Esplanade closure begins February 1st

OHSU employees have logged one million days of biking to work

Posted by on February 13th, 2018 at 11:32 am

Ample parking with valet service, rewards for riding, and a scenic trip on the Tram are just some of the motivations for OHSU staff to ride.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

OHSU Bike Program Stats

Through December 2017.

  • Participants to date: 6,744
  • Total miles logged: 9,055,330
  • Average miles per trip: 9
  • Riders biking 10+ miles daily: 2,738
  • Gallons of oil saved: 778,758
  • Money saved over driving: $5,125,317
  • Calories burned: 380,323,860

Learn more at

Oregon Health and Science University is touting a major new milestone this week: staff and students at Oregon’s largest employer have logged their millionth workday of biking to campus (they measuire trips (one-way or round-trip) as one “day” of biking).

Of those million rides, over 650,000 of them were to the Marquam Hill campus, 244,000 were to South Waterfront, and nearly 50,000 were to downtown.

And while OHSU’s stellar cycling record has innumerable benefits to the growing institution itself, riders also reap rewards in the form of cash payments. Transportation Options Coordinator John Landolfe say he’s paid out over $1 million to riders since the bike program began in 2010. The promise is simple: 20 rides earns $20 — the only requirements are that you log into the network and your ride is at least two miles round-trip to any OHSU location.

Since Landolfe started tracking trips, over 6,700 people have participated in the program. In the past seven years the rate of OHSU staff who bike to the Marquam Hill campus was 8 percent. That number is now close to 20 percent of the total workforce. The average bike trip is nine miles per day.

The rider who logged the millionth day was 27 year-old OBGYN resident Lauryn Roth.

The lynchpin of this success is the Portland Aerial Tram, which makes the climb up to “Pill Hill” avoidable. As we shared last year, of all the OHSU Marquam Hill employees who take the tram, nearly one-in-four get to it by bike. At the base of the tram about 500 people park their bikes each day, with well over 300 of them using the Go By Bike bike valet on an average day.


While Landolfe celebrates his bike program, he also knows it’s time for an update. They’ve been using the same underlying trip-counting technology since 2010 and — while it was state-of-the-art back then — new technology could vastly improve the system. “We’ve been working behind the scenes,” Landolfe says, “and we’re excited to unveil something new in 2018.”

Landolfe is probably much less excited about two looming closures of the tram. One starts tomorrow (2/14) and lasts five days. And another closure begins June 23rd and is slated to last 38 days.

Hopefully the riding habit for these OHSU workers is strong enough that they’ll keep riding despite that hassle.

For more on OHSU’s bike program, check out

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

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  • Smarty Pants February 13, 2018 at 11:42 am

    Holy shi+! 1 million days is more than 2,700 years. I didn’t even know OHSU had been around that long.

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    • Kyle Banerjee February 13, 2018 at 1:37 pm

      Employees do their jobs during the workday and spend most of the rest of the time at home, so saddle time is considerably less.

      On the plus side, actual total is probably significantly higher — I regularly forget to log my trips (you can only log them on the actual day you take them).

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    • Mark Allyn February 14, 2018 at 8:57 am

      Yes, it was. I thought that I read somewhere that the Nile River Delta was conquered at about 700 BCE. And that OHSU’s president was one of those who conquered the Nile River.

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  • Stephen Keller February 13, 2018 at 11:45 am

    Smarty Pants
    Holy shi+! 1 million days is more than 2,700 years. I didn’t even know OHSU had been around that long.

    Apparently more than one employee cycles to work.

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    • Chris I February 13, 2018 at 12:31 pm


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    • Smarty Pants February 13, 2018 at 1:06 pm

      Title of the article: “OHSU employees have logged one million days of biking to work”


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      • Brian February 13, 2018 at 1:45 pm

        But don’t they have, like, 1 million employees?

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  • rainbike February 13, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    My modest contribution: 1396 bicycle commute days since May 2009.

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    • Dawn February 13, 2018 at 2:46 pm

      I’ve chipped in 877 since 2013! 🙂

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  • CaptainKarma February 13, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    Imagine if our “fearless leaders” in national govt supported this concept like OHSU does.

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    • Smarty Pants February 13, 2018 at 1:01 pm

      Very true. I’ve been wanting to ride my bike to work, and have begged our fearless leaders to let me do it, but they always deny my request. Otherwise, I’d ride my bike to work every day.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy February 13, 2018 at 1:52 pm

        You’re being held down by The Man!

