Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on April 14th, 2011 at 2:05 pm
Anyone who has ridden regularly with a group or club knows the importance of a great, pre-ride meeting spot. For Portland Velo, a large cycling club based west of Forest Park, their "home base" since 2006 has been Longbottom Coffeehouse in Hillsboro. Over the years, Longbottom has become not just one of Portland Velo's sponsors, but a haven for folks looking for a great place to get caffeinated before hitting the many miles of rural roads nearby.
Unfortunately, members of Portland Velo recently found out that the owner of Longbottom isn't exactly thrilled about all the attention from the biking crowd. According to one club member, a sign has been posted on the front entrance that makes it clear where Longbottom stands...
That sign doesn't mince words. The groups of riders that frequent Longbottom — which can get as big as 100 people according to a commenter below — has clearly become an annoyance to owner Michael Baccellieri.
According to one Portland Velo member we heard from, "Apparently 'the cyclists' have become a problem."
Baccellieri reportedly discussed the issue with leaders of Portland Velo earlier this week and he told them they are not considered "regulars" and that it was complaints from those he does consider regulars that prompted the sign.
We've got a call into Baccellieri to learn more about what prompted these new rules — UPDATE: Read Baccellieri's response below.
Portland Velo director Kevin Rhea issued an email to members this morning calling for calm and reminding everyone to respect the rules. For the time being, the club plans to continue to meet at Longbottom, although a search for a new "home base" is underway.
Does your club/riding group have a meet-up location? If so, have you run into similar issues?
Reader Tomas Q. thinks this would have gone a lot smoother if the owner would have used different language in the poster...
I just had a chat with the owner, Michael Baccellieri. Below are some of his comments:
What spurred these new rules?
"The last 2-3 weeks I've been getting barraged by non-cyclist customers that they are not coming in on the weekends anymore because of what's taking place with the cyclists. I talked with my managers and they concurred."
Some people say you have unfairly singled out "cyclists." Is that fair?
"It's not grandmothers that are doign this stuff. It's people wearing tights, wearing cleats, parking in the front and being obnoxious... It's not Intel engineers, these are cyclists. Back in the '50s and '60s my parents immigrated here from Italy. When I was a kid, everyone thought I was part of the "Cosa Nostra" crime family... The Mafia happened to be Italian so it gives us all a bad name... Thing is, this may be a handful of cyclists, but they're cyclists."
We want to accomodate everyone, but I draw the line when people are abusing property or other people. I don't give a shit if they're dropping hundreds of dollars.
I want the cyclists to continue to come, but we need people to respect the property, parking and the other customers, period. That's all.
Some people have called to say they are offended. To them, I say sorry you have thin skin. Did you do this stuff? I ask. If not, than you shouldn't be offended... It's like the cyclists that ride 3-4 abreast and don't use the bike lanes — and they wonder why people are pissed off on the roads... It's sad, they're wrecking it for everyone."
Are there specific situations where people who ride bikes abused your property or other customers?
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"... Some are obnoxious, there will be a line up of cars and they'll put there bikes out in the parking lot and then a group of them will be on their bicycles and they will just kind of plug up the whole entrance of the parking area... People can't get in or come out! People ask them to move and they just ignore them... They'll loiter around both entrance ways and just plug the doors. People are trying to get in and they just refuse to move. It's obnoxious... Sometimes they can be very short or curt about ordering and demanding things... Then if they do come in, in a group of 10 or 20, they'll grab the tables, put them all together and they're very loud... The thing that really turns my prop, is that I've got artwork on my floor that I've had to repaint. We tell them to take off their cleats to not damage the floors and they just refuse to do it."
"You can't be a successful, self-employed businessman without loving people. I love those guys, i just don't like people that are being mean or obnoxious, it doesn't matter who it is."