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Cargo trike company B-Line takes over delivery for SoupCycle

Cargo trike company B-Line takes over delivery for SoupCycle

Coming soon to your front door.(Photo/graphic: BikePortland)

Coming soon to your front door.
(Photo/graphic: BikePortland)

Bike-powered business, urban freight delivery and local food production have come together in a very exciting way in Portland.

Today two local companies that have built strong niches hauling cargo with pedal power — B-Line and SoupCycle — announced they’ve joined forces. From now on B-Line’s electric-assist cargo trikes will distribute meals for SoupCycle, a company with over 600 customers throughout Portland.

It’s an intriguing collaboration that shows the maturity of Portland’s bike business ecosystem and it comes just days after the University of Washington debuted a new “Urban Freight Lab” in partnership with major retailers and shipping companies with an aim to make downtown deliveries more efficient and friendlier for humans and the environment.

For SoupCycle and B-Line, the move allows both of them to do more of what they do best.

SoupCycle started in 2008 when (former) owner Jed Lazar began cooking up delicious soups and delivering them by bike to “soupscribers” with his humble cargo trailer. The business took off as Lazar expanded his delivery territory (known as “souplandistan”) and hired more riders. Lazar sold the business to employee Nate Schlachter in 2014 and the company became certified as a B Corporation in 2016. In the past eight years they’ve delivered about 180,000 servings of organic soup, bread and salad.







B-Line, also a B Corporation, got rolling in 2009 and immediately saw themselves as much more than just a human-powered delivery company. The company employs 18 people — 15 of whom pedal the large trikes (that also serve as advertising vehicles via the billboards on all sides) to clients in the central city. It’s a much more humane way than motorized trucks and vans to solve the urban “last-mile” freight delivery challenge that Portland and many other cities face.

B-Line CEO Franklin Jones told us seven years ago that he wanted to, “Create a different type of city… a new model of distributing goods in urban areas.” Slowly but surely he has done just that.

It all came together when Jones moved B-Line into the The Redd, a collaborative space at Southeast 7th and Salmon streets in the Central Eastside devoted to boosting the local food economy by connecting farmers, chefs, and entrepreneurs. B-Line is the anchor tenant at The Redd and SoupCycle moved in this past summer. “By giving B-Line oversight of our distribution and logistics,” Schlachter said in a press release about the partnership, “we can focus on our core competency as a fresh food producer, and continue to grow by pursuing new business opportunities.”

Learn more about how pedal-power is playing a role in Portland’s local food ecosystem via The Redd’s website.

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

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This is what freight delivery looks like in Portland (video)

This is what freight delivery looks like in Portland (video)

Big trucks are bad for dense urban areas. They spew toxic exhaust that poisons our bodies and our environment, they take up precious space, and they far too often kill people due to their inherently unsafe design features. We should do whatever we can to limit their presence.

Fortunately there are other options. Like pedal and battery-powered cargo bikes.







Yesterday I happened upon a three-wheeled cargo trike at work on Southeast 2nd and Pine. It was a vehicle owned by Portland-based B-Line Sustainable Urban Delivery.

B-Line employee Anthony Dryer was making deliveries for Marukin Ramen, a Japanese restaurant with a small outlet in Pine Street Market. The back of his trike was full of food prepared in the kitchen of Marukin’s flagship location less than a mile away (just across the Willamette River). Dryer, who also works as a mechanic on the bikes when he’s not riding them, said his load was about 300 pounds. He makes about 15-20 similar deliveries on an average day — to B-Line’s many local customers. The company also makes money by promoting brands and displaying advertisements on the side of the trikes.

As Portland continues to grow at a rapid pace and our streets fill with people who are not encased in a protective shell, B-Line and similar companies like Portland Pedal Power, are well-positioned to be the future stars of our local freight economy. We should do everything we can to help them flourish.

