Portland parks bureau to test electric cargo trike in maintenance fleet

An Urban Arrow Tender 1500 like this one is coming to Portland. It should be handy for Parks staff to reach maintenance jobs on local paths.
(Photos: Saris Infrastructure)

“We are intrigued to learn how effective the bike may be in helping meet some of our maintenance needs.”— Mark Ross, City of Portland

Portland’s latest flirtation with electric cargo bikes will involve a city bureau and an Amsterdam-based company whose North American distributor is in Madison, Wisconsin.

Later this month the City of Portland will begin a pilot program in partnership with Saris Infrastructure, a Madison-based company that is the North American distributor of Urban Arrow electric cargo bikes (not to confused with Gazelle North America, who distributes Urban Arrow’s line of family bikes). Portland will be the second city after the City of Madison to test the potential for e-cargo bikes in their maintenance fleets.

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(The bikes at work in Madison.)

Madison began their partnership with Saris over the summer. City employees there are tracking their use of the bikes and filling out surveys about their experience. In a statement on the city’s website, Madison Pedestrian and Bicycle Administrator Renee Callaway said, “These bikes are smaller, more nimble and can be parked and operated in more places than a typical City vehicle.”

For scale, here’s the bike on a path in Madison.

And City of Madison employee said the coronavirus pandemic has made cargo bikes an even more attractive alternative because of health guidelines that prohibit use of shared vehicles.

According to a Saris Sales Manager Patricia Kapinos, they will loan a bike (free of charge) to the Portland Parks & Recreation Bureau (PP&R). The specific model is an Urban Arrow Tender 1500, a $15,000 bike with a 250W motor, 500Wh battery, and the capacity to haul 880 pounds (rider and load). The bike can be configured as a flatbed or with a cargo box (enclosed or open). The expected length of the pilot will be up to four months.

PP&R Spokesman Mark Ross said the offer to use the bike initially came to the transportation bureau, and they handed it off to parks. According to Ross, the bike will be used by park maintenance staff to help remove trash and debris from the Springwater Corridor, and to carry plants and supplies for stewardship efforts along the path. It might be used at other properties but that has yet to be determined (seems like a great fit for Gateway Green, which has no auto parking lot and is only accessible via the I-205 path). “We are intrigued to learn how effective the bike may be in helping meet some of our maintenance needs,” Ross added. “We are always striving to maximize our efficiency and continue to reduce our carbon footprint.”

Portland is no stranger to electric cargo bikes. We have several local companies that use them for a wide variety of delivery tasks. Last year UPS launched an e-bike delivery pilot with Portland State University.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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draw2build architecture
draw2build architecture
1 year ago

Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for Saris and for Urban Arrow, but I was disappointed to open this article and see that the electric cargo truck is provided by them and not by local designer and builder Bill Stites of Stites Design. That’s a lot of money for a small company like Stites to tie up in an essentially free use marketing effort for four months.

rick
rick
1 year ago

Why would Portlnd Parks not buy or lease a giant cargo bike from a local builder is exactly the question that needs to be asked.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
1 year ago
Reply to  rick

From the article:
“According to a Saris Sales Manager Patricia Kapinos, they will loan a bike (free of charge) to the Portland Parks & Recreation Bureau (PP&R).”

The cargo bike is free. No one is paying anything (at least for now.)

Is Stites Design offering the same? Or any other Portland manufacturer?

Rain Waters
Rain Waters
1 year ago

Whatever happened to “NO MOTORIZED VEHICLES” ?

EEE
EEE
1 year ago
Reply to  Rain Waters

Sure would beat the stinky gas-powered quads they use for maintenance on the Esplanade.

In any event, probably not a ‘motor vehicle’ per ORS 814.405.

Ed
Ed
1 year ago
Reply to  Rain Waters

What’s happened is the US is catching up to more advanced/developed cycling nations making use of e-csrgo bikes for goods transport, causing little problem with cyclists in those nations. In fact the trend is mostly enthusiastically embraced by them! Rain Waters, that ship has sailed! Of course some will fight change towards more sustainable ways and cling to the status quo. Do you support instead moving goods with cars and trucks? Or moving 400lb loads on a purely pedal-powered bike?

X
X
1 year ago
Reply to  Rain Waters

The current practice is to use a pickup truck with an internal combustion engine for maintenance chores so this is an upgrade.

was carless
was carless
1 year ago
Reply to  Rain Waters

If you want to personally haul several hundred pounds of garbage on your bicycle, go ahead and volunteer.

FDUP
FDUP
1 year ago

for $15K? That’s an absurd price.

Matt
Matt
1 year ago
Reply to  FDUP

RIP OFF!

Paul
Paul
1 year ago
Reply to  FDUP

Especially for a 250 W motor. With an 880 pound load, going up any steep hills will be very difficult. My eBike has 250 W and for a rider+bike load of 200 pounds, there are some hills I can just barely make it up peddling as hard as I can.

Ed
Ed
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul

Not to nerd out on you Paul but it’s all about torque and gearing, not wattage. Bosch has a new cargo specific motor that generates 85nm of torque, which is more than double their “Active” motor common to many e-bikes. (40nm torque) Yet both are 250W. And the power band for the 85 nm is all at low, almost walking speed. (as in climbing a grade under load) Then the Rohloff 14 speed internal gear hub used on this bike has astonishingly low gearing… and sells for $1500 by itself! Emerging products coming to market for this category are pretty mind blowing so keep an open mind. All very new to us here in the US but well established in much of Northern Europe now.

