Portland’s ‘E-Bikes’ début at Gateway Discovery Park

Find out why new electric bicycles, part of what officials are calling ‘BIKETOWN 2.0’, have shown up, all over outer East Portland …

In the Hazelwood neighborhood, Portland Bureau of Transportation holds a “reveal” for new battery-powered bikes for rent, on the Halsey Street edge of Gateway Discovery Park in the Gateway Neighborhood Business District.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

In mid-September, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and Lyft launched a new fleet of pedal-assist electric bikes for BIKETOWN, Portland’s orange-colored bike rental system.

“With the support of the title sponsor, NIKE, Inc., PBOT and Lyft are growing BIKETOWN’s service area today to 32 square miles, including its first expansion into East Portland — encompassing the Jade District, and portions of Lents, Powellhurst-Gilbert, and the Gateway area,” explained PBOT Director Chris Warner.

Riding one of their bike-sharing two-wheelers will take a whole lot less effort, now that they all have an electric motor assist, says PBOT Director Chris Warner.

“We’re really re-launching BIKETOWN by updating the system with e-bikes, which are great technology that advances our goals, while expanding the service area to include much more of this area,” Warner told East Portland News.

“This is important for outer East Portland, because PBOT strives to deliver transportation systems that serve all of Portland – and this is where we’re rolling out the new, upgraded e-bikes today.”

PBOT’s Dylan Rivera spends a moment with Lyft Bikes General Manager Patrick Quintana during the roll-out the fleet of new electric-assist e-bikes.

“This is Lyft’s first bike-share system in the nation to go all-electric,” commented PBOT spokesperson Dylan Rivera. “And, it’s launching with 500 bikes, dispersed all over the service area – including outer East Portland, here in Gateway, the Jade District, Montavilla, and the Cully neighborhood. By October, we’ll have a total of 1,500 e-bikes available!”

The battery life depends on the terrain covered, as well as how much the rider pedals, versus using the electrical power assist. In any event, there should be plenty of power for the “typical ride” of about 20 minutes, we learned.

These battery-powered bikes should have enough “juice” to make rides easier, officials say.

“There should be plenty of battery capacity on the bikes for most of the trips; so, riders will be able to get up relatively steep hills, like Mt. Tabor, without having to lift up out of the saddle to ‘crank’ up a grade,” explained Rivera.

And, instead of having to take the bikes out of service for charging, BIKETOWN staff will simply swap out a discharged battery for a fully charged one.

So, look for these all-new orange bikes – sign up – and take a spin! CLICK HERE to get started.

© 2020 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News ™



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