Portland is introducing a new city-wide bike rental program sponsored by Nike called BIKETOWN.
The program includes 1,000 bikes located at 100 hubs across the city. Spokesman Dylan Rivera of the Portland Bureau of Transportation says the goal is to make bike rides 25 percent of all trips in Portland by 2035.
No taxpayer money is going towards BIKETOWN’s upkeep as the start-up’s $4 million budget is covered by federal grants from Metro and Nike’s scholarship dollars. Maintenance will be covered by the income from memberships and other scholarships.
The program is operated by Motivate. The company is already operating in cities like Chicago, New York, and Seattle, but Portland is the first city to incorporate their bike program where the technology is all contained in the bikes rather than in the docks of the stations.
Not only does this technology make the program more affordable and expansive, it means more flexibility for the user. In other cities, the bikes can be locked to their stations and BIKETOWN bike racks, but in Portland, they can be locked to any public bike rack for a small fee of $2. However, users that return a bike from a public bike rack to a BIKETOWN bike rack earn $1 in their account towards future rides. This is the company’s way of maintaining the supply of bikes at stations without using outside transportation.
The bikes themselves cost $1,500 apiece and are designed for safe commuting featuring a solar-powered LCD display, automatic lights, a chain-less shaft drive, and a front basket that holds up to 20 pounds.
Even current bike owners can find the program useful with the possibility of one-way trips. BIKETOWN offers single trips, day passes, and annual memberships. For more information, Portland’s BIKETOWN website is available.