Portland will soon have its own bike-share platform, but it will look very different from other cities’ programs, from the bicycles used to who owns them.
Sometime in late summer, global peer-to-peer rental platform Spinlister will deliver branded bikes to local owners, who will rent them out for a little extra cash.
Portland will be the first city to receive the black and white Vanmoof smart bikes which come with a Bluetooth-activated lock.
“I think Portland chose us,” said Andrew Batey, Spinlister CMO. “I’ve always considered Portland to be No. 1 in North America in bike culture, bike-ability. It’s unreal.”
Initially, half the revenue will go back to Spinlister to pay off the cost of the bike, between $650 and $900, while the other half goes back to the owner. Once the upfront costs are paid, the owner will get to keep 82.5 percent of the money made on the bike rentals, and the other 17.5 percent will go back to Spinlister.
The biggest difference between Spinlister’s model and other cities’ bike-share programs is there is no central hub. Renters can pull up a nearby bike’s location on the Spinlister app, rent the bike and then lock it anywhere else in the city.
Batey said the bikes have been designed as “a bike you want to ride.”
“You would want to buy it in the store,” he said. “The bikes that most cities utilize are low quality, high volume bikes. They’re only for transportation. I think there’s a happy medium.”
Portland is one of the last major Pacific Northwest cities to get its own bike-share program since the end of the Yellow Bike Project in 1997. Seattle started Pronto Cycle Share through Motivate (formerly Portland-based Alta) in October and Idaho’s capitol city is expected to roll out Boise Bike Share later this spring.
Batey said between 20 and 50 Spinlister bikes will roll out in the city as a beta program to ensure that there aren’t any significant problems the company hasn’t already identified during testing. He said the company hopes to plant a few hundred bikes in the city later on.