‘Peloton’ apartments on Williams-Vancouver corridor take inspiration from cycling

‘Peloton’ apartments on Williams-Vancouver corridor take inspiration from cycling


A man rides past the new Peloton Building development on North Vancouver Avenue.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

What is it about bicycles that inspires Portland’s residential real estate developers? First there was Milano, then Velomor, and now there’s the Peloton Apartments.

“Our apartment project caters to the biking community.”
— Gus Baum, Security Properties

Saturday night while biking by the construction site on the block bordered by North Williams, Skidmore, Vancouver and Mason I noticed a new banner. I had to pull over and stop when I saw the word “peloton” and the sign with a design that included dozens of cute little bikes.

Just last week I was talking with our news editor Michael Andersen about how bicycles are such a common symbol in many of Portland’s recent apartment and condominium projects. If not in the name of the building itself, bicycle-inspired graphics can often be found on the signage and exterior decor of many of the new buildings sprouting up on Portland’s skyline.

It’s not surprising that bicycles figure into developers’ plans. After all, bicycling is arguably the most well-known brand attribute of Portland these days (with craft beer and the food scene rounding out the top three). Heck, even out-of-town sportswriters find ways to mention bicycling in completely unrelated stories.

In the case of the Peloton Apartments, the developer of the 268-unit project says inspiration for the name came from being located on Portland’s busiest bicycle corridor.

Gus Baum of Security Properties shared with us via email this morning that, “Since inception, the Peloton site was focused on taking inspiration from the unique community on N. Williams, and in particular the bike gateway to the city via Vancouver headed south and Williams headed north.”

“Literally hundreds of avid bicycle enthusiasts,” Baum continued, “from commuters to casual riders use the thoroughfares to navigate to north and northeast Portland every day. We wanted our multi-family apartment project to embrace not just the two major streets surrounding our project but to bike culture in Portland overall.”

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Bicycles on the marketing banner.

The new buildings are going up across the street from the First AME Zion Church, providing a sharp contrast with the corridor’s past.

What’s more, Baum says the color schemes of some units were inspired by a popular racing bike and some doors in the project will match the color of vintage yellow jerseys from the Tour de France.

The word peloton comes from the French “platoon” and today is used to refer to the main group of riders in a bicycle race. Baum is likely unaware of the irony of using a name from competitve cycling for a building on streets where high-speed bicycle riding — also known as “Cat 6” or “hipster racing” according to the Urban Dictionary — is rampant and often ridiculed.

Thankfully bicycling will be more than just part of the origin story at Peloton Apartments. As we reported last year, the four-building development will include a “pedestrian-focused” woonerf space. Baum says bike-loving residents of the Peloton will also enjoy 275 bike parking stalls, a bike club, and “numerous connections to Portland’s bike community through artwork, branding and other gestures.”

The banners visible today on the fence around the construction site are part of that branding effort. They were designed by Portland-based OMFG Co.

The Peloton Apartments are just the latest in the ongoing transformation of North Williams Avenue. What used to be a place that housed half of Portland’s black residents has changed drastically in the past decade and bicycles and the people who ride them have been at the forefront of that change.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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