Support BikePortland

In the shop with Ira Ryan

Posted by on February 9th, 2009 at 10:06 am

Ira Ryan Open Shop-1

Outside Ira’s shop.
-Slideshow below-
(Photos © J. Maus)

On Saturday, Portland bike builder Ira Ryan hosted an “Open Shop” event. Ryan, a former bike messenger who grew up in Iowa, billed the event as a chance to, “visit and see where I work, see some new bikes I have been working on, or just talk about bike stuff.”

Ira works in the basement of Weirs Cyclery in St. Johns. By the time I arrived Saturday night, the place was like a speak-easy in the roaring ’20s — packed to the gills with people sipping drinks and having a great time. In the crowd were a mix of Ira’s friends and fans, racers, industry types and fellow builders (Tony Pereira and Jordan Hufnagel to name two). It was great to see such a healthy turnout.

Story continues below


Ira started up his business just over three years ago and things seem to be going well for him. I asked if the economic doldrums have put a pinch on things and he said he feels good about the upcoming year. (Ira echoed what I’ve heard from several other builders. He won’t know about the health of business until spring/summer when people start thinking about bikes again — or not.) Besides his building skills, one thing Ira thinks has helped him is his association with high-end apparel company Rapha and their Rapha Continental campaign (see Ira’s bio page here).

In a few weeks, Ira will pack up and head to Indianapolis for the fifth annual North American Handmade Bicycle Show.

Check out the slideshow below for a look inside Ira’s shop…

Please support BikePortland.

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

  • steve February 9, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    What did you charge him for the slideshow?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) February 9, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Very funny steve. thanks for that.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • steve February 9, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    My pleasure!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Zaphod February 9, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Bugger I missed an opportunity to drink beers and talk about beautiful steel bikes.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Tommer February 9, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    I heart Ira Ryan Cycles!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • ira ryan February 10, 2009 at 8:57 am

    for the record, i am not able to attend this years show in indy. i wish it could happen but i have too many orders to fill and the cost of the show is too much for me this year. i like to think that events like an open shop night as a more personal showcase of what i build. thanks for dropping by jonathan!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • timtim February 10, 2009 at 9:23 am

    I’ve seen some of Ira’s bikes prepaint and post filing, and I gotta say he builds some real nice steel for your wheels. Sorry I missed it!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Michael M. February 10, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    um … a non-smoking speak-easy in the roaring ’20s?

    I think you mebbe … just mebbe … over-reached a tad on that one!

    You’re entitled, once in a while. 🙂

    Recommended Thumb up 0