the bikes on exhibit at the gallery.
(Photos © David Haines/BikePortland)
This Saturday, Portland will welcome its first gallery space devoted solely to bicycles when Het Fairwheel Podium has its grand opening.
Contrary to how I described it in a story back in December (it’s not a bike shop!), this new gallery at 600 NW Naito Parkway will house a distinct collection of custom bikes and parts. Its owners describe it as a “permanent gallery dedicated to innovation and art in cycling.”
The gallery is an off-shoot of Arizona-based Fairwheel Bikes. Local racer and marketing consultant Emiliano Jordan works with Fairwheel and the idea for a Portland gallery to display their bikes and parts began as a conversation at the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas last fall.
“That conversation, ” Fairwheel writes on their blog, “which at the time seemed to be just a bit of day dreaming, has now turned into an actual reality for us.”
So, what exactly will you see at Het (Dutch for “The”) Fairwheel Podium? Here’s more from Fairwheel:
“The custom project bikes that we create in house as well as a place to showcase work by custom frame builders and manufacturers who want to think outside the box and create things that are a bit different. It will also be a place for us to exhibit a lot of the high end components that are rare enough in the U.S. that most people never get a chance to see and touch them in the flesh.”
As you can see in the photo below, the gallery currently has about 12 complete bikes on exhibit, several of them from local builders (including the bike Ira Ryan had on display at the recent NAHBS show in Austin).
Jordan realizes the gallery concept is a bit out of the ordinary in the bike world; but it’s par for the course for Fairwheel. “Fairwheel is a company that has trouble defining itself, so the space in Portland is no different.”
Besides their reputation among bike lovers who flock to their website to see images of some of the lightest, most exotic bikes in the world, Fairwheel is a parts distributor for several European and US companies that make boutique components and accessories. Jordan sees the gallery as something of a living catalog for their business:
“We’d like the gallery to help strengthen and develop ties we have with our retail customers. By showcasing what frame builders can accomplish with some of our parts. We hope to both help builders showcase their frames and expose customers and retailers to a group of carefully selected boutique and tuning companies.”
A case in point of how Fairwheel rolls is how they worked with local company Icarus Lights to build an internal battery for a Shimano Di2 (electronic shifting component group) bike from Eugene builder Rob English.
I love to see innovation, whether it’s in product development or the business of selling bikes and parts. Good luck to Het Fairwheel Podium. After a VIP reception tonight, the gallery opens to the public on Saturday (3/5) from 2:00 to 10:00 pm. See HetFairwheelPodium.com for more details.