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Biketown e-bikes are here as service area expands into North and East Portland

Call it Biketown 2.0. There are more bikes in more places and they're all electric assist.

PORTLAND, Oregon — Biketown e-bikes have officially arrived in Portland and the popular bike-sharing program is expanding its footprint to greater areas of North and East Portland.   

On Wednesday, the Portland Bureau of Transportation announced a new partnership with rideshare company Lyft that will extend Biketown another five years but with an exciting new feature — electric assist.

I got a chance to take one of Biketown's new electric assist bikes for a ride on the recently opened North Greeley Avenue multi-use-path.

The electric assist feature is a definite plus that can help you get up some of Portland's steepest hills without breaking a sweat. It doesn't do all the work for you of course, you still have to pedal. 

Credit: PBOT
The expanded Biketown coverage area includes greater areas of North and East Portland.

But PBOT thinks the new feature will get more people out of their cars and into the saddle.The new electric assist bikes will replace the original fleet and if history is any indication they'll be popular. 

The initial Biketown program started 4 years ago. In year one more than 75,000 rides covered 602,000 miles.

Now PBOT is expanding coverage into more of North and East Portland, with the eventual goal of serving more than 40 square miles in Portland. The agency plans to expand the fleet to 3,000 e-assist bikes by 2024.

Credit: PBOT

There's also a new partnership with Lyft. Just open your Lyft or Biketown app, find a bike, and off you go. More info on that here from PBOT.

Riders will have their choice between two payment options: 

- Pay-as-you-go: $1 to unlock plus $.20 per minute 

- Annual membership: $99 annually plus $.10 per minute

Biketown also has a reduced-fare assistance program for riders who qualify.

Compared to the original bikes, I noticed the electric assist bikes have brighter reflective, LED lights, front and back. The bikes themselves are very sturdy and weigh about 75 pounds.

For convenience, a basket and a bungee cord has been added for whatever you need to take along.

Chris McGinness is a meteorologist and transportation reporter for KGW. Got a story idea or a great photo you want to share? Email him at cmcginness@kgw.com or reach out on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram

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