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Islabikes and Go Box are the latest Portland businesses to add electric cargo bikes to their fleet

Posted by on August 10th, 2018 at 1:19 pm

Islabikes (L) and Go Box are ready to roll thanks to new cargo bikes.
(Photos courtesy of the companies)

When you do business in a city, electric cargo bikes are often a much better solution for deliveries and service calls than cars or trucks. There are many companies in Portland that understand this fact, and two of them recently added new bikes to their fleet.

Islabikes launches the Traveling Technician

UK-based Islabikes has added a cool new service to their growing North American headquarters in southeast Portland.

All loaded up for deliver of a new bike!

You can now schedule an appointment and a professional mechanic will arrive at your door. Their new Traveling Technician service is based on an Urban Arrow electric cargo bike. A large and secure cargo box is stocked with every tool needed to fix Islabikes. They also offer free safety checks and repair quotes. Flat repairs are $9.99 (including the tube), new brake pads can be installed for $14.99, and full tune-ups range from $40 to $100 depending on bike model.

In addition to repairs, this new service can also deliver new bikes directly to customers. The technician will show up to your home or office or anywhere there’s a safe space to work.

The Traveling Technician is available to customers in the central city, north to St. Johns and east to I-205 between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm Monday through Friday (and to 8:00 pm on Thursdays). See the delivery range, price list, and full details on their website.


Go Box has a new partner and a new bike

When the new owner of Go Box, a subscription-based, reusable container service, has such bike-oriented roots, it’s no surprise to hear they’ve added a pedal-powered vehicle to their fleet.

The service is now available at the New Seasons Market in northwest.

Former Portland Design Works marketing director and local off-road bicycling advocate Jocelyn Gaudi Quarrell took over the reins of of Go Box two months ago and has already announced a partnership: You can now use the service at New Seasons Market’s Slabtown location (the partnership is currently on a pilot basis, with hopes of expanding to all stores soon).

To help manage this growing business (we profiled the company in 2016 when they hit a 100,000 container milestone), Go Box is now using a Cero One electric-assist bike. The new bike will help employees redistribute containers between drop box sites and the 75 different food vendors who use the service. In keeping with the values established by former owner Laura Weiss, Go Box does all of their delivery and pick-up logistics by bike.

“We’re pretty excited about it,” Jocelyn shared with us last week. “As it will definitely help make pulling our trailer around town much more efficient.”

Cargo bikes have vast potential to improve the safety, humanity, and efficiency of Portland’s streets. We hope to see many more local businesses follow the lead of these companies

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

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty August 10, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    While I’m not always thrilled to share the bike lane with larger electrified bicycle-like vehicles, I totally love the concept of electric bike delivery vehicles.

    I would really like to learn more about the economics of running a delivery service using vehicles like these vs. more conventional cars/trucks. Is this a good choice from a pure economics standpoint? In most other ways, this seems like a winner.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Ed August 10, 2018 at 4:30 pm

      The numbers are overwhelmingly favorable for many types of businesses. For instance a plumber with an Urban Arrow in Paris gets to his emergency residential calls (stopped toilet, sink etc) in much shorter time than a motor van and can get many more calls a day in. Every other plumber there takes hours to arrive! He has well more business now than he can handle. A woman in Amsterdam with a fleet of 25 delivers dinners all over the city with an efficiency speed and volume impossible with motor vehicles. A blurb on that:

      There are limits and of course, and the more congested/dense the city the greater the advantage so this is an evolving dynamic dependent on locale, but safe to say 50 or 60 percent of delivery in cities could easily be done with cargo e-bikes.

      ps one nice thing about 2 wheel cargo is the width is no greater than a regular set of handlebars, meaning they play nice with other lane users. BTW full disclosure: I work with Urban Arrow 😉

      Recommended Thumb up 5

    • Todd Boulanger August 10, 2018 at 5:06 pm

      Hello, Kitty…great point about sharing the roadway with “bicycle freight vehicles” (BFVs) or “bicycle goods vehicles” (BGVs).

      What the City (and other major cities) need to start doing is getting series – about this shift in “bike-print” of larger bikes by setting the minimum sizing of bikeways and intersections to accomodate such users, especially along bike freight routes or congested bikeways.

      Recommended Thumb up 7

      • Todd Boulanger August 10, 2018 at 5:08 pm

        Damn that Google text feature…”getting series” should be “getting serious”.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

        • Calvin White, Bike Superhero up North trophy winner for Filmed by Bike August 11, 2018 at 6:44 am

          Hello Todd. The present heat wave is taking a toll on my health after surviving emergency gall bladder surgery last June, the Month before my 72nd Birthday. Did you wish Ed Fisher of Camas Bike Bike& Sport a happy 50th Birthday? He is doing a Fundraiser for the victims of
          California’s Epic Firestorm in LA Count. Colorado Search & Rescue Patrol is now deploying Fat Tire Bikes for their EMTs

          Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty August 10, 2018 at 5:10 pm