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

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Bikes at Work: Portland Pedal Power keeps businesses stocked and satiated

Bikes at Work: Portland Pedal Power keeps businesses stocked and satiated

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Sky Miles, a rider with Portland Pedal Power, loads up his rig after a delivery in downtown Portland this morning.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Welcome to “Bikes at Work,” our ocassional series that looks into the people and companies that use bicycles to get work done.

When it comes to delivering food to downtown businesses, bicycles are perhaps the perfect vehicle for the job. Major national chains like Domino’s Pizza and Jimmy John’s have figured this out, as have local ones like Old Town Pizza.

And then there’s Portland Pedal Power, a business that have carved out a nice niche for itself by keeping office workers satiated. We first wrote about this company back in 2007 when they started home delivery of groceries for People’s Food Co-op customers. Today Portland Pedal Power has a fleet of cargo bikes with custom-made enclosures and they’re a full-fledged food delivery, catering, and marketing business. They have partnerships in place with dozens of restaurants and they also offer advertising on the side of their eye-catching bikes.

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On my way into work today I met one of Portland Pedal Power’s riders, Sky Miles. I often see the PPP bikes downtown, but what caught my eyes this morning was the loaded trailer attached to Sky’s bike. It was well before lunch-hour so I was curious what Sky was delivering. He told me he was stocking the office kitchen for Elemental Technologies, a software firm with its headquarters on Southwest Broadway.

As Sky packed up his rig I checked out the set-up: It was a stout Surly cargo trailer attached to an even stouter Yuba Mundo cargo bike equipped with a Stokemonkey electric-assist motor. Between the enclosure and the four large thermal bags on the trailer, Sky can carry a serious amount of provisions…

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Closer look at the Stokemonkey electric-assist system.
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He even had a lightweight, foldable hand-truck that laid nicely on top.
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Keep smiling Sky. And stay warm out there!

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


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‘Disaster Relief Trials’ demonstrate biking’s potential after The Big One

‘Disaster Relief Trials’ demonstrate biking’s potential after The Big One

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Competitor Adam Newman leads a group of riders on North Rosa Parks Way en route to the Oregon Food Bank checkpoint where they had to pick up a box of food before returning to the University of Portland.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

With interest in earthquake preparedness at an all-time high, the timing could not have been better for the fourth annual Disaster Relief Trials. The event, which was based at University of Portland, aims to demonstrate that cargo bikes can be an effective way to administer aid and help rebuild our communities after a large quake or other natural disaster.

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Mike Cobb.

45 competitors showed up today to test their mettle and equipment. They faced 10 challenging checkpoints scattered throughout the city. They had to lift their bikes up and over a five-foot wall, ride through deep water, carry heavy and awkward loads, traverse steep dirt trails, and more. Depending on category, the riders had to pedal, push, and lift their loads between 15 and 30 miles.

Portlander Mike Cobb came up with the concept five years ago and now DRT events are held in Seattle, Eugene and San Francisco. Bend will join the list next year. Cobb was inspired by the tragic events that unfolded after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti in 2010. “I was embarrassed as a human to watch what happened in Haiti,” he shared with me at the event today, “And the biggest tragedy wasn’t the quake itself but the secondary impacts. We have such amazing innovations when we’re motivated… like going to the moon or something; but all those people in Haiti had to suffer just because we’re not focused on it.

“Decision-makers need proof that bikes are not just toys.”
— Mike Cobb, event organizer

So I thought, what can I do?”

Cobb, a former messenger known for amazing feats of bicycling like doing the 375-mile off-road Oregon Outback on a fixed gear, turned to what he knows and loves: bikes. “I wanted to do something decentralized and human-powered.”

The DRT is a way to showcase what cargo bikes can do. If we as a society are to ever embrace them as serious disaster-relief tools, people in power must shift their perceptions. “Decision-makers need proof that bikes are not just toys,” Cobb says.

Today’s event definitely got the point across. In fact, the City of Portland’s Planning and Preparedness Manager Jonna Papaefthimiou participated in the Family category (see photos of her in action below).

Here’s a breakdown of the different rider categories:

Family Category Rider (~15 miles, ~20lbs cargo + your kids)
The Family class are families that are ready. With kids in tow, their cargo will take care of their needs; going the distance to make sure their family is safe! In the notes, please tell us how many kids will be on your bike and you’ll get a time bonus per kid!

Citizen Category Rider (~30 miles, ~50lbs cargo)
The Citizen class are everyday people who are prepared for disaster. They might not have the heaviest cargo, but they have what they need to make sure they are ready.

Resilient Category Rider (~30 miles, ~75lbs cargo)
The Resilient class are everyday people who are ready to help. Their cargo will to take care of their needs, but don’t worry, they have a little bit extra to help their community. They are ready to go that extra distance to help others in their community! Riders in this class should anticipate large and awkward cargo.

Responder Category Rider (~30 miles, ~100lbs cargo)
The Responder class will carry the heaviest cargo, they are the people who will be going the longest distance because in a real disaster, the responders will be taking care of themselves and others. Riders in this class should anticipate large and awkward cargo.

E-Assist Category Rider (~30 miles, ~125lbs cargo)
The E-Assist class will cover more ground and haul more cargo (125 lbs) since they come with a built in booster. Riders who can prove (with a picture) that they have an off-grid charging option will get a time bonus. Bike path legal e-assist bikes only please.

For more of today’s action, check out the photos and captions below…

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Responder category team entrant Lindsay Kennedy.
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Resilient category rider Tom Keller.
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Citizen category riders.
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Shawn Postera riding for Multnomah County Animal Services.
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Citizen category rider Piet Fretz
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Citizen category rider Wibke Fretz.
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Back at the Hub, spectators checked out a map of the checkpoints.
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Responder category rider Joel Newman pumps his tire at checkpoint #2.
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Responder category rider Joel Newman checks his map before leaving the Hub for checkpoint #3 on the Tilikum Bridge.
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Responder category rider Josh Volk.
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The riders kept the map within close reach. They had get it signed-off by a course marshall at each checkpoint.
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Joel Newman’s homemade machine featured a nifty drivetrain and cool outrigger cargo bins.
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Close-up of the drivetrain on Joel Newman’s bike.
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Joel Newman made these versatile cargo bays.
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There was a very wide variety of bike set-ups, including Aaron Rogosin’s Cannondale road bike with an Xtracycle Freeradical kit.
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Bill Stites of Stites Design volunteered to be the first responder with his Truck Trike. It also came in handy when these 18 pallets needed to be hauled from University of Portland to St. Johns Park.
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The second checkpoint required participants to deflate a tire (to mimic a blowout) and then pump it up. Many were given a five-minute penalty for not carrying their own pump.
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Responder category rider Mark Ginsberg refilled his water at checkpoint #2.
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Responder category rider Tess Velo riding away toward checkpoint #3.

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Resilient category rider Seth Burke.
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Tomas deAlmeida upon hearing his friend and fellow rider Ryan Hashagen suffered a real tire blowout on the way to the first checkpoint.
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Resilient category rider William Douglas all loaded up.
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E-assist category rider Nick Slanchick
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Responder category rider Nate Young.
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Up-close look at DIY bakfiets belonging to Seth Burke.
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Tire-pumping teamwork of Piet and Wibke Fretz.
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Patrick Vinograd and son were one of several participants in the Family category.
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“Here dad, I’ll hold this for you while you pump.”
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Responder category rider Ryan Hashagen was more tired than anyone else at the first checkpoint. One of his tires blew out while riding his cargo trike on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Instead of dropping out, he pushed the trike a mile home, got another cargo bike out of his garage and re-entered the competition.
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Joe Ohama and his son Luke Ohama dropping into the deep water challenge at checkpoint #4.
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He might need a fender in his emergency kit!
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Jonna Papaefthimiou, planning and preparedness manager at the City of Portland Bureau of Emergency Management, participated in the Family category.
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When the Big One does strike, Portland’s deeply rooted cargo biking culture, our respect for human-powered mobility, and the type of community building and skills on display at events like this will benefit us all. Thanks to all the participants, organizers, volunteers and sponsors!

Read more on this topic in our “bikes and disasters” archives.

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


The post ‘Disaster Relief Trials’ demonstrate biking’s potential after The Big One appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Dates set for 4th annual Disaster Relief Trials

Dates set for 4th annual Disaster Relief Trials

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Participants negotiate a water-carrying checkpoint at last year’s event.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland’s Disaster Relief Trials are back for the fourth year and there are some exciting changes in store.

Before we get into the details, here’s the mock scenario:

“Imagine this: It’s two days after the big earthquake… roads are broken, fuel is unavailable, but your family and neighbors need supplies. Think you are out of options? Think again! Use your cargo bike!

Portland cyclists are called to test their navigation, problem solving and load hauling mettle on October 17th, 2015 in a disaster drill designed to showcase the relevance of cargo bikes in disaster relief.”

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As we’ve been covering since 2011, the tandem rise in popularity of cargo bikes and disaster preparedness have added a lot of momentum and relevance to this event.

Organizers announced earlier this week that the 2015 DRT will be held on October 17th at the campus of the University of Portland. Also new this year is a “hub and spoke” checkpoint arrangement (with U of P as the hub), which will make the event much more spectator friendly.

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If you’ve never seen or participated in this event, we highly recommend checking it out. Competitors show up in all types of bikes and have to go through nearly a dozen grueling checkpoints that require them to do everything from lift their bike (and up to 100 lbs of cargo) over obstacles and carry odd-shaped items. The idea is to demonstrate how resilient bicycles (and the people who ride them) can be after a natural disaster strikes.

In addition to the competition, there will also be an expo where you can learn more about disaster preparedness from the event’s sponsors and partners which include: the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management, the Cascade Regional Earthquake Workgroup, and others.

Pre-registration is open and you can sign-up online.

To learn more, read our recap and browse photos from last year’s event, check out DisasterReliefTrials.com and follow @PortlandDRT on Twitter.


The post Dates set for 4th annual Disaster Relief Trials appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Pedal-powered freight delivery firm partners with Central Eastside food hub

Pedal-powered freight delivery firm partners with Central Eastside food hub

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B-Line founder Franklin Jones in 2010.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Portland’s biggest trike-based urban cargo company is about to get bigger.

“You don’t want to be on the streets delivering product, you want to be in the office building your business. That’s where we come in.”
— Franklin Jones, B-Line

As part of a partnership with the nonprofit conservation group Ecotrust, B-Line Sustainable Urban Delivery will move into a renovated building in Portland’s industrial inner east side that will be filled with people bringing local agricultural products to market.

In addition to serving its fellow tenants at Ecotrust’s new two-building campus, the move will let B-Line add two to four new trikes to its fleet and expand its overall delivery capacity by 25 percent.

“Our role is to kind of step in as a logistics provider for that campus,” said Franklin Jones, B-Line’s founder and CEO, in an interview Tuesday. “Also, that’ll allow us to provide more of a role as an aggregator and consolidator in the Central Eastside, thereby reducing more vehicle trips. … Once those products are dropped off, we’re kind of able to consolidate products across industries and combine them into one trike-load into the downtown core.”

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Jones said the new setup will improve B-Line’s ability to bring products to the New Seasons grocery chain, which has its main kitchen in the Central Eastside and contracts with B-Line for some of its product deliveries. He said B-Line has found a niche serving small companies that have outgrown directly delivering their own products to stores but aren’t yet big enough to sign on with a large distributor.

“This new facility is going to enable us to offer a greater capacity not only to New Seasons directly but also to the vendors who may be selling into New Seasons,” Jones said. “Let’s say you’re a hot sauce guy and your product is starting to take off. You’re working out of your garage and you don’t have any storage capability. You don’t want to be on the streets delivering product, you want to be in the office building your business. That’s where we come in.”

“We’re able to extend the runway before they have to go into one of these primary distributors,” Jones went on. “If we can get that runway a little bit longer, there’s going to be more value back to the producer. It ultimately gets back to the ranchers, the fishermen, the farmers, the growers.”

The new Ecotrust building, called the Redd, is between Southeast 7th, 8th, Salmon and Taylor. Jones said B-Line’s relocation is scheduled for early September.


The post Pedal-powered freight delivery firm partners with Central Eastside food hub appeared first on BikePortland.org.

First look at Yuba’s new ‘Spicy Curry’ electric-assist cargo bike

First look at Yuba’s new ‘Spicy Curry’ electric-assist cargo bike

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Yuba Bikes Founder and CEO Benjamin Sarrazin on his new Spicy Curry e-bike.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)


When Yuba’s debuted in Portland nearly seven years ago, I can remember the dismissive chuckles. Back then, Xtracycles ruled the market for “longtail” cargo bikes and most people thought the Dutch bakfiets bikes were the state of the art when it came to hauling kids and cargo.

The company’s first model, the Yuba Mundo was stout and overbuilt and relatively heavy at 59 pounds. It took a while to win people over, but eventually the Mundo proved itself. It became a favorite for anyone who valued stability and toughness and it’s a hit with bike-based businesses. Heck, we’ve even met a guy and his dog touring the country on one.

In the past seven years Yuba has come a long way. They’ve grown alongside the cargo bike boom in America and they’ve benefitted from a renaissance in urban biking that has seen many cities add protected bike lanes and other infrastructure that makes living without a car much more feasible.

And it’s people who want to live carfree or low-car Yuba now hopes to attract with its latest offering — the Spicy Curry. Yuba’s Founder and CEO Benjamin Sarrazin rolled through Portland last week and I met up with him at Fields Park to take a closer look.

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Sarrazin pointing to the modular rear rack system. He didn’t have the “truck bed” platform with him when we met.

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Nice graphics.
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Sarrazin said he’s working on a hand-lever released dual kickstand that will be ready once the bikes are available in June.
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Love this huge rear rack!
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1 1/2″ threadless headset.

Sarrazin’s roots go way back in the cargo bike world. He was one of the original employees of Xtracycle when he started there 15 years ago and was a close partner of that company’s founders Ross Evans and Kipchoge Spencer. Xtracycle built its reputation on a kit called the “Freeradical” that would transform the rear-end of (nearly) any bike into a fully-competent longtail. But Sarrazin, now 41, thought the company should make a complete bike. After being rebuffed internally, he sprung out on his own and started Yuba. He designed their first model, the Mundo, and it was the first purpose-built cargo bike in the North American market.

Sarrazin’s new Spicy Curry is an evolutionary step from the “El Mundo” model, which is a version of the Mundo that ships with an aftermarket electric-assist kit built into the rear wheel.

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The name Spicy Curry name is a nod to Currie Technologies, the company Yuba partnered with top make the bike’s 350W motor. (Currie also happens to be the umbrella company for several e-bike brands and sells more e-bikes than any company in the U.S.) Sarrazin says it’s that motor that sets his new bike apart. “For years now, I’ve been looking at a way to make an integrated e-cargo bike. Then about a year ago, Currie came around.”

Sarrazin says the Spicy Curry’s “mid-drive” motor gives it the best efficiency, power and torque (acceleration) on the market. Instead of driving a wheel, the Currie mid-drive motor drives the crank-arms forward and it’s especially smooth and powerful when climbing hills.

With an estimated 80 percent of Yuba customers carrying kids, the extra power is a huge asset.

The Spicy Curry is made out of aluminum, which allows it to tip the scales at just 55 pounds — that’s lighter than the first (non-electric) Mundos that hit the market.

Another cool feature (that unfortunately wasn’t on the bike I saw last week) is what Sarrazin calls the “truck bed,” an attachment to the rear rack that creates a two-by-two foot loading platform. Pop off the loading platform and two child seats can snap on the deck in seconds. The Spicy Curry comes in one size and can be shipped with either a 350 or 500mm seatpost.

