North Williams Avenue has yet another claim to its title of best bike street in Portland — the Friendly Bike Guest House. I noticed the sign for the new business a few days ago and yesterday I met the owner of the establishment, Chris Frick, to get a look around and learn more.
Chris has owned the big house just north of Shaver for about eight years. The inspiration to turn it into a bike-oriented guest house came to him in 2009. As luck would have it, Chris came upon the Oregon Manifest bike show while walking in the Pearl. He went inside and learned that United Bicycle Institute was moving in just across the street from his house. Being a former real estate broker and self-described “opportunistic entrepreneur,” Chris’s wheels started turning. At about the same time, the house’s current tenants gave notice and destiny for a bike-themed guest house was set.
Indoor parking in the basement.
Bike art on the walls (this is an original illustration by Pete Yahnke).
The Friendly Bike Guest House has only been open for two months, but thanks to referrals on the Internet, it’s already become a popular spot. Chris has all sorts of tales to tell about wayward bike tourers who call him looking for a place to recharge and rest after thousands of miles on the road. “One guy called me from under the west side of the Fremont Bridge,” he recalled, “I was trying explain to him how to get here… the Broadway Bridge was out, so he was going to have to go across the Steel. I ended up just going and picking him and his bike up in my truck.”
He’s had guests from Australia, the U.K., The Netherlands, France, and other places.
In addition to random guests that find him on the Web, Chris is also listed on UBI’s website as a housing option for their bike school students (who get a discount on their stay). Chris says he is also looking to partner with local custom bike builders as a place for their customers to stay. “If you’re getting a custom bike built, you should really come to Portland and take the time to get fit and meet the builder.”
Chris, 41, has lived in the Boise-Eliot neighborhood since he was three years old. He and his family (wife and two kids) ride around the neighborhood, but he’s far from what you’d call a hardcore bike enthusiast. He’s just a community-oriented guy who saw a niche and is doing a heck of a job filling it.
As a fringe benefit to bike riders, the house comes with secure indoor bike parking and a shop area in the basement with a workstand and full complement of bike tools. If you’re traveling with your bike, you’ll find complimentary bike shipping boxes, packing materials, and lots of local bike and transit maps to use. Inside the house, bike-inspired art adorns the walls and you can peruse a guest book full of entries from grateful two-wheeled travelers. From the front room, you can lay down on one of the bunk beds and watch the constant stream of bike traffic go by on Williams.
Next time you roll by, remember to ring your bell.
The guest house features shared and private rooms, private restrooms, laundry service, and a full kitchen. Learn more at FriendlyBikeGuestHouse.com.
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The friendly bike guest house has a trike for its logo.
That is all.
So exciting! I can’t wait to direct bike-friendly visitors to this resource. I hope/assume they have a good collection of bike maps (including Jeff Smith’s new recreational touring maps). Are there any private rooms?
We sure do Jessica. Since this article came out we have expanded into the upper unit and now have three private rooms. Come by sometime for a look see. Thanks for your interest.
Seems like a great idea. I wonder if he had to undergo scrutiny from the neighbors and the city for get this idea started up, it being a ‘guest house’, and all. I guess this is kind of a new concept, but would it be seen as similar to a hostel, or a B&B?
There’s liability too. This operation seems to be more than a hippie crash pad, so liability might be something Frick had to address.
Still a great idea.
We should have these a day’s ride apart all along the left coast!
How timely and how civilized! I wish FGBH all possible success.
Awesome – I remember this house from the Tour de Coops, there used to be a sign in front that said “Hens for Obama”. I always wondered why the previous tenants moved out, and I hope they found a good place. I’m glad to see that this house is keeping of the trend of being eclectic.
I love this idea! I think a culture of hospitality is going to be a big part of making human-powered transport more and more viable in the future. +1 for the guest houses a day apart up the coast (and all over the place, even).
Agreed, I would love to see these pop up around Oregon. It would be cool to set them at points along long-distance touring routes, so you could see the state as you pedal from bike house to bike house. Whoever’s in charge of Oregon tourism should look into this, because that sounds like a dream vacation to me!
Thumbs…UP. Takin’ notes.
This is awesome. If I could ship my bike to a destination guest-house and then arrive later to relax and ride, I’d be all over it. Nicely done.
Definite niche anywhere along the more popular routes in this country.
Ive seen more & more of these type hostels pop up along my tours.
From Barns stocked with “honor” food vending & tools, to simple ground space to tent for the night.
Usually on a donation basis.
The forest service has turned the state park maint. system to “privatized”
charging as much as 29.00 for a primitive campsite, It makes no sense to me to pay so much for a fire ring and pit toilet, especially when you are in late out early.
many of the bike & hike sites are no longer honored.
Huge step backward for bike touring, great opportunity for people like Chris.
Great ideas for hospitality towards bike travelers. I have a vacation rental on the coast that would work perfect. I’ll look into adding secure bike parking and tools.
Are there any websites that focus traveling/touring by bike?
Hey!! Don’t forget about the Hawthorne Hostel, which has been here for years. They give discounts to cycle tourists, and allow people to ship their bikes there. (And they’re cheaper.)
The new place looks awesome and all, but it’s a shame people don’t know about the Hawthorne hostel.
bikeR: Adventure Cycling has a website and forums.
I’ve been watching the bike episodes of Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Oregon Field Guide and came upon this relevant episode:http://www.opb.org/programs/ofg/segments/view/1690 They call it hut-to-hut mountain biking on single track and forest service near Hood River whereby food and cooking supplies are available at small cabins for reservation to members.