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Shop Taking in Old Bikes for New Ones

Published August 20, 2009

PORTLAND, OR (BRAIN)—Oregon retailer Joe Bike has just launched a program modeled after the “Cash for Clunkers” federal stimulus program, whereby consumers could bring their old but fixable bike into the shop and receive $50 off any new bike priced under $1,000 or $100 off a new cargo-hauling utility bicycle from Mundo, Boxbike, Joe Bike or a complete Xtracycle build.

Old clunker bikes are being donated to the Community Cycling Center, a local nonprofit.

“It came up as kind of a joke,” said Joe Doebele, owner of Joe Bike, which opened in Portland last November and sells mostly utility, cargo, commuter and city bikes. “My shop manager and I were talking about Cash for Clunkers and thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be better to get people out of debt and car payments and onto bikes?’ We could at least do bikes for bikes.”

But after finding out the American Lung Association (ALA) had a car donation program set up, Doebele contacted the ALA to work out a deal and expand the program to include cars.

Consumers who donate their car to the American Lung Association and bring the tax-deductible receipt into the shop get a discount off any bike in stock or any bike that the shop could order or build.

Joe Bike also partnered with zipcar on the program to give consumers who donate their car a unique Zip Car code, which gets them $150 in free driving credits and $25 annual membership renewal fee for life.

So far, Doebele said the program has gotten a lot of media buzz, but only a couple of consumers have traded in their clunker bikes for new rides.

“The reason is not enough people know about it yet,” he said on Wednesday. “We’re running our first ad in the local paper today.”

Doebele expects his program to be popular and has stocked up on bikes to have enough to meet the anticipated demand. He said the promotion was originally set to go through the end of this month, but he might extend it though September if it works and is successful.

–Lynette Carpiet

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