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).

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.

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.”

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

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