A new shop, and a new energy for triathlon in Portland

Inside the opening night party for Custom Bicycles of Portland.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Last night I dropped in on the opening night party for Custom Bicycles of Portland, a new bike shop and fitting studio on NW 23rd Street (see my previous coverage of the shop here).

Opening night at Custom Bicycles of Portland-13

Bike fit specialist and coach
Mark Kendall (L) and owner Adam

Owner Adam Reiser, his wife Traci Reiser, the shop’s general manager Peter Julia (who’s from Colorado Springs and came to Portland with Reiser just for this job), and their professional fitter and coach Mark Kendall hosted a healthy crowd that seemed eager to learn more about their services and about the Canadian-made Guru bicycles (the only brand the shop sells).

The shop is unique. It only takes a few steps into the hallway-like entryway before you realize that this isn’t like any other shop in Portland (or the nation?). It’s sort of like couture fashion. You walk in, try everything on for size, tell them exactly what you want, get fitted, then place your order. Then, when it shows up in 4-6 weeks, you’ve got something of extremely high quality that is ready for use in the sport of bike racing’s equivalent to the red carpet — the race course.

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I spoke to Reiser at length about the current economy and about the potential future of the sport of triathlon in Portland. It struck me that, thankfully, Reiser is like many people who come to Portland to fulfill their bike dreams. He didn’t come here just to sell bikes. He wants to create something and become a part of the community that inspired him to move here in the first place.

Opening night at Custom Bicycles of Portland-6 Opening night at Custom Bicycles of Portland-3 Opening night at Custom Bicycles of Portland-4

Reiser is obviously aware that this is a daunting time to start a new business endeavor, especially one that caters to the high-end and only sells high-performance machines. He said he really won’t know if they’ll sink or swim until March, when the season picks up. “We’re small and tight enough to weather the storm, but we’ll see in March how things go.”

Opening night at Custom Bicycles of Portland-14

Peter Julia moved to Portland from
Colorado to be the shop’s GM.

One of the factors driving Reiser’s optimism (besides his love of bikes) is what he thinks is the “undiscovered” potential for triathlon in the Portland region. He’s very excited about the possibility of Portland hosting an Ironman event in 2010. Reiser says the top brass at the Ironman organization are already keen to the idea and now it’s just up to the City of Portland to lend their support (I’ll have more on this next week).

Next time you’re in the neighborhood, or if you’re an aspiring or already enthused roadie or tri-geek, you should definitely drop in and give this shop a look. More photos from last night’s opening can be seen here.

— Custom Bicycles of Portland is online at CBOPDX.com.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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15 years ago

Great idea, super excited for the tri enthusiasm. I’m a tourer, I know how important fit is, and come spring i’ll be looking for a bike to start my first tri season. But! Too bad $2950 is considerably more than a typical $1000-2000 entry level budget for tri-bike – not to mention the tried’n’true option of slapping slicks on your garage hybrid – this is pdx after all…

15 years ago

My GF has a Guru that she purchased many years ago at a somewhat similar shop in NC. She has been very pleased with it and uses it for commuting in addition to tris. If you’re looking for a middle of the road racing bike these are a great choice. Glad to see them being offered in this type of shop here in Portland.

Kevin Saunders - KGS Bikes

Great shots of the grand opening! These kinds of studios are not easy to pull off but they serve the community well with tremendous expertise and great service.

Have a great year.