Sponsored by Oregon Business

PDX bicycle boom races through the recession

| Print |  Email
Archives - November 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
IMG_7097
The Oregon Manifest Festival in October
PHOTO BY MARTIN GEE

If you think Portland has gone to the bicyclists, just wait until 2030. If things go according to the city’s updated Master Bicycle Plan, 20 years from now one of four commuters will travel by bike along a network of “Major City Bikeways” and “Local Bike Service Ways” from one “Bicycle District” to the next. Along with miles of new bike routes, the city is considering 200,000 bike maps, 150 cycling events per year and $500,000 in tax incentives for bicycle businesses.

It could prove a savvy move. A report by Portland economist Joe Cortright finds that Portlanders drive four miles less per day than the national average, which frees an extra $1.2 billion per year to spend on things other than cars. About $800 million of that circulates through the local economy.

The result is a rare thing in these times: a market that’s growing. Record numbers of Portlanders are commuting to work by bike on weekdays and tearing it up on the cyclocross course on the weekends. Some 80,000 bicyclists took part in just four events this past summer, the Providence Bridge Pedal and the three Sunday parkway rides organized by city government. Cycle Oregon and Mountain Bike Oregon both sold out.

Ashland’s United Bicycle Institute, the nation’s premier frame-building school, opened its Portland campus in September. The ongoing Oregon Manifest bike building show in the Pearl District expanded from a three-day event last year into a month-long extravaganza this year. Bike shops and frame builders continue to proliferate. Two of the city’s most popular constructors, Sweet Pea and Vanilla, are experimenting with more efficient production lines to shorten their multi-year waiting lists. Sweet Pea co-founder Natalie Ramsland says the recession has not prevented new out-of-state customers from making the “pilgrimage” to Portland to get fitted for a custom bike and soak in the cycling scene.

The scene also continues to spawn businesses such as bicycle parking specialist BikeRacker and distribution service Portland Pedal Power. The city is teeming with bike lawyers, bike realtors, bicycle baristas and bike taxis. There’s even a design race to create the perfect party bike; a recent design from Portland bike builder Metrofiets carries two kegs under the seat and a stack of pizzas on the rear rack.

Another race is heating up among businesses trying to convince the city to build on-street bike rack clusters in front of their businesses. The waiting list is 70 deep and counting, as restaurants and cafés angle to fuel up a new category of consumers with more disposable income than you might think. 

BEN JACKLET
 

More Articles

How Oregon will survive the loss of Hanjin

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT | OB CONTRIBUTOR

"Shipping containers to Portland is like waiting for a bus that travels once a day."


Read more...

6 development projects reshaping Bend

The Latest
Thursday, April 09, 2015
bendthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Bend has reclaimed its prerecession title as one of the fastest growing cities in the country.


Read more...

100 Best: The Power of the Worker

March 2015
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR
AND AMY MILSHTEIN | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Technology is empowering people like never before and transforming how employees interact in the workplace. How can companies attract and keep staff engaged in this rapidly changing world?


Read more...

Downtime with the president of NAI Norris, Beggs & Simpson

March 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Live, Work, Play: Catching up with Chris Johnson.


Read more...

Announcing the date of the 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon event

News
Friday, March 20, 2015
OBM-100-best-Green-logo-2015-250pxwBY OB STAFF

Join us to celebrate and network with Oregon’s best green workplaces!


Read more...

How a Utah-based essential oils company cornered the Oregon market

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Multilevel marketing, health claims and zyto scanner biofeedback machines: How dōTERRA thrives in Oregon. 


Read more...

Party Like It’s 1999

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
pets-com-sock-puppetBY JASON NORRIS, CFA | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Pets.com, GeoCities, eToys, and WorldCom … blasts-from-the-past that all signify the late 1990s Internet bubble. Yet we believe the dynamics of the market, specifically in technology stocks, are much different today than it was during the late 1990s.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS