Guest article: Bikes are ‘King’ at new farmer’s market

Dave McCabe

[This guest article was written by Dave McCabe. Dave is a resident of the Alberta Arts neighborhood and is a regular bike commuter into downtown. A relative newcomer to getting around by bike, he’s current taking repair classes at the Community Cycling Center.

McCabe is also editor of American Scooterist, a magazine of the Vespa Club of America and a frequent contributor to scooter magazines around the world.]

People on bikes have flocked to
the new King Neighborhood
Farmers Market.
(Photos: Dave McCabe)

While Saturday was Bike Day at the PSU Farmer’s Market, a biking phenomenon of its own quietly unfolded the next day at the new market in the King Neighborhood.

The King Farmer’s Market is the fifth one organized by the longtime non-profit, Portland Farmer’s Market (founded in 1992). This particular market is put on in collaboration with the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods (whose office is conveniently right next to the market). It is one block south of NE Alberta Street on 7th and Wygant in the King Elementary School parking lot.

There must have been some serious pent up demand because, even though it started without too much fanfare on May 3rd, in the past few weeks it has quickly blossomed into a crowded and thriving event.

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For bicycle enthusiasts one of the most exciting aspects of this particular farmer’s market is the huge number of bicycles that show up for the local food and produce. It seemed as if very few people actually arrived on cars.

New, temporary racks have been
brought in to deal with demand.

When my family arrived in the morning around 11:00 (the market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) we had serious trouble finding a place to lock up our bikes. Eventually we settled on a special rented bike rack from BikeRacker that was brought in specifically to meet the bike parking demand. Every other possible nearby fence and pole was spoken for.

We weren’t the only ones who noticed the surprising concentration of bicycles. Last week a local bike enthusiast and mechanic saw the same thing. After locking up our bikes I noticed that nearby (comfortably situated under a nice shady tree of course!) there was a person with a folding Park bike stand and small set of tools.

A friendly mechanic seizes on the opportunity to do free tune-ups and pass out his business cards.

I went up to say hello and see what was up. I met the friendly mechanic, Mark. He said that, after visiting the market last week and seeing the shear number of bicycles, there was an opportunity. Like an entrepreneurial lemonade-selling kid capitalizing on a hot day, he’d take advantage of the unusual bike concentration.

Mark offered free inspections, including chain lubes and tire pressure checks just for the chance to look over bikes and give out his contact info for possible future maintenance work to his neighbors. While we were shopping, a number of people got their bikes hoisted into his stand for a quick looking over.

It was a cool service and a nice addition to a surprisingly bike-friendly shopping trip.

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, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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14 years ago

Yup, this market was long overdue and I was thrilled to see those blue racks the second week. I’m sure they could rent twice the capacity and have them fill up. I just make it a practice to get there right at 10 for good parking and sugar snap peas (my addiction).

14 years ago

THis is shaping up to be a great market. At about 9:40 every Sunday the market bike traffic starts going by our house (we live 12 blocks away). families with trailers, couples of all ages kids on little bikes and parents on xtracycles, tandems, bakfiets of many varieties… you name it. I have not made a visit yet without seeing more than one cargo bike parked with the throngs.

This is an ideal location for a market with plenty of shady trees for lounging after you shop on a lazy sunday, while you eat some fresh berries and the kids play at the school play ground. I love my ‘hood!!

14 years ago

This is now our primary market. Superb vendors and ideal venue. Plus having it on Sunday gives weekend flexibility if a market trip is on the agenda. And a market trip is always on the agenda… especially during blueberry season. :^)

JJ Ark
JJ Ark
14 years ago

Interesting…I used to hang out with Dave many moons ago when I rode Vespas. I am very surprised he has to take any sort of classes, as he was a pretty dang good vespa mechanic, and most 2 stroke engines are more complicated than a bicycle. Especially if you are tuning a kitted 210cc rally engine with a Sito Plus exhaust.

Its good to see the 2stokers getting more involved in bike culture, if this at all a portend. They could bring an interesting culture as well as a wealth of knowledge. Most of them have had to get used to working on their own rides, so the DIY shops will do well.

Very interesting.

14 years ago

Glad to see this post – not only because bikes and the King farmer’s market are a natural fit, but also to see an article by an old friend. We were housemates in that neighborhood back in 1996. Thanks, Dave!

Joe Rowe
Joe Rowe
14 years ago


When: Sundays 10AM-2PM

Where: NE 7th and Wygant ( Just South of Alberta )

Why: Cheap organic and non organic produce