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  • Kate February 13, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    that’s awesome…would love to know how many days armando is personally responsible for 🙂

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    • dudeluna February 19, 2018 at 1:16 pm

      hah! let’s see, i just checked my trip log-955 trips since 6/1/12. i would guess maybe the total would be at least double that! i wish i could go back and include the days i forgot to log my rides. that would be a lot of cash! and that’s not including the “good ol’ days” before the tram!

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  • bikeninja February 13, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    Awesome, Shows the benefits of limited Automobile Parking ( on the hill) on cycling ridership. A template we can surely follow to reduce auto commuting, reduce congestion and save the planet.

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    • Kyle Banerjee February 13, 2018 at 3:58 pm

      Parking is probably the biggest reason people don’t drive, but it’s not the only one — and it doesn’t necessarily dissuade people from driving.

      Because of limited road capacity and a bad chokepoint at the bottom of the hill, my coworkers employ a number of techniques including walking down the hill to catch transit or get to their car or even going up the hill and descending on a different road.

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  • John Landolfe February 13, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    Shout out to Tony in our financial office who, over 150+ pay periods, tracked down the checks for all the students who change their addresses every six months. He’s the real hero.

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  • patellwhatthehell February 13, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    We lived at the top of the hill in 1993 when my partner began medical school, and I rode my bike down and up that hill five days a week for a year. Lots of traffic, and pretty steep, the hill was just too much for many people — and there was definitely no way to bike up without going into a serious sweat (which would be a problem for many employees at OHSU or elsewhere). Big props to OHSU for the many ways they’ve encouraged walking and cycling, and I hope to see them continue to put creative effort into promoting bicycling.

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  • Toby Keith February 13, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    An “uplifting” story for sure! But is that bike lot secure? Is it patrolled? Seems like it would be a tweaker’s paradise otherwise.

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    • BrianC February 13, 2018 at 8:55 pm

      The trailer in the photo is where the bike check staff work, so the big parking area has someone there to watch over things.

      To my knowledge, they have never lost a bike in the time that the Go By Bike crew has been there.

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  • q February 13, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    That space in the photo is one of my favorite urban spaces in Portland, and all activated by transportation. People biking, people walking, tram cars coming and going, streetcar passing through, people going up and down the stairs and elevator to and from the pedestrian bridge looming beyond…

    And virtually no separation of modes. The streetcar passes within a few feet of the front entrance of the building on the right. Dozens of people get off the tram and walk down (not just cross) the streetcar tracks. Bikes everywhere. Even dogs if you’re around at the end of the day.

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  • Andy K February 13, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    Major props to the people who ride all the way up to the campus every day.

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    • soren February 14, 2018 at 8:54 am

      I completely disagree with this sentiment.

      Major props to people who have given bike commuting a try due to the tram and other bike infrastructure improvements.

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      • Kyle Banerjee February 14, 2018 at 11:50 am

        I’m with soren here. The type of people who set the best example would be overweight individuals who didn’t previously ride give it a shot, do just fine, and tell their friends.

        Getting people cycling is all about normalizing the experience — which it won’t be if it’s regarded as a sign of athleticism, toughness, courage, or commitment to some cause.

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        • q February 14, 2018 at 12:22 pm

          I agree also. One thing that struck me walking past the bike corral recently was how so many of the bikes were pretty basic, upright, “non-elite” bikes, and a lot of people leaving with their bikes were wearing regular clothes–both good signs to me.

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          • jeff February 14, 2018 at 2:50 pm

            wow, as if just regular, caring people work at a hospital. mind blowing stuff, right?

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            • q February 14, 2018 at 3:07 pm


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            • q February 14, 2018 at 3:26 pm

              Just to clarify, my point by mentioning the “regular” type of bikes and clothing–as opposed to seeing expensive road bikes and athletic-looking people in full cycling gear- was to say that that my observation supports the previous commenters, whose remarks I interpreted as expressing happiness that bike commuting has expanded at OHSU beyond the hardcore, athletic commuters to include a broader range of people.

              The fact that they work at a hospital is irrelevant. Your interpretation is wrong that my comments indicate I was surprised that “regular, caring people” would work at a hospital.

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  • Paul H February 14, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    My office at OHSU is downtown, not on the hill. Our building recently completed a decent bike-storage room in the building’s parking garage. It’s not visible from the street, includes both wall- and floor-mounted racks (the latter nice for e-bikes and other heavy gear), has nice windows so would-be thieves would be visible to passers-by, and is behind a locked door.

    And the extra $20 every four or five weeks is nice too!

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