Ridwell helps local nonprofit collect used bikes right from your porch

We love when clever ideas help get more people on bikes. The latest collab between a bike nonprofit and a porchside recycling company might be one of the best yet.

Here’s what up:

“The amount of bicycle accessories, gear and bikes they have kept out of the landfills and gotten out of garages – and to us, is truly amazing!”
— Joe Kurmaskie, WashCo Bikes

Have you seen those little white boxes on porches throughout Portland with “Ridwell” scrawled on the side. Those are recycling bins that are picked up by Seattle-based Ridwell, a company that has grown quickly in our area. Willamette Week reports they serve 22,000 households in Multnomah County since launching here in late 2020.

The basic premise of Ridwell is they pick up stuff that’s not allowed in city-issued bins — like batteries, plastic film, old clothes, and so on. They also team up with local organizations for special donation drives. In honor of National Bike Month, Ridwell has launched a partnership with WashCo Bikes to pick up something many of us bike nerds have far too many of: used bikes sitting around and gathering dust.

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At zero cost extra cost (above the $12-16 monthly membership fee), Ridwell customers can set out up the three used bikes this week and they’ll be picked up and delivered to WashCo Bikes for distribution around the region. WashCo Bikes will then refurbish the bikes and pass them along to organizations like Washington County School District, a group that helps resettle Afghan refugees, housing services group Pear, north Portland-based Self Enhancement Inc., and many others.

WashCo Bikes Executive Director Joe “Metal Cowboy” Kurmaskie has been riding high on the partnership, which began collecting bikes at a drop-off center at Marylhurst University in Lake Oswego on Monday. “The amount of bicycle accessories, gear and bikes they have kept out of the landfills and gotten out of garages – and to us, is truly amazing!”

When Ridwell worked with WashCo Bikes on a bike accessory donation effort last fall, they collected 6,800 pounds of pumps, pedals and locks.

Since Ridwell picks up every other week, if you missed your bike donation window this time around, Kurmaskie says there will be another chance to take part in October.

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Chris I
Chris I
1 month ago

Remember: if you miss your donation this week, you can always leave your bike unlocked on your porch, and it will go to a needy rider within a few days, tops.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris I

The local service here in Greensboro NC is really slow – it typically takes at least 2 weeks, even for the rare houses with sidewalks in front. And out in the burbs folks leave bikes out for months and no one touches them.

TheCat
TheCat
1 month ago

Please make sure to check your Ridwell dashboard to see if this is available in your area before putting out a bike. It’s not available at my house, in the Hawthorne district in Portland. I suspect it’s only available in Washington County.