Portland is known as Bike City USA for many reasons. One stat that's tough to shake is that almost 6 percent of commutes are done by bicycle. While that may not sound huge, it's more than 10 times the national average. If you live in the Portland area, you know that bikes are a lot more prevalent than anywhere else in the country.
All of those cyclists rely on bike shops to keep them running smoothly -- or to upgrade their steeds with the latest upgrades. The relatively small city of Portland boasts over 70 registered shops, according to the Portland Bureau of Transportation.
The shops range from cozy garage spaces that specialize in repairing commuters to some of the most high-end spaces and successful bike businesses in the country. Here's a round-up of some of our favorites, including some of the lines they carry and any specialties.
River City Bicycles
River City has been around for over 15 years, and now features a shop space of over 15,000 square feet, full of all kinds of eye candy to the cycling enthusiast. The shop was named "Retailer of the Year" by Bicycle Retailer and Industry News in 2010 and is consistently on the short list for the nation's top-ranked shop. Although the lineup of bikes, clothing and components tends towards the higher end -- think $5,000+ bikes and Rapha clothing -- there's gear for the everyday cyclist as well. River City also supports the community through offering public group rides and repair classes, sponsoring teams and being the headline supporter for the Cross Crusades cyclocross series. The shop has seen Portland become the cycling Mecca it is today, and River City has played a role in that transition.
The Vibe: Items are pricey, but the staff is incredibly knowledgeable, helpful and welcoming. The free espresso drinks (please tip!) don't hurt, either.
Featured Brands: Specialized, Cannondale, Cervelo, Scott, Cielo, Waterford, Time
Where: 706 SE MLK Boulevard
Hours: Monday to Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, Noon-5 p.m.
More Info: rivercitybicycles.com
Sellwood Cycle Repair
The name says a lot: Repair is this business' primary function, and the mechanics are all excellent. The shop has evolved -- and recently expanded into a much bigger, posher space with a whole lot more merchandise available. Mixed in with all the fancy new gear, shoppers will still find plenty of consignment items; there's a decidedly old-school flavor to the shop, despite all the fancy carbon bits that are also mixed in. Shop owner Erik Tonkin -- a veritable cyclocross legend who has competed on the world's biggest stages -- remains humbly in the background, and he instills a sense of hard work and service to his staff. That dedication has bred loyalty among customers, and no matter how much the shop grows, the repair stands are always full.
The Vibe: Sellwood Cycle Repair is as down to earth as a bike shop gets, but there's a mix of inexpensive and consignment gear with ultra-fancy race bikes. "Repair" is in the name for a reason.
Featured Brands: Kona is huge here (the Honky Tonk is named for the proprietor). Also: Giant and Foundry
Where: 7953 SE 13th Avenue
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
More Info: sellwoodcycle.com
West End Bikes
The Vibe: West End has a decidedly upscale feel, but the shop is great at sourcing inexpensive, high-quality options as well. West End is a Specialized concept store, which means that brand's line is prominent, but there are plenty of other manufacturers in stock. The hipster/fixie crowd can't seem to get enough of the Cinelli track bikes. The rental fleet includes commuters as well as top-level road and mountain bikes. Maglia Rosa -- featuring some of Portland's top coffee roasters and baristas -- is tucked inside West End, making it an ideal place to grab an espresso before or after your ride.
Featured Brands: Specialized, Wilier, Calfee, Cinelli
Where: 1111 SW Stark Street
Hours: Monday to Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, Noon-5 p.m.
More Info: westendbikespdx.com
It's hard to think of Velo Cult existing anywhere other than Portland. But it did: San Diego was the shop's original home. The shop is part bar -- with local beers on tap, coffee drinks and bike films or races playing on a 100" projection screen; part general hangout space; and, of course, lots of bikes and bike paraphernalia. Classic steel bikes represent the crux of the business, and cycle tourists and randonneurs among the primary customers.
The Vibe: Velo Cult is a big, groovy space, and it's a great spot for grabbing a coffee, sipping a beer and spending some time chatting at the communal tables -- whether you're a bike dork or not.
Featured Brands: Surly, Linus, Public Bikes, Bilenky, Rivendell
Where: 1969 NE 42nd Avenue
Hours: Open every day, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
More Info: velocult.com
Cyclepath has a comprehensive lineup of mountain, road and cyclocross bikes and the shop sponsors several local race and community events. For those who sweat the details and want a custom look, Cyclepath can get components in custom-anodized colors and craft custom decals for frames and wheels. The mechanics are top-flight, and they're among the foremost experts in specialty tasks, such as setting up bombproof tubeless cyclocross wheels. Cyclepath also features a Retul bike fitting system that analyzes a client's pedal stroke via motion capture.
