Splendid Cycles Big Sale

Repair shop keeps your shoes and shorts in shape

Posted by on May 3rd, 2007 at 11:47 am

A visit to Mountain Soles

Shoes await alteration
in the Mountain Soles shop.
File photo: 4/6/07

Just off the busy cycling routes of Hawthorne Boulevard and Ladd Circle in southeast Portland, modern-day cobbler Matt Menely and his staff at Mountain Soles are hard at work keeping cyclist’s expensive gear in tip-top shape.

At first glance, the shop may not seem like it has anything to do with bicycles. There are no bike stands, or even bike parts anywhere. Instead of pedal wrenches and truing stands, this shop works its magic with high-tech adhesives and sewing machines.

For cyclists in the know — like U.S. Cyclocross team member Erik Tonkin — the shop has become a life saver. Racers and commuters alike turn to Matt and his two trusty employees to help them repair everything from ripped spandex shorts to broken buckles on expensive Italian shoes; busted Burley trailer snaps and tears in panniers and messenger bags.

A visit to Mountain Soles

Matt Menely, owner
of Mountain Soles.
File photo: 4/6/07

Back in 2002, Menely moved the shop from a garage in Sellwood to its current location on SE 12th. Most of the shop’s business comes from rock and mountain climbing gear, but Menely says they get about six pieces of bike gear in the shop every week,

“It’s really a year-round thing, when it starts raining in the fall, all the commuters need help with their jackets and rain gear, in the summer we get a lot of shorts from racers, and during cross season we’re especially busy with shoe repairs…cross racers are very hard on their shoes.”

Menely also has an expertise in orthopedic shoe alterations. Back in 2001, bike fit specialist and bio-mechanics expert Michael Sylvester asked if he could help with one of his clients. Sylvester had a client with unequal leg lengths and wondered if Menely could re-sole one of her shoes to balance out her pedal stroke.

Menely adapted these shoes for a customer who competes in Ironman Triathlons. They have a lift of 26mm.
Photo: Matt Menely

Now, Menely says he does about 12-18 orthopedic shoe alterations every year.

A visit to Mountain Soles

File photo: 4/6/07

Menely’s business has picked up in recent months after he sent out a flyer to local shops. He also finds that many clothing manufacturer’s warranties don’t cover everything,

“A lot of people spend good money on a jacket or a jersey and are shocked when the manufacturer won’t replace it for them. They’ll come in here pretty mad and they’re happy to know we can help.”

With some chamois-lined, spandex shorts costing well over $200 bucks, more folks are opting to spend $10-12 bucks on an expert repair. You might try and do it yourself, but when the patch needs to go near your rear, you want it to be as smooth as possible.

A visit to Mountain Soles

Employee Corey Cowles.
File photo: 4/6/07

As a dedicated bike commuter, employee Corey Cowles knows how important it is to be comfortable. During my visit, she demonstrated how she patches a pair of spandex shorts.

First, she measures the hole and cuts out a piece of spandex from a pair of shorts that looks like it belonged to Edward Scissorhands. Then, she takes the customer’s shorts and the patch to the sewing machine and sews them together with a nice, tight, “jump-stitch”. The result is a smoothly patched pair of shorts with a new lease on life.

A visit to Mountain Soles

Corey Cowles brings spandex back to life.
File photo: 4/6/07
A visit to Mountain Soles

Good as new.
File photo: 4/6/07

When he’s not running the shop, Menely likes to go climbing with his wife Sarah and three year-old son Miles. A third-generation Portlander, he’s also active with bike issues in Milwaukie.

Next time your gear is in need of some TLC, stop by and let Mountain Soles get you back up and running.

A visit to Mountain Soles

File photo: 4/6/07
    Mountain Soles
    1623 SE 12th (1.5 blocks S. of Hawthorne)
    (503) 236-0785
    11am-6pm Tuesday – Friday
    *You can also drop-off your repairs at various REI stores and other retailers throughout Portland.

[For more photos of my visit, check out the Mountain Soles photo gallery.]

