community of their corporate headquarters. That leaves lots of money to spend where they see it would benefit them most. Fixing a basketball courts (you’ll need some new shoes to use the courts, just saying) even the $10 million is a lot less than what they’ll save in taxes over 30 years. I would love to spend my tax money on projects that only benefited me, but it’s not suppose to be how it works. We’re a community and we vote in legislators and hope they will help everyone who has needs and just their own.
    The Knight Cancer center is great, for now. We borrowed $200 million to help uncle Phil. There’s no long term funding in place, taxpayers are going to be on the hook for years to come.
    Oops I almost forgot, thanks Nike for the bikes.
    Side note Paris is going to start offering e-bikes, where you have your own battery and slide it in and go. I test road them last month, pretty awesome, considering I love e-bikes.

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    • wsbob January 8, 2016 at 9:46 am

      Rather than encouragement to corporations, to spend some of their profit and budget on self promoting philanthropic gestures, are you suggesting the public instead dwell engage in an ongoing fusillade of sour grapes in response to positive corporate involvement in the fabric of society?

      Not as much as many people most likely, but having lived in Beaverton for a few decades, and having a family member employed long term with the company, I feel like I know a few things about the company and its significance to the community, locally and beyond. As big corporations often go, Nike is easily the lesser of evils. Much nicer to have an active sports equipment manufacturer in the community, than it would be to have a big steel factor, a paper mill, a motor vehicle manufacturing plant…and so on.

      Corporations can be mixed blessings. I think it’s important to be realistic about what they are, but also to not pass up opportunities to help mold their character and encourage them to engage positively with the communities from which they operate.

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      • Jeff Bernards January 9, 2016 at 12:51 am

        They are not a local sports manufacture, they’re an importer.

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  • Eric January 8, 2016 at 9:41 am

    Shaft drive. Interesting. Those bikes must weight a metric ton.

    Anyway, sounds like a cool program. How many will we see in a decommissioned state at the transient camps under the bridges?

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  • ohmyggg January 8, 2016 at 10:35 am

    I’ve lived in both NYC and Portland and my observation has always been that a much greater percentage of cyclists in Portland wear helmets vs. New York. With the CitiBike program in NY, that difference becomes greater (tourists don’t usually pack a helmet for their visit to the Big Apple, for example). Considering Portland cyclists are probably amongst the most responsible cycling communities in the country, and this is a Portland cycling blog, I’m surprised there’s not one mention of helmets in the entire article or comments.

    What are your thoughts on the lack of safety when it comes to the fact that users of bikeshare programs usually ride helmet-less?

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  • was carless January 8, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    Wow, at first glance those bikes look amazing!

    Can’t wait to ride them. I’m pretty happy to see one of our local mega-corps spreading the love around our fair city.

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  • ohmyggg February 5, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Ted Timmons (Contributor)
    oh, that old trope.How many fatalities have there been on NYC bikeshare bikes?(hint: none)Recommended 6

    Interesting. I’m actually genuinely curious (i.e., not just recycling some safety cliche), but your data point, if true, would be surprising. Considering how recklessly people drive in NYC and how clueless tourists can be, I’d expect plenty of injuries and at least some fatalities.

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    • Ted Timmons (Contributor) February 5, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      It’s pretty easy to google- here’s an example.

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    • lop February 6, 2016 at 10:07 am

      NYers travel something on the order of 100 million miles per day. Transportation deaths average less than one per day. Since it’s launch there has been less than 100 million miles traveled by citibike, I think in the neighborhood of 50-60 million. No fatalities yet, fortunately, but given the limited use relative to how rare transport deaths are that only means so much.

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      • Andy K February 6, 2016 at 1:08 pm

        The average motor vehicle speed in manhattan is 8mph, which helps a lot!

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  • Steven Clark August 29, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    Its been a few months… I’m just glad “bikie town” hasn’t caught on!

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