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Bikers on a budget get a break at the Community Cycling Center

Posted by on February 15th, 2019 at 12:13 pm

The Community Cycling Center’s shop on NE Alberta — now more inviting for more budgets.
(Photos: The CCC)

In Portland, the lower your income, the more likely you are to use a bicycle to get to work. That’s also true on the national level, as Harvard’s Anne Lusk so adeptly pointed out in an article posted by CityLab this week.

Most discussions around this topic center on the need for infrastructure equity and access to safe streets for all. But what about access to the gear and products that can make the act of pedaling a bike more feasible and comfortable?

Portland’s Community Cycling Center (celebrating their 25th anniversary this year!) is dedicated to making cycling accessible to everyone. I recently learned they have Low Income Commuter Discount program at their bike shop on Alberta Street and asked Executive Director Kasandra Griffin to share more about it.

Griffin said the program has been available for about 10 years. For most of that time the program offered just a 10 percent discount on a limited number of items. But in 2016, with the cost of living in the neighborhoods around their shop continue to grow, the program expanded. Now those who qualify can get 20 percent off everything in the store, including new and used bikes and even service.

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The discount is available to anyone who receives income-based government benefits like Oregon Trail/SNAP or Oregon Health Plan. And you don’t have to be from Oregon. Live in Washington and have a “Quest Card”? They’ll accept that too.

Another recent change in the program came last year. Instead of requiring people to request the discount at the register each time they made a purchase, the discount information is now on file in the shop’s computer. Once a sales staffer can confirm a customer’s identity, the price reduction happens automatically. This means even if you forget to mention your eligibility, you still get the benefit.

With these changes, Griffin says the program is taking off. Last year the CCC gave out about $35,000 in discounts. This year they’re on track for over $50,000.

If you’re wondering how the CCC pays for this generous subsidy, they don’t. That is, they have no dedicated funding source for the program. It relies on donations from shop customers. According to Griffin, some people who get the discount have even opted to give a little back to help support others who need it more.

This is just one way the CCC helps people who have less money than others. Their Sunday Salvage program lets people buy used frames and other parts for super-low prices.

If you want more information about this program or can make a donation to help keep it going, check out CommunityCyclingCenter.org/bike-shop.

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

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

4 Comments
  • Avatar
    Chainstays February 15, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    Love, love, love the Community Cycling Center and all the great work they do!

    Recommended Thumb up 18

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    Jeff S(egundo) February 15, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    What Chainstays said, & Thanks JM for the reminder to donate more, & more often, to them.

    Recommended Thumb up 9

  • Rivelo
    Rivelo February 17, 2019 at 5:27 am

    When we first opened, we ordered helmets. Bike shop = helmets, right? Well, apparently not. At least not for us. We sold, like, two in our first year.

    We figured all of our customers either already had helmets or they didn’t use them. It was good and handy and easy to donate them to the Community Cycling Center.

    Their TriMet bus/bike rack out back is great for trying out long wheelbase bikes before encountering the racks in the “real world.”

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • Kasandra Griffin
    Kasandra Griffin June 20, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    Thanks @Jonathan for the good article, and @Chainstays, @Jeff and @Rivelo for your support. I want to sheepishly confess that I recently discovered the dollar figures I shared for this story were wrong. While researching it for another purpose, I discovered that I had mistakenly shared the value of “all discounts,” not just the “Low Income Commuter Discounts.” The accurate figure for the value of Low Income Commuter Discounts given in 2018-19 is actually $12,300. Apologies for my error!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

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