​Firsts with Adaptive BIKETOWN

Portland's adaptive bike rental program wraps up its first season and celebrates participants' 'firsts'.

When Amelia Opie thinks back a few years ago to riding two-wheeled bikes with her son, Miles, she thinks of one word: Stressful.

Miles, now a 17-year-old Senior at Cleveland High School, wants to be a baker after he graduates. Baking comes easily to him, he said, adding that one of his favorite things to make this time of year is a pumpkin cream cheese cake.

Miles also lives with autism, which makes it a challenge to balance on a two-wheeled bike.

Between the parked cars and other people bicycling, riding a two-wheeled bike together “was just very, very difficult to pull off,” Amelia said. So Miles’ bike has been sitting in their shed for the last few years.

But this summer, after hearing about Adaptive BIKETOWN, operated by Kerr Bikes, Amelia and Miles rode together on a side-by-side tandem for the first time.

"The riding part was hard at first," said Miles. "And then it got easier." When he rides the side-by-side tandem, Miles said he gets to relax.

Riding the bike path around the river together also creates a goal, Amelia said, adding that Miles especially liked to “hop off [the bike] and get a coffee, which makes it fun.” Miles rode Adaptive BIKETOWN a total of three times over the course of the summer, and rode with the whole family on one of Kerr's 4-person Surry bikes.

The convenience and affordability of Adaptive BIKETOWN was also a draw for Amelia. Being located on the Esplanade next to OMSI, and being able to “try out different bikes without having to buy or store them… is huge,” she said.

“I just don’t think he’d be riding a bike if [Adaptive BIKETOWN] wasn’t there,” Amelia said. "I feel so lucky this is in Portland!"

Adaptive BIKETOWN's pilot season by the numbers [Cool Infographic]

· 14 weeks: July 21 – October 31, 2017

· 59 rentals

· 68% of participants qualified for a discounted rate (people with disabilities, Medicare recipients, seniors, or self-identified as unable to ride a traditional two-wheeled bicycle)

· 53% of riders surveyed said it was their first time riding an adaptive bike

· 2/3 of riders surveyed said they rode in a group

· 76% of riders surveyed said they live or work in the Portland region

What's next?

Adaptive BIKETOWN will reopen at Kerr Bikes May 1, 2018, just in time for National Bike Month. You’ll also be able to test ride bikes from Adaptive BIKETOWN at all five Summer Parkway events.

About Adaptive BIKETOWN

In July 2017, The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) launched its adaptive bicycle rental program, called Adaptive BIKETOWN, the first City-sponsored program of its kind in the nation. An extension of BIKETOWN, Portland’s bike share program, Adaptive BIKETOWN is a bike rental service for people with varying abilities and offers a mix of tandem, hand cycles and three-wheeled bicycles for rent by the hour with the goal of increasing access to cycling.

The Adaptive BIKETOWN rental service is operated by Kerr Bikes, which is owned by the non-profit organization Albertina Kerr. Nike provides sponsorship support to increase awareness of the program. Different Spokes is also a program partner. www.AdaptiveBIKETOWN.com