Home Back Issues November 2009 PDX bicycle boom races through the recession

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

Charged ride

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
0614launchBY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Brad Baker, CEO and co-founder of Works Electric, is a good husband. His wife, an OHSU employee, sought a more efficient way to commute up Marquam “Pill” Hill, so she asked Baker to build a transportation solution.


Read more...

What I'm Reading

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014

The CEO of Axiom EPM, Peri Pierone, and the co-founder of McMenamins, Mike McMenamin, share their recent reads.


Read more...

The global challenge

News
Friday, June 27, 2014
062714 thumb globalmarketBY JASON NORRIS | OB BLOGGER

Over the last several months we have seen a wave of cross-border acquisitions, primarily U.S.-based companies looking to purchase non-U.S.-based companies. There are a few reasons for this, but the main culprit is the U.S. corporate tax system. The United States has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world.


Read more...

Beyond cheese

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY SOPHIA BENNETT

Tillamook expands its tourism niche.


Read more...

2014 Best Green Companies to Work For announced

News
Wednesday, May 28, 2014

100BestGreenMore than 350 people turned out today for Oregon Business magazine’s sixth annual celebration of the 100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon.


Read more...

Hipsters gone wild

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY JON BELL

A new generation of outdoor apparel companies targets the young and the urban.


Read more...

OB Video: Oregon MESA

News
Thursday, June 26, 2014

ThumbOregon Business hosts an informal roundtable discussion about the Oregon MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) program.


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