Nike

“Biketown” will reportedly be the largest “smart” sharing system in North America.

Portland cyclists will soon be able to use bike-share not just to get across town but to show brand loyalty. The city announced yesterday it is partnering with Nike to put out 1,000 communal cycles by this summer, reportedly creating the largest “smart” sharing system in North America.

The $10 million, five-year sponsorship agreement with the Oregon sportswear giant greatly expands Portland’s ambitions; before, it had planned for only 600 cycles. (Additional financing is coming from a $2 million federal grant.) The system, to be run by national bike-share company Motivate, will use technology from SoBi that eschews locking docks for locks and electronics fixed to the bikes themselves.

Nike says it’ll handle the share’s “stations, the visual bike identity, and digital branding,” as well as “limited-edition bike wrap designs unique to Nike” that’ll be released every now and then. That means Portlanders will be seeing a lot more “Swooshes” and orange hues from the company’s shoe boxes. The bike’s basket is even modeled to look like a box for sneakers:

Felicity J. Mackay/Portland Bureau of Transportation

Though it might be hard to find a more rabid anticorporate city than Portland, officials and locals seem pretty pumped with the new “Biketown” share—and that’s pronounced BIKEtown not BIKEYtown, notes Jonathan Maus at Bike Portland. Here’s more from his visit to the press announcement (which yielded several other images of the cycles’ design):

[Portland Bureau of Transportation] Director Leah Treat nearly choked up (or at least it sounded that way from where I was) while telling the assembled media how much this deal means to her. She has reason to be happy. After years of being hammered by bike share advocates locally and nationally, Treat has delivered a massive deal. “This will be the largest smart bike share system in North America,” she proudly proclaimed, before hopping on one of the new bikes for the news media….

If you believe that marketing and design plays a huge role in culture change and human behavior (hint: it does), than having one of the world’s best designers working on bikes in our city is a very good thing. And consider the halo effect of this deal: Nike is one of the top brands in the world. They are considered “cool” by millions of people — many of them who are part of demographics bike advocates drool over. Nikes partnership with PBOT adds significant legitimacy not just bike share, but to cycling in general.

Nike

Felicity J. Mackay/Portland Bureau of Transportation

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo of the Eiffel Tower with the words "Made for Sharing" projected on it
    Life

    How France Tries to Keep English Out of Public Life

    France has a long history of using official institutions to protect the French language from outside influence. Still, English keeps working its way in.

  2. Warren Logan
    Transportation

    A City Planner Makes a Case for Rethinking Public Consultation

    Warren Logan, a Bay Area transportation planner, has new ideas about how to truly engage diverse communities in city planning. Hint: It starts with listening.

  3. a photo of a school bus in traffic
    Transportation

    Boston Saved $5 Million by Routing School Buses with an Algorithm

    With 25,000 students and the nation’s highest transportation costs, the Boston Public School District needed a better way to get kids to class.

  4. People standing in line with empty water jugs.
    Environment

    Cape Town’s ‘Day Zero’ Water Crisis, One Year Later

    In spring 2018, news of the water crisis in South Africa ricocheted around the world—then the story disappeared. So what happened?

  5. a photo of a pedestrian in Jakarta.
    Transportation

    The World's Most Traffic-Snarled City Tries a New Fix: Sidewalks

    Traffic, smog, and lack of sidewalks make the Indonesian megacity hard on pedestrians. But foot-friendly infrastructure is finally coming.

×