Portland Bike-Share Ready to Roll Thanks to $10 Million From Nike

Portland's transportation chief Leah Treat shows off one of the new Biketown bikes, from sponsor Nike. Photo: Bike Portland
Portland transportation chief Leah Treat shows off one of the new Biketown bikes sponsored by Nike. Photo: Bike Portland

“Huge” is how Jonathan Maus at Bike Portland described the news yesterday that Nike will sponsor Portland’s upcoming bike-share system to the tune of $10 million.

Bike-share has taken much longer than expected to get off the ground in Portland. With Nike’s sponsorship, the city will be moving forward with a bigger network than it’s been planning.

The system will be named Biketown (pronounced “biketown,” not “bikeytown”), and it could be operational in six months or less. Here’s more from Maus:

Huge is actually an understatement.

In addition to the money and stability of the deal, PBOT and Nike also announced this morning that the partnership will allow the city to expand the initial number of bike share bicycles available to the public. The system will launch with 1,000 bikes and instead of the 600 that passed Council. This will make Portland’s system the largest smart (as in, dockless, with software and technology on each bike versus the more common kiosk-based systems) bike share system in North America.

Portland’s system will be different than most other large bike share systems in the U.S. Instead of large kiosks where bikes are checked in and out, BikeTown bikes will have all the software and rental technology on-board. These “smart bikes” are the work of Social Bicycles, a company that runs 15 other systems across North America and Australia. Portland’s system will be their largest and will be operated and managed by Motivate, the company that recently bought Alta Bicycle Share and that runs successful bike share systems in Washington D.C., New York City, and other places.

Elsewhere on the Streetsblog Network today: Transport Providence discusses a proposal to bury part of I-95 by the Philadelphia waterfront. The Missouri Bike and Pedestrian Federation offers a full list of Amtrak routes that now allow passengers to roll bikes on board. And Transportation for America previews its upcoming report on how bus rapid transit supports local economies.