In cities around the world, bike sharing programs offer a convenient transportation alternative for people without a bike of their own. One downside to this option is that riders can’t just lock up their bike wherever they want, and instead have to plan their route based on designated bike racks around the city. Portland will be one of the first cities to change this with new bikes that can be locked up virtually anywhere.
The city has just signed a five-year, $10 million deal with Nike to fill Portland with 1000 “Biketown” bicycles embellished with the Nike logo. In addition to the financial support they’re receiving from the company, the bike sharing program will also have cutting-edge technology on its side. The city of Portland has contracted the Brooklyn-based company Social Bicycles to manufacture bikes with communications, payment, security, and locking technology integrated into the hardware. That means that users will be able to lock their bikes wherever is most convenient. If a new rider wishes to borrow it later on, they can track down its exact location and punch a special access code into the keypad to unlock it.
Single rides will start at $2.50 for the first 30 minutes, and membership fees are set to cost between $10 and $15 for the whole year. Portland residents can expect to see the bright orange bikes on the streets starting this July.