I took a quick spin on the bike and was impressed at how smooth it was. My only quibble so far is that it doesn’t come with a chainguard or a bell (UPDATE: Yuba says it will come with a bell. Yay!). It does come with integrated front and rear dynamo-powered lights – a must for any real utility bike.

I would love to try it out fully loaded to see if it could really be the car replacement Sarrazin hopes it will be. (Stay tuned for a possible hands-on test.)

The bike will be available next month from Clever Cycles in southeast Portland.

Learn more about this bike at YubaBikes.com


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B-Line inks deal to deliver products to New Seasons stores

B-Line inks deal to deliver products to New Seasons stores

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Franklin Jones of B-Line on one of his delivery trikes.
(Photo by NashCO Photography, courtesy New Seasons Market)

Earth Day seems like a fitting day to announce the latest evolution in Portland’s cargo bike delivery ecosystem.

Pedal-powered freight delivery company B-Line has partnered with New Seasons Markets on a pilot project dubbed “Green Wheels” to deliver products to their stores.

Here’s more from an announcement by New Seasons:

The pilot program currently serves the Hawthorne and Division stores, with plans to expand to Concordia and Arbor Lodge, and Northwest Portland’s soon-to-launch Slabtown location.

A small selection of vendors is participating in the pilot, with potential for the roster to grow…

As for the near future, B-Line plans to open a North Portland hub to service the ultra-dense Killingsworth, Alberta and Mississippi neighborhoods, and will potentially take root within Ecotrust’s newly acquired warehouse in southeast Portland, The Redd, slated to operate as an urban food hub…

The idea is for B-Line to establish local distribution hubs that will accept products from New Seasons vendors. Then B-Line employees will pedal the freight to the individual stores.

Since the company’s launch in 2009, B-Line founder Franklin Jones has built his company into a viable and successful last-mile cargo delivery operation. His fleet of electrified cargo trikes can carry up to 600 pounds per load and currently deliver to over 200 local businesses, saving tens of thousands of truck trips every year.

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New Seasons says the partnership will save their 150 local vendors — many of whom are small start-ups — from having to drive around in order to deliver their products to the company’s 14 metro area markets. “Streamlining the delivery process could mean hundreds of car trips avoided and less congestion on cramped urban streets,” New Seasons says, “along with freeing up a healthy chunk of precious time.”

This effort reminds us of what Rolling Oasis is doing with their planned expansion into new areas. That company is trying to raise money to establish delivery hubs in underserved neighborhoods. (Learn more about their plans on this fantastic recent episode of The Sprocket Podcast.)

Local delivery of food by cargo bike has so many upsides for our local economy, health, and planet. Congrats to these companies for seeing the future and working to do things differently — and better!

We’re following all the local cargo bike news, stay tuned for more coverage.

The post B-Line inks deal to deliver products to New Seasons stores appeared first on BikePortland.org.

B-Line inks deal to deliver products to New Seasons stores

B-Line inks deal to deliver products to New Seasons stores

blinepic

Franklin Jones of B-Line on one of his delivery trikes.
(Photo by NashCO Photography, courtesy New Seasons Market)

Earth Day seems like a fitting day to announce the latest evolution in Portland’s cargo bike delivery ecosystem.

Pedal-powered freight delivery company B-Line has partnered with New Seasons Markets on a pilot project dubbed “Green Wheels” to deliver products to their stores.

Here’s more from an announcement by New Seasons:

The pilot program currently serves the Hawthorne and Division stores, with plans to expand to Concordia and Arbor Lodge, and Northwest Portland’s soon-to-launch Slabtown location.

A small selection of vendors is participating in the pilot, with potential for the roster to grow…

As for the near future, B-Line plans to open a North Portland hub to service the ultra-dense Killingsworth, Alberta and Mississippi neighborhoods, and will potentially take root within Ecotrust’s newly acquired warehouse in southeast Portland, The Redd, slated to operate as an urban food hub…

The idea is for B-Line to establish local distribution hubs that will accept products from New Seasons vendors. Then B-Line employees will pedal the freight to the individual stores.

