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Inside the “Bike Lounge” at new Modera Belmont apartments

Posted by on May 9th, 2018 at 10:32 am

Come on in says Community Manager Daunte Francis.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus)

It was the River City Bicycles vending machine that first caught my eye.

Not the run-of-the-mill inner tube vending machines many of you have already seen (there’s one at Green Zebra Grocery in north Portland) — I’m talking about a real vending machine with lots of selection and cool products: like hats, bottle cages, stylish water bottles, high-quality chain lube, bells, and more.

After seeing the machine in my social media feeds, I had to swing by the new Modera Belmont apartments on Southeast 6th and Belmont to get a closer look.

Assistant Community Manager Daunte Francis welcomed me at the door and humored my strange request to see the machine and snap a few photos.

I had no idea it lived inside a “Bike Lounge.”

Over the years as our central city has gone bonkers with new apartments and condominiums, we’ve seen many attempts to woo bike-loving tenants. It’s actually rare for one of these new buildings to not make some sort of overt aesthetic or amenity-oriented effort to show how bike-oriented they are. There’s the “Milano” apartments in the Rose Quarter named after the legendary Bianchi bike model; the cycling-inspired Peloton apartments on North Williams; the Central Eastside Lofts on NE Couch and 6th that we said “raised the bar” for bike-friendly amenities when it opened in 2013; and many others.

And of course no discussion of bike amenities at new residential buildings is complete without mentioning the 600-space Lloyd Cycle Station.

But even with all that stiff competition, the Modera Belmont is worth noting.

As Daunte led me through the lobby we followed signs to the Bike Lounge, walking past a wall designed to look like a chalkboard that had drawings of people riding tall bikes. After he waved a key-card at the secure entry, the door to the Bike Lounge swung open to reveal row-upon-row of bike racks. But of course it takes much more than indoor bike parking to excite a jaded bicycle journalist. That’s when Daunte showed me the lounge area.

Follow the signs.

The view of SE 7th Avenue.

The 200-unit building has 302 bike parking spaces.

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A floor pump would have worked, but this is a very nice upgrade.

“I’ll meet you in the Bike Lounge.”

Loaner tools and work stands.

On the brightly-lit eastern side of the building (SE 7th, a major bicycle corridor) there are two separate seating areas with comfy leather chairs and a coach in front of a big screen TV. Two of the chairs face a huge wall with a bike map of the central city behind a dry-erase board. There are pens and an eraser nearby, which I assume are there to help people share recommended destinations and how to arrive at them by bike safely. I’ve seen big bikes maps on walls before, but the ability to draw on it is a very nice touch.

This map is a great idea.

With pens to mark hot spots.

There are also two Bike Fixation work stands and a full complement of loaner tools and a heavy-duty air compressor (no arduous pumping needed!) mounted to a nearby wall. A room in the middle of the lounge is the bike wash. I didn’t get a great photo of it, but just imagine a shower for a very large human. There’s a shower-head at the end of a hose, a bike stand, and a sink.

And then there’s the vending machine. As per usual, River City Bicycles went the extra mile on this project. Not content to merely slap their sticker on a stock vending machine, they wrapped this one in cool graphics and totally customized it. The machine is first-rate with brightly-lit shelves that spin around so you can see the full selection at the push of a button. “Can’t find whatcha need?” proclaims a sticker on the front. “We’re just a few blocks away.” (Indeed, Modera residents can easily walk to River City’s outlet store on 6th and Belmont or their flagship store on SE Alder and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.)

Nice work RCB!

Another feature I was very pleased to see was a separate entry door directly from SE 7th Avenue that had a nice wide ramp for rolling bikes directly into the lounge (so you don’t have to go through the nicely decorated lobby).

A bike ramp and entrance into the Bike Lounge directly from SE 7th Ave.

And to top it all off, there were two TransitScreen monitors in the lobby displaying real-time information about nearby buses, light rail, and bike share.

All this can be yours for about $1,500 a month for a one-bedroom or $2,500 (and up) for a two-bedroom.

Overall, it’s a very impressive effort to encourage no-car/low-car living in a fast-growing inner eastside district. Now we need to make the streets outside this building just as welcoming.

Learn more about the Modera Belmont building via our friends at NextPortland.

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

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63 Comments
  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty May 9, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Where are all the bikes?