The Vibe: The medium-sized shop is filled to the brim with bike bling and knowledge. Check out the latest cool tech and get expert advice on the perfect bike and build for you.
Featured Brands: Moots, Niner, Yeti, Pivot, Pinarello, Scott, Turner, Salsa, Look
Where: 2436 NE MLK Boulevard |
Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, 1 p.m.-6 p.m.
More Info: cyclepathnw.com
21st Ave Bicycles
Even if you've never visited the shop, you may have seen one of 21st Ave Bicycles' fun, viral online videos. And besides, if you're in Northwest Portland, you should absolutely pop by to check out this extraordinarily welcoming shop that specializes in commuter, touring and road bikes.
The Vibe: The shop has a true neighborhoody feel, and there's even a pinball machine!
Featured Brands: Specialized, Surly, Globe, Salsa, Raleigh, Bianchi
Where: 916 NW 21st Avenue
Hours: Monday to Friday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday Noon- 5 p.m.
More Info: 21stbikes.com
Portland Bicycle Studio
PBS cultivates the exclusive "studio" atmosphere. The shop is very small and all of the bikes are high-end. Owner Molly Cameron is a renowned local cyclocrosser with European race experience, and she has cobbled together a unique assortment of European-flavored bike gear, books and accessories. Parlee is the shop's flagship bike brand and the models are well worth a bike geek's drool.
The Vibe: Shop service is excellent and if you're looking for an unusual frame or custom, high-zoot build, PBS is a good option.
Featured Brands: Parlee, Ridley, Independent Fabrication, Rocky Mountain, Guru
Where: 1420 NW 17th Avenue #588
Hours: Monday to Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
More Info: portlandbicyclestudio.com
Veloce is a traditional-style shop that covers the Hawthorne area of Southeast Portland. In addition to a full range of new bikes, Veloce stocks used, consignment and vintage bikes and frames. Visiting from out of town? Veloce also rents both carbon and aluminum bikes.
The Vibe:The 10-year-old business has the look and feel of an old-world European bike shop. Whether you're looking for a classic wool jersey, high-tech race bike, used bike or service, Veloce has you covered.
Featured Brands: Pinarello, Masi, Jamis, Cinelli, Traitor, Foundry Cycles, All City and Civia
Where: 3202 SE Hawthorne Boulevard
Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sundays: Noon-5 p.m. Closed Tuesdays
More Info: velocebicycles.com
Commuters are Revolver's bread and butter -- if you need a rack, panniers or service for your daily ride, this is an excellent choice. But unlike many commuter-centric shops, the mechanics also are well versed in current race tech and dialing in road, mountain and cyclocross steeds.
The Vibe: Commuters, racers and death metal? They're all thrown together inside Revolver, but it works.
Featured Brands: Redline, Surly, Fuji, Electra, All City, Breezer, Vicious Cycles, Traitor Cycles, Rocky Mountain
Where: 6509 N Interstate
Hours: Monday to Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, Noon - 6 p.m.
More Info: revolverbikes.com
Community Cycling Center
The nonprofit Community Cycling Center's mission is to get more folks onto bikes. Refurbished bikes help would-be cyclists get out on the road for cheap, and all proceeds from the bike shop go towards bicycle education programs for youths and adults. Top mechanics staff the repair stands as well.
The Vibe: The Community Cycling Center is decidedly down home, and the staff eager to get -- or keep -- you up and running on two wheels.
Featured Brands: Used bikes as well as new and used components and gear
Where:1700 NE Alberta Street
Hours: Every day, 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. (closed some holidays)
More Info: communitycyclingcenter.org
One thing that makes Portland a spectacular cycling city is the diversity of shops and their ability to specialize. Clever Cycles' niche is Dutch cargo bikes, commuters, trikes and folding bikes. Oh, and the staff is also launching an outdoor Dutch hot tub rental service, with tubs delivered by bike. Seriously.
The Vibe: The clear emphasis is on the bike as practical transportation, for people of all shapes, sizes and ages -- and that colors everything about Clever Cycles. If you love bikes of all kinds, visit Clever.
Featured Brands: Used bikes as well as new and used components and gear
Where: 900 SE Hawthorne Boulevard
Hours: Monday to Friday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
More Info: clevercycles.com