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News Blog: Portland's adaptive bike rental program wraps up first season and celebrates participants' 'firsts'

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Chris grew up in Beaverton and now lives in New York City. He says Adaptive BIKETOWN is another great reason to visit Portland. Photo courtesy of Chris Pangilinan

(Dec. 19, 2017) A Beaverton native and graduate of Portland State University's Civil Engineering program, Chris Pangilinan has designed bike lanes in San Francisco, as well as bus and rail lines in Chicago, San Francisco, and New York. He holds a Masters in Transportation from MIT and has worked for large transit agencies, the US Department of Transportation, and New York-based transportation foundation TransitCenter. And now, he's added another feather to his transportation cap: cycling in Portland. 
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"This opened up a whole new world for me to explore Portland, spend time with friends, and get exercise."

-Chris Pangilinan, Adaptive BIKETOWN user & Transportation Engineer

Chris has ridden an adaptive bike before – in fact, he makes a point of visiting cities with adaptive bike rental programs, including Reno and his local program in New York City. Chris was born with Cerebral Palsy, which he said affects his balance, ability to walk and use a two-wheeled bike.

So when Chris first heard about Adaptive BIKETOWN, he said, "I gotta try it!"

With Adaptive BIKETOWN, operated by Kerr Bikes, Chris got to bike on the famous Springwater Corridor Trail for the first time.

He also experienced what it felt like to cycle next to traffic for the first time.

"As a transportation engineer, I should know how that feels!" Chris said with a chuckle.

And beyond the practicality and his professional interest, Chris said being able to bike in Portland with his friends – many of whom he describes as bikers or active – is an "immeasurable value." 

"This opened up a whole new world for me to explore Portland, spend time with friends, and get exercise," he said.

Chris surprised himself when he and his friend Jeff Mack rode all the way to Milwaukie and back (over 11 miles!).

For Chris, being able to ride is "hugely important... It’s indescribable what the freedom is like to get on a bike if you’ve never been on one before.  Most people take it for granted, because they grew up on one, but to go from wheelchairing and riding buses to actually riding a bike is just a whole new level. And I’m not even going to even try to describe it, because I can’t, you have to go do it yourself to understand!"

Chris said he's excited to ride Adaptive BIKETOWN at Kerr Bikes again next year. With Adaptive BIKETOWN here, it's another great reason to visit Portland, he said.

Adaptive BIKETOWN's pilot season by the numbers

  • 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

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Click to view an enlarged version of our 2017 Adaptive BIKETOWN Pilot Project recap.

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.

About PBOT

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the City’s transportation system, and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility.

About Albertina Kerr

For over 110 years, Albertina Kerr has strengthened Oregon families and communities. Kerr empowers people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health challenges and other social barriers to lead self-determined lives and reach their full potential. For more information about Albertina Kerr, visit or follow us on Twitter @Albertina_Kerr.