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    • Kyle Banerjee May 9, 2018 at 10:59 am

      My guess is that the expensive ones are still stored in apartments. I doubt there’s much risk to less expensive bikes such as the ones in the photos, decent components can be quickly stripped with simple tools. Many apartments have locked bike storage, but I have yet to see one that I could leave my own bikes in.

      Having said that, the amenities are solid and the workstation and supplies are especially welcome.

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    • Henry May 9, 2018 at 11:03 am

      I’m not sure if this is the explanation, but I think these apartments were just completed, so I’m guessing they don’t have full occupancy yet?

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    • Chris I May 9, 2018 at 12:41 pm

      Brand new apartment that is nowhere near full yet. I know you are salivating at the implication that these new fancy apartments aren’t occupied by “real Portland” cyclists.

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    • maxadders May 9, 2018 at 3:52 pm

      “Car free lifestyle” doesn’t necessarily imply that one owns a bike, but rather that one parks their car down the street for free.

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  • Andrew Kreps May 9, 2018 at 10:56 am

    It looks like those trays won’t support longer bicycles or the plus size tires that are so common today. Can you comment on parking something other than the pictured cruiser bikes there? Also, loading a bicycle onto the top trays looks extremely difficult, especially in the middle of the rack.

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    • mh May 10, 2018 at 10:43 am

      Getting my (steel) bikes onto top-rack parking is reasonable only if there is some kind of counterweight helping me raise the channel that I hope is provided. Please don’t tell me I have to hump it several feet in the air and get both wheels in the channel. Tell me there is something substantial to lock to, because I don’t see anything.

      These racks look to me like bike shop display racks, which someone tried to sell my building when we were looking to fit more bike parking into existing space.

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  • SilkySlim May 9, 2018 at 10:57 am

    Impressed. There are so many things they did right compared to the set up at my current office (cumbersome lockers, work stand placed directly against wall, elevator access only, etc.).

    That pump is amazing, I didn’t even no such things existed.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty May 9, 2018 at 12:11 pm

      I think the map is pretty cool.

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      • John Lascurettes May 9, 2018 at 1:09 pm

        I want a map like that in every LBS and office with bike commuters. Super useful. So many applications.

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  • Bill Tedford May 9, 2018 at 11:04 am

    When I toured the Modera I really liked it. Very modern and the bike lounge was top notch. However, I was turned off (amongst other things) with having to pay $10 a month per bike to store them in the bike lounge.

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    • Greg Spencer May 9, 2018 at 11:42 am

      Considering the anemic use of the parking, maybe $10 is too much. But free is too little. In the last apartment building we lived in, there was free, common bike parking in our ground-floor courtyard. Many of the spots were occupied by bikes that were rarely if ever used, and during summer the the racks were oversubscribed. A monthly fee of even a nominal amount would have sorted the problem out.

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    • pdx2wheeler May 9, 2018 at 2:30 pm

      That $10 should go toward some form of insurance in case a tenant’s bike gets stolen or parted-out. I’d be livid paying for secure storage, having my bike stolen, and then have no recourse! Particularly if parking bikes inside those apartments is ‘technically’ not allowed (not sure if that’s the case here).

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      • Pete S. May 11, 2018 at 5:48 am

        Your recourse is renters insurance. It costs basically peanuts.

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  • Dween May 9, 2018 at 11:23 am

    I’ll be interested to see what the space is used for a few years from now. You think people believe in the right to free car parking? You should meet some cyclists, they really hate paying for parking.

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    • Toadslick May 9, 2018 at 11:41 am

      Reminder: Most people who bike also sometimes drive a car.

      You should meet some cyclists, they really hate paying for parking.

      Where is this assertion even coming from? I can think of very few examples of paid-for bike parking in Portland. And I find it hard to believe that people who are already paying $1500/mo for a 1-bedroom apartment would scoff at an addition $10/mo for convenient and secure storage, especially given the building’s location and the rampant bike theft in Portland.

      And finally, “You should meet some cyclists” really falls flat on a blog that is about, for, and authored by people who bike.

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      • Matthew in PDX May 9, 2018 at 11:54 am

        I agree. The $10/bike/month may alleviate the situation I have found in many of the apartment buildings I have lived in – bike racks full of bikes all of which have a heavy coat of dust. In the condo building I lived in from 2001 to 2004 (another city in another country) I moved in some years after the building was opened, there was a generous number of staple type bike racks in the parking garage, but they were thick with dust laden bicycles – I think that many may have been abandoned by long-departed tenants/owners. Imposing a fee will discourage most people from abandoning bikes in the bike room and if a tenant quits the building or is evicted, the property manager can remove their bike/s and open the space for other residents.