        No kidding; even relatively new paths, such as the segment along the rail tracks between SE 11th and 8th can already barely accommodate peak-hour bike traffic when there is contra-flow; and that’s without any Big Fucking Vehicles… oops, sorry, Bicycle Freight Vehicles (wrong BFV) in the mix.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

        • Buzz August 10, 2018 at 8:38 pm

          Bike infra in PDX is consistently under-designed, in most on-street cases probably owing to the narrow ROWs and reluctance of the city to replace existing lane space or parking with bike infra; but for new bridges, separated paths, etc. it is simply a matter of lack of adequate funding.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty August 10, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    About the photo of the Traveling Technician: people like to talk about the obstructed view of car drivers vs. the unobstructed view of cyclists. In this case, it’s a bit… different.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • steve August 10, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    Hello kitty, I would rather have crowded bike lanes than empty ones. Plenty more concerns with non-electric cyclists than with ebikes, in my experience commuting.

    These companies riding electric bikes are not going to ride recklessly knowing full well their reputation is on the line in public. If anything else, I’m sure Islabikes is going to help educate the cycling public to the wonders of ebikes as they do with kids bikes. So no concern with me at least.

    Glad to see companies embracing the ebike revolution. I really do see them everywhere and its wonderful. ebikes FTW.

    Recommended Thumb up 7

    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty August 10, 2018 at 4:28 pm

      I did not intend to comment about behavior, skills, or, really, even the electric aspect of bicycle delivery vehicles (if I were hauling 50-100-200 lbs of bike and cargo up even a slight hill, I’d sure appreciate the assist).

      That said, it can sometimes be frustrating to navigate past relatively slow but large vehicles in a constrained and occasionally complex environment such as the Hawthorne Bridge with its bi-directional pedestrian traffic and high bike count (and occasional wind conditions can affect large sail-like cargo boxes).

      So it doesn’t get lost, I’ll repeat the second half of my statement: I totally love the concept of electric bike delivery vehicles.

      If they become more common, they might provide some argument for setting aside more room for human-scaled vehicles.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • bikeninja August 10, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    These are the future . How many of these practical, useful and efficient machines could we build for the resources sunk in a single Tesla Model S?

    Recommended Thumb up 5

    • Toby Keith August 12, 2018 at 2:33 pm

      E-bikes or Teslas, somebody somewhere is being exploited for the raw materials to make batteries. There is no free ride.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

      • Ed August 12, 2018 at 3:17 pm

        Wow, talk about false equivalence! I assume you walk everywhere you go, carry everything on your back and live in a stucture with no utilities? How did you send your post.. any batteries involved? After all, non E bikes consume raw materials to make too, and you ARE playing purer than thou here, right? No free ride? No point into going into carbon footprint here or scale with you I guess.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

        • Toby Keith August 12, 2018 at 6:31 pm

          Ed, whoa…calm down buddy. Nobody is claiming to be holier than anybody else.

          Recommended Thumb up 4

          • Ed August 17, 2018 at 3:53 pm

            Sorry; you just seemed to be going out of your way to make a negative point that’s understood by all of us anyhow, and applies to everything. (manufacturing anything takes up resources, and resources are often taken in exploitative fashion) Or did I miss something in your post?

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty August 17, 2018 at 7:30 pm

              It seems undeniable that a bike with batteries consumes more resources than one without, which suggests it is better environmentally for people to pedal themselves if they can.

              But compared to all the other crap we do? It’s pretty marginal.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

        • bikeninja August 13, 2018 at 10:08 am

          Scale is important once we accept that the resources of the planet are finite. We have been brought up to believe we can live in a consumption nirvana without limits, but we are learning that everything has limits. So if we assume that there is only so much material available on the earth for making batteries then a logical civilization would figure out how best to use them. So it is not about purity, it is about what is the best way to make use of what we have. This is a resonable question: do we make 12 pedal/electric cargo bikes or one Tesla?

          Recommended Thumb up 1

          • soren August 13, 2018 at 10:01 pm

            “So if we assume that there is only so much material available on the earth for making batteries”

            lithium and cobalt are a bit less common than nitrogen. i don’t think we are in danger of running out in the next billion years or so.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty August 13, 2018 at 10:30 pm

              Oh crap… we’re running out of nitrogen too?!?

              Recommended Thumb up 0

  • soren August 12, 2018 at 11:09 am

    Some of the same folk who complain about people transporting groceries and/or kids on their e-bikes are praising e-bikes transporting plastic thingamajings.

    The irony here is even more delicious that the food served on go box trays…

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Dan A August 13, 2018 at 11:29 am

    You can get a new inner tube, delivered and installed for $10? I don’t see how that’s economically feasible.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • EricIvy August 13, 2018 at 11:50 am

    I saw the Travelling Technician last week on Williams. She was HAULING up Williams with a smile on her face and I threw out the devil horns and she waved back. It brought a smile to my face as well 🙂 I think it was Molly?! That is all, just a fun encounter.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Sarah Cummings September 18, 2018 at 8:53 am

    so many cool new bike related business ideas!

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