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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andy
Guest
andy

Thanks for the tip, Jonathan! I’ve got a pair of shoes in need of a little work; it’s nice to know I don’t have to ditch ’em just because a couple of the seams have come undone after three years of riding.

pedalling pedant
Guest
pedalling pedant

“…this shop works it’s magic…”

Again with the apostrophe, Jonathan! Sheesh! If you cannot substitute “it is” for “it’s” use “its” instead. It’s not bicycle science.

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

Yo PP,

We all get what Jonathan’s saying. Lighten up…this isn’t school here. We all make a mistake now and then, right?

Wyatt
Guest
Wyatt

perfekt naemsake peddant.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

Wow, nice to know. Brown’s Camp and Gale’s Creek have been wreaking havoc on my Lycra inventory lately!

rouleur
Guest
rouleur

Not sure what’s up with all the off-topic comments and personal nitwitting as of late… This is a blog, not a newspaper or book that gets proofread a couple times before going to press. At the pace that Jonathan is posting new articles (day-in and day-out), I am actually surprised he can keep up the high standard of writing we all have come to expect from him. I gladly take the occasional typo (sp?) with it. Keep it up, Jonathan!

Mark P
Guest

I can vouch to their work on climbing shoes! This place is great!

Disco D
Guest
Disco D

What a timely article. I have a pair of Nema MTB shorts that are in dire need of some TLC (after I was, you guess it, hit by a car). I wonder how much extra it would cost since they are the double layer MTB style?

Matt Picio
Guest

“This is a blog, not a newspaper or book that gets proofread a couple times before going to press”

Actually, I find that remark rather dismissive. Jonathan wrote for the Oregonian’s website, and I find his writing and reporting genrally to be on par or exceeding that of Portland’s other journalists. bikeportland.org isn’t just a blog, it’s a major source of news for the cycling community. God knows the big O and the Tribune aren’t going to devote the same sort of resources. Bikeportland may have a much smaller budget and manpower (which I take to be the actual meaning behind your post), but it’s demonstrably the equal of many larger, well-heeled publications, both print and electronic.

And to be honest, the editing of the major publications today sucks – grammar and spelling that would dismay any high school English teacher routinely sneak by into final copy. Broadcasters are worse – look at CNN.com and KGW.com for two glaring examples.

People get on the case of the so-called “grammar and spelling Nazis” (the watering down of the term “Nazi” through over- and mis-applied use is a separate issue), but the words we use and the meanings attached to them *do* have importance. In the case of context-sensitive spellings like “its” and “it’s” and “to”, “too”, and “two”, the proper spelling and use shows a level of professionalism and the willingness to communicate effectively. Many people don’t care, and that’s their prerogative. If you want to be taken seriously by the establishment and academia, however, then proper use and spelling of words is vital.

It would be kinder, pedant, if you would email people privately about the issue rather than lambasting them in public commentary.

I agree with rouleur on one important point – you’re doing a fantastic job, Jonathan, and the standard of writing and research that you’ve established on this site have set the bar pretty high for anyone who wishes to follow in your shoes (or is it cleats?). Bikeportland.org was (and is) well-deserving of its Alice B. award. Keep up the great work!

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

Keeping things out of the landfills AND keeping money in the local economy; what could be better than that??

Maybe having a beer while you watch them work.

Jonathan Maus/BikePortland
Guest

Thanks for the nice comments (blushing),

I’d like to keep things on the topic of Mountain Soles and their great work…but a quick word about grammar and such.

I take it very seriously and I have several unofficial proofreaders. I love having extra sets of eyes and you’ll notice that when someone points out a typo I drop everything I’m doing to correct it.

that being said, I would prefer they come to me privately so as not to clutter the comments.

thanks

amanda
Guest
amanda

I think everyone who posts nitpicks about grammar or other trivial things owes Jonathan $1 per nit.

Matt Picio
Guest

tonyt (#10) – a Bike Route Rye, from down the street at Lucky Lab, right?

This is a way cool story – I need to go down and get my bike shoes orthopedically modified.

Well, and talk to Matt Menely about Milwaukie bike stuff.

Matt M
Guest

Hi Folks!
First off I want to thank Jonathan for a great profile of my shop and for working hard to keep everyone informed on local issues.

