‘Pedaling’ Bike Culture in Portland and Beyond


When a bike wheel builder friend of mine asked if I would like to attend an anniversary party for a local bike-related business, of course I said yes. In Portland, it’s never a good idea to turn down the opportunity to hang out with bike lovers and enjoy a few free drinks and hors d’oeuvres in the process.

But this was no regular bike throwdown; this was a full-on celebration of a commitment to better, more sustainable urban living. It was B-line’s one-year anniversary, and the people that came out to support this pedal powered delivery service were abuzz with positive energy.

B-line launched last year with the goal of partnering with businesses to take care of their urban delivery needs and, in turn, reduce the need for conventional trucks and vans. In the last 12 months, the company has certainly succeeded, pedaling over 6,000 miles to complete 3,000 deliveries. The results are pretty astonishing.

They’ve been able to reduce CO2 emissions by 11,000 pounds and they’ve helped delivered just about 191,000 pounds of organic produce; that’s on top of all the bread, coffee, tea and other things they pedal around town. As I listened to B-Line Founder and CEO Franklin Jones rattle off these statistics, I was impressed, not only because a pedal powered business is making it, but because they are making real change and influencing others to do the same.

It’s a common tendency to encourage people to “bike more, drive less,” but in cities without the necessary infrastructure to do so, making that choice is difficult. Granted, Portland is a city already known for its biking prowess, but with a company like B-line as a big local business player, the impetus for having better bike policies in grows even stronger. Case and point: Portland’s Mayor was invited to speak at this party.

Fewer trucks and vans on the road mean better streets for bikers and pedestrians, as well as less pollution. An increasing number of local businesses committed to using bike delivery shows their full-fledged support of cycling culture. That, in turn, equals less CO2 emissions and happier, healthier lifestyles, which benefits everyone in the urban community.

Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a food + travel writer with a love for coffee and bikes. She is the author of The Culinary Cyclist and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Catch her weekly column, Foodie Underground.