        There are more people who like the idea of biking than people who bike, sadly.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty May 9, 2018 at 11:56 am

        Maybe he means cyclists hate to pay to park their cars. This is very likely true, not because people are cyclists, but because most everyone dislikes paying for parking.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty May 9, 2018 at 11:59 am

          Cancel my comment. I didn’t read the adjacent comment the grandparent was likely responding to.

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        • Middle of the Road Guy May 9, 2018 at 1:56 pm

          Nobody like to pay for parking but most people think other people should pay for parking.

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          • 9watts May 9, 2018 at 9:49 pm

            Vehicle type matters. Cars don’t scale; bikes (unless they are an oversupply of dockless Chinese bikes discarded by the thousands) do scale just fine. In fact some have noted that the more bikes the better biking becomes. I don’t think you can say the same for cars.

            Parking those cars, as Monsieur Shoup reminds us, costs everyone, and so I am for everyone with a car shouldering that cost. However I don’t see the comparable social value of requiring this for bikes.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty May 9, 2018 at 10:49 pm

              More bikes = better biking is only true when numbers are relatively low. If the the numbers of drivers and cyclists were reversed, cycling would be a chore. It’s probably more accurate to say they scale well when numbers are low. The same is true for cars.

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              • John Lascurettes May 10, 2018 at 12:01 am

                I’ll worry about that problem when we get there.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 10, 2018 at 12:04 am

                Yes, of course. The point is just that things often appear more scalable when they’re small.

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              • 9watts May 10, 2018 at 6:57 am

                “More bikes = better biking is only true when numbers are relatively low.”

                Are you sure about that?
                Because I’m not. let’s for sake of argument assume we’re at 25% mode share, and then climate change or the Cascadia Subduction Zone quake or the unaffordability of oil hits us, and we shoot up to 60%. I can think of ten reasons why things for biking might improve as the nshare of cars plummets and our infrastructure shifts from being for cars to being for bikes. Never mind the thousand micro-shifts we’d experience from bike congestion. Who knows maybe bike theft would even cease to be a problem because it finally became a priority for law enforcement orb cause everyone already had a bike or three.

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              • Cpt. Obvus May 10, 2018 at 9:28 am

                Beg to differ. I went to school at UC Davis in the 90s, a time and place (on campus) where the numbers were reversed very much as you describe. Imagine vast bike parking areas, at least a dozen, all of them at least four times larger than Go By Bike (base of the tram) and all of them quite full. It was still easy to get around by bike. (Bike) traffic between classes and at noon was heavy but brisk.

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    • Kyle Banerjee May 9, 2018 at 1:02 pm

      Dween
      I’ll be interested to see what the space is used for a few years from now. You think people believe in the right to free car parking? You should meet some cyclists, they really hate paying for parking.

      I beg to differ — note that none of the lockers are available.

      https://www.portlandoregon.gov/Transportation/article/58383

      I’ve been able to rent lockers in other places I’ve lived. It’s great because you don’t have to strip your bike every time you come in, you don’t have to lug a heavy lock, and it provides far better protection.

      If your bike isn’t worth much and you don’t have far to go, locking it to a rack is no big deal. But if you put the miles on, you really appreciate having a decent bike. Not being able to have a place to store your bike is a major disincentive as is being forced to ride a piece of junk that people will leave alone.

      Free racks should be provided for those who don’t want to pay for lockers for whatever reason. But a city like Portland really should offer more secure bike storage options, even if that comes with fees attached.

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    • Dan A May 9, 2018 at 1:25 pm

      I would love more paid, secure bike parking, all over the city. I pay for bike parking at my work.

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      • John Lascurettes May 10, 2018 at 12:03 am

        I would love for affordable, convenient, and secure bike parking throughout the city. Same as drivers take for granted with the Smart Parks around town. I’d happily pay $2-5 for a secure garage or locker for my bike while watching a movie at a theater.

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        • Kyle Banerjee May 10, 2018 at 6:08 am

          What I would like even more is a monthly rate that would gain you access to secure lockers located around the city.

          That could ensure a consistent source of revenue for the city or whoever maintains them and a lower marginal rate per trip which would encourage people to ride.

