Need a ride? New bike share program comes to PSU

What you need to know

Cost

Single trip: $2.50

Day pass: $12

Monthly membership: $5

(Price for PSU students and employees as of Sept. 1; buys 90 minutes of riding per day; $12 for general public.)

Campus locations

  • Smith Memorial Student Union 
  • Academic and Student Recreation Center
  • Maseeh College of Engineering/4th Avenue Building
  • Collaborative Life Sciences Building

Sign up

Biketown.org

Download Biketown app

Portland’s new bike share program Biketown already is having a big impact on Portland State.

“Usage has been fantastic,” says Clint Culpepper, PSU bicycle program coordinator and director of the Bike Hub shop on campus. “We are really excited about the number of students and visitors to campus who are making use of this service.”

Earlier this month, the city-run program installed 100 bright orange racks throughout downtown and central Portland with 1,000 like-colored bikes. The bikes can be rented for a single trip, or users can pay a monthly fee for more frequent use.

“They’re great for running an errand in the middle of the day,” Culpepper says, “and great for getting to different parts of campus.” 

The bikes aren’t built for speed. They’re clunky, weigh about 45 pounds and have eight speeds that can be changed from a shifter in the handlebar grip. 

They’re adorned with the Nike swoosh because the athletic gear giant donated $10 million to provide five years of operating cash. Some of the bikes are decorated to look like running shoes.

“They’re meant to go at a pace that allows you to see a lot more of the city,” Culpepper says. 

Xylia Lydgate, a marketing and human resources senior, recently gave the new program a spin. She and a friend checked out a pair of bikes and pedaled across the new Tilikum Crossing and cruised around PSU.

Renting the bikes “is a lot easier than it may look,” Lydgate says. Minutes after downloading the Biketown app on her smart phone, she had a code number that unlocked the bike. “It was super quick.”

The bikes are slow, she warns, but “it feels very sturdy.”

Portland transportation officials worked closely with PSU to ensure campus would be a primary hub for the program, says Dylan Rivera, spokesman for the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

“PSU is an integral part of downtown,” Rivera says. The city expects students to be key users of the system.

Additionally, the bikes are the first in the nation to log ride data through a GPS system, Rivera says. That data will be handed over to PSU researchers for analysis. The results would be used to improve bike share programs around the country, he says.

“It’s Portland and PSU working together,” Rivera said.

-- Harry Esteve