Special gravel coverage

Blazers star CJ McCollum rolls on Biketown (and so have thousands of other people)

Posted by on July 27th, 2016 at 10:28 am

This video, posted to Instagram and Twitter last night by Trail Blazers star guard CJ McCollum, says just about everything you need to know about Portland’s new bike share system: It’s fun, it’s easily accessible which encourages spontaneity (McCollum said his ride was done on an impulse, probably as a celebration of his new contract), it’s considered cool enough for a stylish and respected NBA star to ride (thanks Nike!), and it appeals to a much broader swath of Portlanders than regular old cycling does.

These are just some of the reasons why after just one week, Biketown looks like a huge success that’s making people sing and smile (just like CJ) all over town. In fact, over 7,000 people have taken a Biketown for a ride in the first 7 days.

Here are the latest numbers from Biketown’s operator Motivate Inc as of 2:00 pm yesterday (Tuesday):

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Annual Members: 1640

Single Ride: 4184

Day Pass: 1305

Total number of trips: 13,402 (that’s about 1.9 trips per bike per day)

I’m reluctant to compare our stats to other cities because it’s impossible to find an apples-to-apples comparison. Suffice it to say these are very solid numbers. And if you’ve been keeping your eyes peeled on the streets (or on social media) since last Tuesday you know that Portlanders love this system and all types of people — both locals and visitors — are already making it a part of their lives.

I’ve got a longer post in the works that summarizes a bunch of my initial thoughts, tips and other observations about the profound impact Biketown is having on Portland. Stay tuned and enjoy your new bicycle transit system. After all it’s “highly recommended” by “3J” himself.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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  • J.E. July 27, 2016 at 11:10 am

    One week in and the system is a success. All I want to know is, when do we get our expansion pack (both outward to expand the usage area and inward to improve station density in N, NE, and SE)?

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  • John July 27, 2016 at 11:16 am

    I’m not surprised in the least about its popularity given the number of tourists I’ve seen downtown this summer. Last week I saw the happiest German (my guess) tourist ever asking me how to get to PSU and what else he should see. He pedaled away singing while riding his Biketown bike.

    I’ve ridden twice already in the last week and it’s been great! I’ve been taking it on my pokemon go adventures and using it to connect with transit more easily. Takes a little getting use to the bike and how you sit, but I really like that there’s a bell on-board and the baskets are very convenient.

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  • David July 27, 2016 at 11:17 am

    It’s REALLY hard to ride those bikes without a smile on your face.

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  • MB July 27, 2016 at 11:22 am

    I wonder if he will send the opt-out email for waving his rights to a jury & class action lawsuits??

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  • Brian July 27, 2016 at 11:30 am

    It’s great to see local “stars” endorsing the system, especially for the kiddos to see. Nice work, CJ.

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  • MB July 27, 2016 at 11:30 am

    And yet again outter SE, NE and N get no biketown stations….

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    • ethan July 27, 2016 at 12:18 pm

      It took many years (and a corporate sponsor) to get what we have.

      Is there any corporate sponsor that is willing to support bikeshare throughout the entire city?

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      • Lester Burnham July 27, 2016 at 1:31 pm

        And that basically means outer NE/SE will never see it.

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      • Alex Reedin July 28, 2016 at 9:26 am

        Yup… And not just because of the size of the sponsorship, also because outer NE/SE residents are poorer and therefore our eyeballs are less valuable to Nike and other corporations. A choice for a transportation system solely funded by corporate marketing dollars is a choice for a system that serves the rich and not the poor.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 27, 2016 at 11:35 am

    And yes, Grimm TV star David Giuntoli also rides Biketown https://twitter.com/mistergiuntoli/status/755617108558360577 !

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    • Champs July 27, 2016 at 11:40 am

      What about our city officials?

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      • Chris I July 27, 2016 at 1:11 pm

        I think I saw Amanda Fritz on one of them, riding on the sidewalk, no less…

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        • Dan A July 27, 2016 at 2:37 pm


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          • Dan G July 27, 2016 at 6:49 pm

            It wouldn’t surprise me.