Andy & Disco D, bring in your items and we’ll see what we can do for you.

We don’t usually perform repairs on the spot. You have to get in line behind other folks that are here first. Our turn around time normally runs about 1 1/2 weeks, but we are a little slow right now so we might be a bit faster.
Thanks,
Matt M
Mountain Soles

Kronda
Guest

Heh heh…slow means fast. Funny. 🙂 I have not yet taken in a bike related repair, but they did a great job on my tent zipper (if only I’d taken it in BEFORE the trip to Crater Lake with the 10 zillion mosquitoes…). I never even thought of repairing bike shorts, so it’s great to know that’s an option. Hopefully I’ll get to ride enough this summer to actually need that!

pedalling pedant
Guest
pedalling pedant

Point made. I’ll do my proofreading in private from now on.

The pedalling pedant only pays attention to excellent blogs, by the way. I think Jonathan rocks (by the way, readers, there’s one o and two a’s in his name! Get it right – he deserves it.) and he should keep up the great work.

(Real name withheld to protect my life)

Matt M
Guest

Yeah “slow means fast,” that does sound funny. What I mean to say is that we don’t have alot of repairs in the shop right now (it is “slow” in terms of customer traffic) so we can probably get your repairs done faster.
Thanks,
Matt

David Feldman
Guest
David Feldman

Good on ’em, hope they stay in business.
Many of us get attached to pieces of gear that have a funny way of being discontinued just after they wear out.
I wonder if they can replace Velcro straps on shoes?

Matt M
Guest

We’ve been in business since 1979, in this location since 2002, and under my ownership since 1999.

Yes, we can replace velcro on your shoes, we do it all the time.
Thanks,
Matt

Donald
Guest
Donald

These guys fixed my Burley trailer canopy today. Ahhhhhh….that’s about a year overdue.

Great shop! Bring cash…

Matt M
Guest

Donald,
Thanks for comming in today. We have a $30 min. for credit/debit due to the high fees from the CC companies. For anything less than $30, cash or check is best.

Curt Dewees
Guest
Curt Dewees

I\’ve had Mountain Soles re-do the soles of my Birkenstocks to where they feel bran-new; they\’ve replaced blown seams and worn-out patches on my high-end bike shorts and given me many more miles of excellent use out of them; and they completely rebuilt/repaired a very nice bicycle backpack that was ruined (temporarily) as a result of my horrific bike crash back in April.

Once again, I highly recommend the fine work and craftsmanship you\’ll get from Mountain Soles, and their prices are very reasonable, considering the quality of work that they do!

markld
Guest
markld

Matt, can you resole Vasque hiking boots? Bought a pair way back in \’91 with stitched soles just so I could get them repaired and keep\’em on the trail. After racking up tons of fun miles, it\’s that time. Since I\’m in Eugene, maybe I could ship up and back too?
Cheers!

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

Cool, I need my super-narrow Vittoria shoes stretched to fit my big flat Portuguese feet.

Matt M
Guest

Markld,

Yes, we can probably resole your Vasque boots. Drop me a digital picture so I can see what they look like. We do mail order on a daily basis via our web site, http://www.mountainsoles.com
Thanks,
Matt

Matt M
Guest

SKiDmark,
We might be able to help you with the stretching. It depends on if they are leather or synthetic (like Lorica). Leather is much easier to stretch than most synthetics.

Thanks,
Matt

Jerry Ci
Guest
Jerry Ci

—————————–
I happened to read this years later, but I’m amazed that no one picked up on Pedaling Pedant’s mistake. Pedaling Pedant is 100% wrong on his nitpicking issue. “It’s” is the correct contraction for “it is” or “it has”. The possessive is NOT “It’s”, but rather “Its”. Not only is “Pedant” rude anal-retentive, and arrogant, but he is ignorant as well.

On another note, the definition of pedant from Dictionary.com:
1. a person who makes an excessive or inappropriate display of learning.
2. a person who overemphasizes rules or minor details.
3. a person who adheres rigidly to book knowledge without regard to common sense.
From Wikipedia:
1. a person who makes an ostentatious and arrogant show of learning.