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        • Grant May 10, 2018 at 1:03 pm

          The 10th and Yamhill SmartPark renovation will add secure bike parking for 42 bikes, accessible to anyone with a HOP card.

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  • Buzz May 9, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    When I first moved here in 1987 I rented a 3 bedroom craftsman single family house in Irvington for $525/mo.

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    • BB May 9, 2018 at 1:32 pm

      Remember when soup was a nickel?!

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      • Andrew Kreps May 9, 2018 at 1:39 pm

        You can still get a cup of coffee for a nickel in South Dakota.

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      • Nobody May 9, 2018 at 1:44 pm

        All that bass is gonna break my ears

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      • Buzz May 9, 2018 at 3:59 pm

        No.

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        • Buzz May 9, 2018 at 10:15 pm

          Soup was a nickel in 1937, not 1987.

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          • Chris I May 10, 2018 at 8:51 am

            *whooosh

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  • Dan A May 9, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    The Lloyd Cycle Station has a TV with some lounge chairs in front of it, set up in front of the window into the room. I’ve never seen the TV turned on — not sure what it’s for. It’s not like people sit around watching the Tour or something.

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    • billyjo May 11, 2018 at 8:28 am

      I’ve never understood that. Do you really want people hanging out around where the bikes are? Sitting there, scanning the bikes and deciding what they’re gonna go steal? Not every thief looks like a thief. Many of them blend in with everyone else.

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      • bendite May 12, 2018 at 11:45 am

        Seems like a good idea to have people hanging out near the bikes. What’s more of a deterrent to thieves, people nearby or no one around?

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  • Champs May 9, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    I’ve been caught unprepared recently enough to know that the vending machine at Green Zebra on Lombard is broken and looted.

    Park in a common room and it’ll happen to your bike, too.

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    • Champs May 9, 2018 at 1:50 pm

      Adding to that, a big thanks to security at Freddy’s on Interstate for mostly looking the other way in sporting goods while I fixed that flat with one of their pumps.

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      • Kyle Banerjee May 9, 2018 at 2:12 pm

        You had a tire levers and a tube or patch but nothing to inflate with?

        The good news is that PDX cyclists are very good about helping each other. I carry what I need and know what I’m doing so I don’t look helpless. All the same, other riders check in with me pretty much every time — particularly if conditions are bad. Even motorists regularly offer help.

        Breakdown options are excellent out here. There’s public transport, bike capable car share, lots of bike shops, lots of people willing to help. Worst case scenario is a couple hours walk. If you’re going to have bike trouble, this is the right place.

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        • Champs May 10, 2018 at 8:56 am

          As a new-to-us bike we’re still working on the system for packing tools and spares. Besides that there are very few Portland cyclists on Lombard after dark. As far up that creek as we got it worked out OK.

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          • Kyle Banerjee May 10, 2018 at 10:43 am

            I keep forgetting there are two Freddy’s on Interstate. I thought you meant the one by I-5. Although cyclists frequently go there, they enter via Buffalo or Interstate. I hardly ever see cyclists on Lombard anywhere within a couple miles of the other Freddy’s even at peak times.

            On the tools/spares thing, it depends on what kind of bike you have. I personally carry 2 tubes, tire levers, small multitool, tire boot, spare link, and tire patch kit that easily fits in a small wedge bag under my seat. A small pump attaches to the frame. In addition, I keep at least a half dozen zip ties in my handlebars and my bar tape is secured with a extra rounds of electrical tape. This setup is small, light, cheap, and versatile. If I need to lock my bike outside, I stuff a CO2 inflator in the seat wedge with the other stuff and skip the pump so there’s less stuff to add to or take off the bike.

            For specific tools, I’m a fan of Park Tools MT-1. It’s small, flat, and can fix a wide variety of problems. The Ritchey CPR-9 is lighter and does more, but doesn’t store as well, especially in tight bags next to tubes. For pumps, the Lezyne Road Drive is small, light, and can deliver serious pressure. Hard core commuters favor the Topeak Road Morph, but it’s huge, weighs a ton, and you can count on the seals failing every year or so (which are replaceable) if you regularly ride in slop.

            If your tires are bigger, your tubes will be bulky. But the other stuff takes very little weight or space.

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        • Middle of the Road Guy May 10, 2018 at 12:30 pm

          I used to carry tubes and a pump in my car just for that reason. I’ve given a few lifts to folks who were running late for appointments. Man, people say don’t hitch-hike because you never know about the drivers, but they’ll sure as heck hop in the car when you offer them a ride!

