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Car2go and ReachNow announce bike racks on Portland fleet vehicles

Posted by on June 21st, 2018 at 9:32 am

(Photo: car2go)

The two largest car-sharing companies in Portland have announced that some of the vehicles in their fleet will now be equipped with bike racks.

It’s not clear why both car2go and ReachNow announced the bike racks just minutes apart from each other today; but it’s a positive development for the many low-car Portlanders who use the services.

Car2go launched in Portland in 2012 and currently has 475 cars in their local fleet. They first installed bike racks on their vehicles in 2014 then phased them out when they moved to larger vehicles last fall. At the time, company officials said bicycle users could put the seats down and stuff bikes in the back.

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Here’s a video from car2go about the new bike racks…

Of the 475 car2gos in Portland, 50 of them are now equipped with a bike rack. Unlike the previous iteration on tiny SMART cars that were rear-hitch racks, the new ones are roof-mounted. In an email this morning, a company spokesperson said member feedback led them to add the racks, “Portland has a very rich biking culture and it’s very important for our members here to be able to switch between transportation options and even combine them in one trip,” they said.

Each of the new racks can hold up to two bikes. Wheel sizes from 20 to 29-inches (kids bike to standard road/MTB bike) and tire widths up to 2.6-inches (big knobby MTB size) will fit. When using the car2go app, you can filter search results to see only vehicles with bike racks.

ReachNow (owned by BMW) launched in Portland in 2016. They have about 350 vehicles in our market. In their announcement this morning, ReachNow said by June 26th, 30 of their MINI Coopers will have roof-mounted bike racks (bikes can be stuffed in the rear of all other cars in their fleet). The racks will be the Yakima Frontloader model. “We wanted to make ReachNow the most bike-friendly mobility service in the city,” a company spokesperson shared with us this morning. “We’ve learned that many of our members are active cyclists and may want more ways to get around with their bike.”

For more on car-sharing services in Portland, check out this 2016 rundown from The Oregonian.

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

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37 Comments
  • Pete S. June 21, 2018 at 10:18 am

    This is great news.

    I miss the old C2G smart cars, but the racks on them were extremely janky. These look to be way better, though they could be kinda rough for some who have heavier bikes and/or are of shorter stature.

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  • Momo June 21, 2018 at 10:43 am

    They probably announced it at the same time because they are the same company now. They sent an email a while back to all members saying that the parent companies agreed to combine Car2go and ReachNow as a “joint venture.” They haven’t done any real integration yet, but eventually Car2go will become ReachNow or vice versa.

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  • 9watts June 21, 2018 at 10:57 am

    The semiotics of roof racks have always bothered me.
    They inevitably reify the culturally familiar but problematic notion that the car is the default mode; that in a pinch the car carries your bike rather than the other way around.
    http://www.foldabiketravel.com/Photos/africa/donkey.jpg

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    • Dan A June 21, 2018 at 11:11 am

      Sounds like you’ve found a gap in the market.

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      • 9watts June 21, 2018 at 11:21 am

        I’m not talking about markets or gaps but about obstacles to recognizing (which surely must precede any hope of escaping) the death grip of automobility.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty June 22, 2018 at 10:05 am

          Bring on the donkeys!

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    • SilkySlim June 21, 2018 at 11:13 am

      Well back in reality… Cars are useful for carrying bikes, and not the other way around.

      But at least I now know what “reify” means.

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      • 9watts June 21, 2018 at 11:16 am

        in this highly unusual (though familiar to us) moment where fossil fuels are heavily subsidized and we willfully ignore climate change as a matter of policy, cars are useful for carrying bikes and not the other way around
        In the long run though I suspect the tables will be turned.

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        • John Liu June 21, 2018 at 11:28 am

          Because it is so easy to carry a 4,000 lb car on your bike 🙂

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          • 9watts June 21, 2018 at 12:00 pm

            Haha.

            Is this concept really so hard to grasp?

            The fact that strapping a bike on a car strikes us as perfectly natural suggests how it is also problematic.
            Bikes have had a broad appeal the world over ever since they were invented because they are cheap, reliable, take you anywhere, don’t require fuel, expand the rider’s range without infringing on anyone else. Although the car has also enjoyed a broad appeal the world over, this appeal is fundamentally different, is based on a multi-generational strategy that obscures the violence, inequality, oppression, wars, multinational corporations, power dynamics, climate disruption, negative returns to scale, etc., which cannot be separated from automobility.
            To strap a bike (cheap, reliable) onto a car (expensive, tightly coupled, fragile, destructive) is not an uncomplicated or unproblematic act.

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            • rainbike June 21, 2018 at 12:46 pm

              If it’s complicated and problematic, maybe you just need a new bike rack.

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        • bikeninja June 21, 2018 at 11:55 am

          I suspect that in the long run we will be riding bikes and the cars that are left will be used as chicken coops or goat shelters.

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          • soren impey June 21, 2018 at 9:55 pm

            such an optimist…

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  • SafeStreetsPlease June 21, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    For those of us who got rid of our cars and rely on Car2Go/Reach Now when we absolutely need to drive, this is kind of a game changer.

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    • 9watts June 21, 2018 at 12:23 pm

      I’m curious to learn, have you describe for us a typical scenario when this would come in handy?

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      • Pat Lowell June 21, 2018 at 12:36 pm

        When your transportation bike has a mechanical and you need to get it to the shop.