            It takes a not-inconsiderable amount of bravery to ride in the streets. For many (most?), the sidewalk is seen as the selfish but not insane option.

            I’ll bet she’d use a protected bike lane if one was available.

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            • Dan A July 27, 2016 at 8:27 pm


              “My choice is basic infrastructure to make streets safer for all, before a bike rental program to encourage people to cycle in an unsafe environment.

              I may support a bike sharing program downtown when I see bike riders using downtown streets and sidewalks in a safe manner. Daily, I see cyclists in the Light rail and bus lanes in front of my office. I see cyclists riding on the sidewalks, endangering and harassing pedestrians. I see cyclists running red lights and making illegal turns off the bus mall. And these are presumably experienced cyclists. I believe a bike rental program downtown would only add to these unsafe behaviors. The behaviors are unsafe for cyclists as well as pedestrians and drivers. The cycling community seems to be doing little or nothing to educate riders or reduce these dangerous behaviors.

              Until downtown streets and sidewalks are safe for all modes of users, I will not support using scarce transportation dollars for projects that would exacerbate problems rather than providing basic services that enhance safety for all modes.” — Fritz

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  • Alex Reedin July 27, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Well, trips per bike per day seems like a widely used metric. By that, we’re way behind the leaders (albeit those are mature systems, either in much larger/denser cities or hot tourist destinations).

    Portland: 1.9 trips per bike per day (in summer, but soon after launch). Global leaders: 5.5-10.8 trips per bike per day. North American leaders: 4-8 trips per bike per day in summer. http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/05/travel/bike-share-boom-global-report/ http://journalistsresource.org/studies/environment/transportation/bikeshare-research-growth-user-demographics-health-societal-impacts

    On the plus side, we paid a lot less per bike due to our “smart bike” technology so we can hopefully accumulate about as much ridership per capita as these other systems at the same cost per capita with fewer rides per bike by just putting out more bikes than they do. And, hopefully our ridership per bike will go up as people get used to the system.

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    • Alex Reedin July 27, 2016 at 12:50 pm

      We do, however, already have slightly higher ridership per bike than Minneapolis’ Nice Ride system, which is a well-loved system in a comparable city (larger size, I’d guess lower tourism, so kind of a wash?) . So that’s a good sign!

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  • JJJ July 27, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    While that is the correct metric, its something you really want to look at over a longer period of time. Weather and other individual factors can influence the number on a random Tuesday on a random month, for example.

    I think once August is finished, that monthly average would be a good starting point.

    And yes, 8 rides per day per bike is a good goal, but as you mentioned, this is a much cheaper system, so a smaller amount would also make sense.

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  • rachel b July 27, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    CJ McCollum = fabulousness. 🙂

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  • Eric Leifsdad July 27, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    Sad that some people seem to think he’s in grave danger without a helmet at 5mph. Sadder that they feel the need to scold him about it on the internet. Make sure your dog is wearing a helmet when you go out in the mean streets, people!

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    • Dan A July 27, 2016 at 2:41 pm

      Do you suppose that these people who are so concerned for his safety are more or less likely to be careful drivers? I’d guess the 2nd one.

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  • ohamerica July 27, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    Biketown is AWESOME. I signed up to be a year member yesterday.

    I have to echo the beauty in the spontaneity that it inspires. The other day I walked from downtown to the Stadium Fred Meyer. I bought a six pack of beer and a couple of other things that was going to make my walk a little more challenging. To my surprise, however, biketown was right outside of my exit from Fred Meyer and I was like, “well then!…”, put my six-pack and groceries in the basket and cruised the rest of the way home which also has a dock nearby.

    All power to the people!…

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  • Gabriel July 28, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    I’m stoked about Biketown, but not being able to sue the company for a faulty bike that causes injury is alarming: http://www.wweek.com/news/2016/07/27/biketown-is-a-rarity-a-portland-city-service-that-bars-users-from-suing/

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