Since the company’s launch in 2009, B-Line founder Franklin Jones has built his company into a viable and successful last-mile cargo delivery operation. His fleet of electrified cargo trikes can carry up to 600 pounds per load and currently deliver to over 200 local businesses, saving tens of thousands of truck trips every year.

We rely on financial support from readers like you.

New Seasons says the partnership will save their 150 local vendors — many of whom are small start-ups — from having to drive around in order to deliver their products to the company’s 14 metro area markets. “Streamlining the delivery process could mean hundreds of car trips avoided and less congestion on cramped urban streets,” New Seasons says, “along with freeing up a healthy chunk of precious time.”

This effort reminds us of what Rolling Oasis is doing with their planned expansion into new areas. That company is trying to raise money to establish delivery hubs in underserved neighborhoods. (Learn more about their plans on this fantastic recent episode of The Sprocket Podcast.)

Local delivery of food by cargo bike has so many upsides for our local economy, health, and planet. Congrats to these companies for seeing the future and working to do things differently — and better!

We’re following all the local cargo bike news, stay tuned for more coverage.

The post B-Line inks deal to deliver products to New Seasons stores appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Two cargo bike projects worth backing on Kickstarter

Two cargo bike projects worth backing on Kickstarter

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Oak Cliff Cargo Bicycles (left) and Bike Friday want to take a leap into cargo bikes. And you can help.

Two friends of BikePortland and fellow lovers of cargo bikes have recently launched campaigns that deserve your crowd-funding consideration.

Bike Friday (from Eugene) and Oak Cliff Cargo Bicycles (from Dallas, Texas) might not be from Portland, but our city has a solid place in each of their stories.

If Oak Cliff sounds familiar, it’s probably because we wrote about the start of their cargo bike journey two years ago. Riding a wave of enthusiasm for making their town of Oak Cliff more bike friendly, Jonathan Braddick and Brennen Bechtol got inspired by a Portland-made documentary about cargo bikes. In that documentary they were introduced to Portland resident Tom LaBonty, who has carved a niche for himself as a DIY cargo bike builder.

Jonathan and Brennan invited LaBonty to Oak Cliff to teach them how to build cargo bikes. Now, two years later, they’re ready to branch out on their own. Their Kickstarter campaign aims at giving them the funds to build, “environmentally-friendly, hand crafted, affordable Dutch style cargo bicycles for the masses made in Oak Cliff, TX.” So far they’ve raised $1,263 out of a goal of $10,000 they hope to reach by December 18th.

Bike Friday in Eugene is already a successful bike company; but they’ve always been known for their folding bikes. A Kickstarter campaign for their new “Haul-a-Day” cargo bike could help change that.

John Rezell with Bike Friday says he thinks the Haul-a-Day isn’t just a potential game-changer for his company, it’s a life-changer for its owners. “I can honestly say that I’ve never been more excited about a bike and its potential to change lives,” he shared in an email today.

We saw first-hand how the Haul-a-Day performs when it took a surprise win at the Portland Disaster Relief Trials back in July. Surviving The Big One is a nice bonus, but the bike’s true promise is as a minivan replacement.

Eugene’s Safe Routes to School program coordinator Shane MacRhodes was one of the designers of the bike (Alan Scholz, co-founder of Bike Friday, is the other). He made the frame easily adjustable so it can fit a wide variety of sizes and gave it a small, 20-inch wheel for a low center-of-gravity and easy step-over.

Bike Friday’s looking to raise $45,000 on Kickstarter so they can ramp up production to 1,000 Haul-a-Days in 2015. Amazingly, after just one day, they’re already up to nearly $30,000. We think they should have asked for more!

Best of luck to both of these campaigns. All bikes change lives, but cargo bikes can change our entire culture in so many positive ways that we want to see as many of them on the road as possible.

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