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        • soren May 11, 2018 at 1:47 pm

          east portland has only one bike shop (outer rim) on the outer western edge of an area that encompasses about a quarter of portland.

          http://www.eastportland.org/neighborhoods

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      • Buzz May 9, 2018 at 10:16 pm

        The same way they look the other way when people steal bikes from their public bike parking area???

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        • Middle of the Road Guy May 10, 2018 at 12:30 pm

          People here talk a big game, but most are too timid to do anything physically to prevent someone else from doing something clearly illegal.

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          • Kyle Banerjee May 10, 2018 at 1:25 pm

            You don’t need to physically intervene to stop something from happening. All you have to do is do like you would with a bear — i.e. yell and act as aggressively as you can. Even if you have no ability to back up your threat, you’d be amazed how effective it can be. Just make sure you have enough space to get away if the bluff doesn’t work.

            One thing that never ceases to amaze/anger me is how !@#$% useless most people in an emergency situation. Seems like the more people there are around, the more likely they pretend nothing is happening or just gawk. I’ve actually yelled at people to go the eff away if they’re not going to help.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy May 9, 2018 at 1:57 pm

      I am sure it was some down on their luck fallen angel that just needed a little help.

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  • Rain Waters May 9, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    Wow, what cool thing !

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  • Champs May 9, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    New bike, didn’t really have the supplies we needed or a smart system to swap between bikes. Different wheel sizes, standards, etc. as much as I try to minimize.

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  • Al May 9, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    On the one hand, it’s nice to see such facilities developing in the US. On the other, I’m jealous that apartments like this were not available when I was in my twenties.

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    • 9watts May 9, 2018 at 9:52 pm

      Could you have afforded this in your twenties? I know I couldn’t. I mean, I still can’t and I’m almost fifty.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy May 10, 2018 at 12:31 pm

        I think there are a lot of people living off of parental largesse.

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        • BB May 10, 2018 at 2:59 pm

          The fact that you imagine that we live in a world where there are so many “youths” being supported by their parents that it affects real estate is even more interesting to me than the fact that $1500 1-bedrooms are becoming more the norm than the exception.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty May 10, 2018 at 6:59 pm

            I find it pretty amazing that so many are willing (and able) to pay so much for so little.

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  • Buzz May 9, 2018 at 10:18 pm

    There’s really nothing that special about it, just a reason to charge more rent; and, security will end up being a problem, as some posters have pointed out.

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    • Buzz May 9, 2018 at 10:36 pm

      Honestly, I’ve had enough friends who’s bikes have either been stolen from or messed with in apartment ‘common areas’ that, if I were doing apartment living, I’d want my bike storage to be in my own living space.

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  • Modera Belmont Manager May 10, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    WOW, what a terrific article highlighting our lovely Bike Lounge, thank you Jonathan! A huge shout out to River City Bicycles who have helped us along our journey with bike knowledge and filling our vending machine up with lots of bike related goodies!

    Our studio pricing starts at $1,299, one bedrooms at $1,440 and two bedrooms at $1,999!! We are currently offering 6 weeks free rent and free bike lounge parking to anyone who does not have a vehicle they need parked in the garage. Additionally, we are offering $500 towards a bike of their choice to anyone who moves in without a car or is willing to sell their car to adapt to the Portland Bicycle lifestyle and an effort to reduce traffic and pollution.

    Our building is secured at all entry points with a fob key system to get in to the building and to get in to the amenity spaces. While the bikes are definitely in a secure location, we encourage bike locks for added security. We absolutely allow anyone to store their bike in their apartment home if that is their preference as well.

    If you or a friend is looking for a new home, please reach out to one of us at Modera Belmont! 503.272.8080 or check out our website, http://www.moderabelmont.com!

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  • John Liu May 11, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    That is an impressive bike facility. Thoughtfully designed. It shows that the building values bike riders and is going the extra mile and doing their part to make bike riding convenient and pleasant.

    I’m not clear how the upper racks work. A chain would take care of any locking geometry issues. Looks like there is enough open space for cargo bikes.

    Video cameras would be a really nice addition.

    Sure, you might bring your expensive bike up to your apartment, but a bike that you’re willing to leave locked up around the city should be okay to leave locked up in that facility.

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