Go By Bike adds test rides as part of OHSU e-bike push

Go By Bike now offers e-bike test rides at their showroom in South Waterfront under the tram.
(Photo: Go By Bike)

Electric bike sales are skyrocketing nationwide and Portland is doing its part to stoke the boom. Now a new partnership between local bike shops, Oregon’s electric vehicle advocacy group, and Portland’s largest employer will make it even easier for people to purchase one.

According to market research firm NPD Group, e-bike sales were up 84{d758473eadf0b692d331aa823300cffd0ef21fd1fd535177f3429dd328b70b5d} in March, 92{d758473eadf0b692d331aa823300cffd0ef21fd1fd535177f3429dd328b70b5d} in April, and 137{d758473eadf0b692d331aa823300cffd0ef21fd1fd535177f3429dd328b70b5d} in May. It’s no surprise given how the bikes have evolved in recent years. When they first arrived on the scene they were clunky and mostly the realm of early adopters and garage-tinkerers. Then they trickled into local bike shops, but there were only a few brands, battery technology was subpar, and prices were relatively high for what you got. Lately the bikes have made massive leaps in quality and affordability and there are tons of great brands and models available.

Now the nearly 13,000 people who work at OHSU are eligible for a $200 subsidy and there’s even a convenient place to take one for a test ride.

OHSU has teamed up with Go By Bike (the repair shop that also runs the bike valet under the Portland Aerial Tram) to offer test rides. The new Go By Bike showroom currently has five models to choose from and will rotate the selection every few months. When you’re ready to buy, OHSU’s transportation department will give up to 50 people $200 that can be used as credit off a purchase at The eBike Store (809 N Rosa Parks Way) or Cynergy E-Bikes (3838 SE Powell Blvd).

(Four of the five bikes available for test rides. Click for make/model names.)

The showroom is open to everyone. In addition to the subsidy, OHSU has partnered with Point West Credit Union on an e-bike loan program.

“E-bikes are a significant aspect of our work and a fast-growing element of smart transportation.”
— Steve Guttman, Forth

Go By Bike owner Kiel Johnson says he’s thrilled at how this partnership came together and was inspired to build out his showroom after being part of the Electric Bike Work Group convened by Forth, Oregon’s nonprofit electric vehicle advocacy organization. That group had been planning an e-bike expo before the pandemic hit. Instead, Johnson use part of his federal COVID-19 stimulus check to purchase a new shipping container he’s using as the showroom. For now he only offers test rides. “Right now we are leasing bikes from the various bike shops,” Johnson shared with us. “But if we can show there is enough value in the showroom, the used bikes will go to a low income electric bike rental program.”

Go By Bike’s showroom and test ride program is just a pilot project at this point, but he and Forth hope to offer something similar at other employer sites citywide.

Forth Senior Program Manager Steve Gutmann said the idea was based on their EV Showcase in the World Trade Center in downtown Portland. While most of Forth’s lobbying and programs have focused on EV cars, car-sharing, electric trucks, and other programs, “We’ve also been working to accelerate e-bike adoption for years,” Gutmann said.

“E-bikes are a significant aspect of our work and a fast-growing element of smart transportation,” Gutmann added. Forth is seeking grant funds to expand the pilot to other locations and plans to offer e-bike test rides of their own once their EV Showcase re-opens.

The Go By Bike E-Bike Showroom is located at 3303 S Bond Ave and is Monday through Friday, 6:00 am to 7:30 pm. Current models available are from Specialized, Yamaha, Rad Power Bikes and Giant. Check out the website to fill out the test ride waiver before you show up.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and [email protected]
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