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      • Momo June 21, 2018 at 1:14 pm

        I used to use the bike racks on Cars2go all the time when they used to have them:
        –When it suddenly starts pouring rain and you don’t have any gear
        –When you ride your bike to the grocery store and find yourself buying way too much food to carry back on your bike
        –When you have your bike with you, but your friend you meet up with doesn’t, and you’re both going somewhere at the same time
        –When you realize you’re going way further than you are willing to ride on a bike, but you’ve already ridden part of the way
        –When you want to ride on a trail or something, but there’s no good bike route to get there

        Etc etc etc. It helps with first- and last-mile connections, carrying stuff, lots of good use cases.

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        • Anthony June 21, 2018 at 2:05 pm

          To add to this, I often used one when I was running late for something that was somewhat far from me, but wanted to be able to ride home.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty June 22, 2018 at 10:08 am

            I had a big load to carry, but was dropping it off at my destination.

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        • 9watts June 21, 2018 at 4:35 pm

          I remember asking here about how locals who own bikes utilize bikeshare, and got similar answers. It is really quite remarkable how differently we get around, plan our days, our journeys, set ourselves up for situations where this kind of arrangement then becomes a solution.

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      • Kate June 21, 2018 at 3:35 pm

        Well just yesterday I biked to work, then biked to a restaurant to meet some friends and catch up. Well one drink turned to a few as other friends showed up and we had a grand old time catching up. Suddenly it’s 11:45 and I’m a little buzzed and I have to say, I was awfully glad to strap on my bike to the roof of a car so my more sober friend could give me a ride home and I didn’t need to leave my bike on the street overnight.

        I have done this exact scenario many times. Often I’d be at my roommates bar and he’d drive us home as he got off work in a car 2 go with my bike strapped on their old rear racks. So that’s at least one use- probably not terribly uncommon.

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        • turnips June 21, 2018 at 3:38 pm

          more sober?

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty June 22, 2018 at 10:11 am

            Just a titch.

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          • Kate June 22, 2018 at 11:45 am

            He joined late and had a single beer vs my few glasses of wine over the course of the night situation. These scenarios are not unheard of. The point is that it’s nice to be able to choose to not bike home or leave your bike if someone else can haul you and your bike home.

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      • SafeStreetsPlease June 21, 2018 at 3:56 pm

        Like I said, I don’t own a car. So when my partner and I want to do a rails to trails or scenic bikeway that’s a few hours away, it’s now a lot easier to rent a Reach Now for the day as opposed to a traditional rental. Reach Now comes with 400 free daily miles, which is significant. To rent a car big enough from a traditional rental outfit means spending at least $50 on a bigger suv, van or truck, and in the summer those rates are often easily doubled. At $80 for a Reach Now, we can throw both bikes on top AND not worry about paying gas.

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    • soren impey June 21, 2018 at 10:06 pm

      “For those of us who got rid of our cars and rely on Car2Go”

      I was trying very, very hard not to post on this thread but this comment drew me in.

      Proponents of active transportation tend to agree that we should discourage car use by people who use their cars fairly often (e.g. most people). Why then should we encourage (and subsidize) car use by people who use cars somewhat less often (e.g. many “car free” people)? It’s not as if the tragic negative externalities of driving a 5.5 ton gas-guzzling SUV are substantially negated simply because the driver of the vehicle has “car free” status.

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      • 9watts June 22, 2018 at 8:12 am

        Hear, hear.

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      • Kyle Banerjee June 22, 2018 at 9:31 am

        Because there is a net gain and it nudges things in the right direction. Fewer total cars require fewer resources to produce and use them. Plus, people are going to prefer car share vehicles that fit the need at hand rather than buying a vehicle that accommodates the greatest need they perceive.

        The average car is used only 5% of the time meaning it’s parked 95% of the time consuming space that could be used for anything else — even things that help active transportation.

        If you want to treat it the same as everyone buying their own SUVs, don’t be surprised when nothing changes.

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        • soren June 22, 2018 at 4:19 pm

          If the “car free” person did not previously use a car then there is increased use of fossil fuels. Moreover, car share is convenient so it’s my guess that some “car-free” have increased their driving. (Multiple studies of uber and lyft, which serve a similar function, show that these services have decreased reliance on mass transit and increased reliance on automobility.)

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  • 9watts June 21, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    A mechanical?

    Is that slang for something you can’t fix with tools you carry with you? Or you are too far to push the bike home? I can’t recall that happening to me in thirty five + years of riding (perhaps my eighties MTB is simpler) but I think I’d default to trimet in a situation like that.

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    • Pete S. June 21, 2018 at 1:15 pm

      Wow, that’s so great for you!

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  • Paul June 21, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    Now if we could just get uber/lyft to turn back on the option to order a car with a bike rack! That came in handy many a time.

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    • Kyle Banerjee June 21, 2018 at 4:54 pm

      A “regular” bike will typically fit in the trunk of a sedan easily enough if you pop off the front wheel

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  • Paul frazier June 21, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    now if we could just get uber/lyft to turn back on the option to order a car with a bike rack! That came in handy many a time.

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  • Racer X June 22, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    Yeah, I saw the email too…I guess serving customers with bikes is just an afterthought since they ditched the smart cars. (Car2Go was much more cutting edge and progressive back then I guess.) And the rear rack on the old smart cars was much more accessible for ALL users vs. the roof mounted racks.

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