Celebrating 10 years of the Go By Bike valet! (Video)

One of the greatest examples of what makes Portland such a special place for cycling is the story of Go By Bike.

“If you invest a little bit in biking, it really pays off.”
— Kiel Johnson, Go By Bike

In August 2011, a young graduate of Lewis & Clark College named Kiel Johnson started a bike shop at the base of the Portland Aerial Tram. With the help of a willing partner in Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU), they realized parking bikes was just as important at that location as working on them.

Their collaboration turned into a bike valet service that went on to become a national model and help establish the South Waterfront as one of the most low-car neighborhoods in America.

Since Kiel and his crew checked-in their first customer, they’ve parked over 510,000 bikes!

(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

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On Friday I rolled down to help celebrate this milestone.

OHSU Director of Transportation and Parking Brett Dodson, who’s supported Go By Bike from the beginning, told me the valet is, “A major component of how people get in and out of the South Waterfront.” For him it’s all about geometry. “For every one parking stall, we can put 10 to 12 bikes in it. And when we bike valet it, we can get 20 to 25, so it really utilizes the limited space we have down here at the bottom of the tram.”

For Kiel, reaching 10 years in business is an illustration of his unique brand of advocacy-oriented entrepreneurialism and dedication to a bike-friendly Portland. “It’s a really inspiring example of, if you invest a little bit in biking, it really pays off. And people want to ride their bikes, We just have to make it a little bit easier for them.”

Check out the video for more from these interviews.

And congratulations Kiel! For your amazing work on the valet and so many other bike advocacy issues over the years.

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Bill Stites
Bill Stites
2 months ago

10 years? Wow. Thank you and congratulations, Kiel!

Todd/Boulanger
Todd/Boulanger
2 months ago

YES!, congrats to Kiel Johnson and the Go By Bike Team!…bike parking is such a tough business (even with great partners and location)…and >10 years is a great professional milestone.

Ashley Rogers
Ashley Rogers
2 months ago

Yay Kiel!

Brandon
Brandon
2 months ago

The Go By Bike valet is one of the nicest things about working at OHSU. I use it every day. I used to work in the pearl and ended up stopping biking to work a few years ago because parts were stolen off my bike all the time, even in the middle of the day. Imagine if the city had valet stations like this in different parts of the city. Especially downtown, if they want to bring businesses and workers back.

Todd/Boulanger
Todd/Boulanger
2 months ago
Reply to  Brandon

Yep, that was one dream I was trying to get Mayor Sam Adams to sign off on when I was on the Bikestation board in the 00s. (Bikestation 1996 to 2018, RIP). Only PSU has really run with that type of really “smart parking” in Portland’s CBD. ;-o

Julie H
Julie H
2 months ago
Reply to  Brandon

B.E.S.T., a Vancouver, BC nonprofit, runs seasonal bike valets for events (Whitecaps games) and busy locations (Granville Island market) throughout the city. It would be amazing if Portland had such a thing (hello Street Trust?). I would love bike valet service at the PSU farmers market or a Blazers game.
https://thebicyclevalet.ca/

Daniel Rohlf
Daniel Rohlf
2 months ago

I feel a bit old since I remember when Kiel was a student at Lewis and Clark, but I tip my hat to all of his wonderful bike-related work over the years — from LC to Go By Bike. I took advantage of the valet service a few weeks ago when I had an appointment at OHSU. It was so easy, and made parking my bike a snap.

Thanks, Kiel. You’re one of many LC alums doing great work in the community, you’ve save helped save a lot of carbon emissions, and you make cycling easier and more fun.

Fred
Fred
2 months ago

I work at a place that has the attitude of “You’re on your own if you choose to bike here,” so guess what? – almost NO ONE bikes to work. I understand that OHSU even provides employees a small monthly (or weekly?) payment if you bike to work, which is even more incentive. No wonder so many of their employees commute by bike.

Valet bike parking really needs to become standard for all retail establishments, schools, libraries, etc before cycling will be an option for most people. Portland should pass an ordinance requiring all businesses, schools, etc to provide valet bike parking or pay into a fund that creates pooled valet parking in central locations. Then we’d be a REAL bike-friendly city. And we need to do it now: this morning I watched as every car in my neighborhood fired up and people drove off to school and work. EVERYONE drives a car, everywhere. We are killing the planet.

Chris I
Chris I
2 months ago

When is the Portland Aerial Tram going to re-open to the public? They restricted it when Covid hit over two years ago. Now that everything is back open, the tram remains restricted:

Limited fares:
The state of Oregon will lift school and indoor masks mandates Saturday, March 12, 2022, but statewide restrictions are still in place within health care settings and on public transportation. Because the Portland Aerial Tram provides direct access to health care settings, it is not open to the general public.

There are no general public ticket sales at this time, and ridership is restricted to the following fares:

OHSU identification badges
VA Portland Health Care System employee badges
Shriner’s Hospitals for Children – Portland employee badges
Patients with same-day medical appointments – physical proof of appointment required for boarding*

Portland taxpayers gave $9 million dollars for this infrastructure, and OHSU is treating it like their private property. Will we ever get it back?

https://www.ohsu.edu/visit/tram-operations-notice