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!
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.