Elly Blue Publishing merges with Microcosm

Posted by on January 2nd, 2015 at 1:27 pm

Elly Blue

Elly Blue, on the job in 2013.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

One of the power couples of Portland biking has decided to formally join forces professionally, too.

Elly Blue, creator of the Taking the Lane zine about feminism and biking and the author or publisher of several other bike-themed books, announced this week that she’s merged her living-room operation Elly Blue Publishing with Microcosm Publishing, the Portland-based independent publisher founded and managed for years by her partner Joe Biel.

Microcosm, in its 19th year of business, has a staff of 11 and a storefront on North Williams Avenue that’s stocked with lots of great bike-related titles. Among them: Blue’s two books, Everyday Bicycling and Bikenomics, both published by Microcosm. (Bikenomics, Blue notes happily, was Microcosm’s top-grossing title of 2014.)

Biel is also the creator of Aftermass, a documentary film produced by Microcosm about the modern history of bicycle activism in Portland.



Elly Blue Publishing logo (left) and Microcosm logo.

Blue, who worked as a writer and editor here at BikePortland from 2006 to 2011, will become a part-owner and marketing director of Microcosm. She wrote in an email that she’ll also “continue to publish and fully manage my line of feminist bike books (including how-to books, children’s books, and of course science fiction).”

2014 Disaster Relief Trials-86

Microcosm Publishing founder Joe Biel
in 2014.

Here’s Blue’s take on her role in the future of Microcosm:

Microcosm has been putting out bicycle-related stuff since way before it was cool (case in point: the company’s chainwheel heart logo, and Joe’s iconic Evolution and Put the Fun Between Your Legs designs). Obviously, bikes are going to grow as a focus now that I’m bringing my authors and networks to the table. Bikes are the future and Portland’s right in the middle of it.

The merger makes a ton of sense — half the world already thinks that Joe and I are part of the same operation, and we’ve been sharing ideas, energy, and practical efforts since we started dating six years ago, leading to a lot of similarities and connections in our brands, our designs, and how we do business. Now that we’ll be officially working together, the benefits to everyone are already becoming clear.

The merged operation has a 975-title catalog. One of Blue’s continuing projects will be the next incarnation of Taking the Lane: an annual Journal of Bicycle Feminism.

Blue and Biel are two bright lights in Portland’s amazing constellation of biking thinkers, makers and artists. We’ll be eager to see what their joined business operation comes up with next.

Sunday Parkways SE-9-8

Blue (riding) and Biel working on a film project in August 2011.

Update 1/7: Their first order of business is a party. Blue writes: “We’re inviting the world to the Waypost (3120 N Williams) on Tuesday, Jan 27th from 6-8pm for a low key celebration of the Microcosm/EBP merger.”

NOTE: Thanks for sharing and reading our comments. To ensure this is a welcoming and productive space, all comments are manually approved by staff. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for meanness, discrimination or harassment. Comments with expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia will be deleted and authors will be banned.

Leave a Reply

7 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
7 Comment authors
Beth Hamon9wattsjeff bernardsTodd BoulangerJoe Biel Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

Thanks for the write-up, JM! It’s wild thinking about how much (and how little) has changed since I started sending you those cheerful op-eds back in 2006. Really appreciate everything I’ve learned from you and the BikePortland community.


I love this dynamic duo.
Portland is lucky to have ’em!

Joe Biel

Thanks for the rad article and kind words! We’re trying to keep the vision and ideas of Olde Portland alive over here! So much so that we moved across Williams from where our office was ten years ago!

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger

Makes too much sense to me!

Good luck!!

jeff bernards
jeff bernards

strength in numbers, congratulations!


“Blue and Biel are two bright lights in Portland’s amazing constellation of biking thinkers, makers and artists. We’ll be eager to see what their joined business operation comes up with next.”


Beth Hamon

I LOVE both of these small businesses!
Cool, useful stuff being done by smart people!