For FDUP or Matt above complaining about cost; imagine if only 5,000 Prius were made a year… cost would be probably 200K or something! It’s called economy of scale; if the world embraces cargo e-bikes as they have cars and trucks you can be certain prices would drop considerably. But regardless, businesses in Europe don’t agree at all with those assessments above. They look at costs maintaining company van(s) with purchase, insurance, service, fuel, depreciation, parking and parking tickets (extremely common for delivery vans 😉 etc. and realize MASSIVE savings spending 10 or 15K on a B2B commercial quality b-bike or trike – not even close. Sorry but you guys are massively underinformed…

FDUP
FDUP
1 year ago
Reply to  Ed

Still too expensive. Are those over-weight car wheels really necessary? They could make this vehicle much more efficient and affordable. Electric or gas, you are still fighting an uphill battle against entropy if you are over-designing.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul

What’s your torque? Do you have a mid-drive or a hub-drive?

This vehicle is mid-drive (in the bottom bracket area) with 75-85nm torque according to Bosch (40nm in Eco mode).

The actual retail price is closer to $10,000.

Specs (pdf) https://www.urbanarrow.com/sites/default/files/2020-04/Tender%201500%20Specs%20EN%202020.pdf

Bosch motor info: https://www.bosch-ebike.com/us/products/cargo-line/

Bikeguy
Bikeguy
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul

Paul, does your motor have direct drive or is it connected through gearing? If the motor is connected through gearing and rider can provide 200W of sustained power (its possible for amateur cyclists or bike delivery guys) then a total of ~400W mechanical power should be enough to drive 880 pounds up bigger hills. Remember, that cargo bike is a trike, so you won`t stall if you climb at 1m/s.

X
X
1 year ago
Reply to  Bikeguy

Several local B-line riders would appear to be women, and yes they can almost certainly crank 200 watts.

I read some stuff about human torque applied through bicycle cranks and the numbers were all over the place. The bigger numbers were associated with professional racers who specialize in sprints and they probably do not want to clean parks! The mid-drive isn’t going to get tired or blow out a knee. It can keep operating at the designed power and torque until the battery runs down, and you can carry a spare battery.

If I were buying a cargo bike for industrial use in a hilly area I might be more concerned about the brakes than the power and torque. E bikes are following the tendency of car makers to over-power everything.

was carless
was carless
1 year ago
Reply to  FDUP
Suburban
Suburban
1 year ago

In 97222 ebikeportland.org comments section has a whole breakdown of lithium batteries and other not-human-powered cool stuff. In Oak Grove we celebrate all the alter-able conveyances and hope such machines will come to Clackamas County soon to assist riders in this category.

FDUP
FDUP
1 year ago

I would guess this machine would be very hard to pedal even w/o a load if the E-motor wasn’t functioning. IMO, that’s a fatal flaw.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
1 year ago
Reply to  FDUP

Unpowered cars don’t go very fast either.

FDUP
FDUP
1 year ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

depends if you are talking up or down hill.
😉

joel domries
joel domries
1 year ago

the car tires are pretty funny, just like the diamond plate front bed- which adds a ton of weight. I have a diamond plate bed on my cat bike and it adds only 60 pounds- that bed must add a hundred. buyers remorse.

The photo jon has up shows one battery- so perhaps 20 miles on a full charge with that bike. maybe less. car tires – i would love to hear the reason for them.

i feel like splendid cycle would be a great resource, or anyone with cargo bike experience.

its great to see pp using bikes- i would live to hear how it goes.

Ed
Ed
1 year ago
Reply to  joel domries

Joel the diamond plate on this is aluminum and surprisingly light. Did you actually use steel on yours? Bike is dual battery capable and range is far greater than you assert. Bike is being used successfully all over Northern Europe for several years now. This is on a scale much more vast than great local retailer Splendid can do. Really amazing people are so sure how this bike performs when they’ve never even seen, much less ridden one. Try to keep an open mind…

hamiramani
1 year ago

Great to see this. Hopefully a comprehensive program can be implemented after the pilot.

Any updates on the UPS cargo bikes?

I'll Show Up
I'll Show Up
1 year ago

This looks really cool. I think the fact that it’s a pilot means that they aren’t spending any money to give it a try.

These types of bikes are very expensive! If you tried to buy one of the B-Line trikes, it would set you back about $8-10,000. This one has a nicer electric system and burlier features. The diamond plate is great for a maintenance crew because they can carry tools, heavy containers, whatever and it’s not going to be any worse for ware. The big tires make it way more stable and great for carrying super heavy loads. The motor is all about torque for moving loads normally carried by a pick up. For trail maintenance purposes, the tires will also allow the bike to go off trail a little to get closer to the task while under weight.

This bike is industrial strength. It’s cheap compared to the vehicles that are currently serving the same purpose. But, heavy and expensive compared to our personal bikes. It’s also beefy enough that it could be used in any industrial setting and last quite a long time.

FDUP
FDUP
1 year ago
Reply to  I'll Show Up

OK, fine; but stop calling it a bicycle, because it really isn’t.

I'll Show Up
I'll Show Up
1 year ago
Reply to  FDUP

Thanks for the correction! It’s actually a trike. 😉

Ed
Ed
1 year ago
Reply to  FDUP

FDUP As long as you’re acting as terminology police please know that collectively trikes are also called bikes. Kind of why we see trikes in bike shops and it’s called the bicycle business! Same with unicycles. Yes we all know technically ‘bi” in bicycles means two wheels…

From your thread it’s clear this bike offends your sensibilities but brace for the future as it might not go well for your feelings! Sorry, but delivery and work trucks are going away and this is what we’ll be seeing. Try to adapt – it’s actually a good thing!

Jason
Jason
1 year ago

A single 500wh battery is not going to last long. With something like that, a battery bank may be advisable. Even a double battery would be paltry.