Posted by Michael Andersen (News Editor) on November 7th, 2013 at 10:06 am
makers at the United Bicycle Institute Wednesday.
(Photo by M. Andersen/BikePortland)
(Jonathan Maus contributed to this story.)
Portland is nationally known as the city with the highest number of bike riders. But when it comes to making bikes, our reputation is about quality, not quantity. We’re known for custom, handcrafted bikes, but not for producing them in large numbers. The city’s mature cluster of bike makers could change that if they teamed up, representatives of the local industry’s small businesses agreed at a roundtable discussion led by U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer on Wednesday.
The event was convened by Rep. Blumenauer, who said he’d “dedicated my life” to making biking a big part of the city and would happily look for ways to help the industry itself become “the next part of the Oregon identity” if they can offer a clear list of ideas within the next few months. The event was a more focused follow-up to a visit to the same location by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce in September.
“A lot of folks at this table are at the point where we’ve scraped and saved and built this from the ground and now we’re getting to the point where we need to scale up.”
— Ira Ryan, Breadwinner Cycles
“A lot of folks at this table are at the point where we’ve scraped and saved and built this from the ground and now we’re getting to the point where we need to scale up,” said Ira Ryan of Breadwinner Cycles, who earlier this year teamed up with competitor Tony Periera with a goal to create “Portland’s flagship bicycle company.”
Using an anlogy he said he’d heard from Natalie Ramsland of Sweetpea Bicycles, which builds custom-fit bike frames, Phillip Ross of cargo bike maker Metrofiets said Portland has the opportunity to be just as identified with quality bike manufacturing as Maine is with quality lobsters.
“The milk industry had something like that,” said Jude Kirstein of Sugar Wheel Works, which hand-builds custom wheels. “The beef industry had something like that. Where’s our ‘Got Bike?’ [campaign]”