Portland’s local bike culture and retail landscape has taken a few more hits.
The last decade has brought with it a sea change in Portland bicycle culture. The new decade looks to continue the trend as three beloved small businesses have decided to call it quits: Rivelo, Breadwinner Cafe, and Norther Cycles.
Rivelo was a small, niche shop located just off the Springwater Corridor near OMSI that specialized in Rivendell bikes. In addition to a well-curated selection of parts and accessories, the shop was known for its collection of Bob Dylan records and a love of riding slow. Rivelo opened in 2015 and shop owner John Bennett says he’ll play his last record at the end of this month. Bennett says he’ll miss running the shop and plans to spend his post-bike shop life as an AirBnB host. The shop’s Instagram account will live on.
Norther Cycles owner Starmichael Bowman has also decided to throw in the towel. Bowman is a former co-owner of Kenton Cycle Repair who opened his doors on North Albina and Killingsworth in 2015. After over ten years in the local bike scene, Bowman said via Instagram last week, “I’m giving up on bikes, maybe forever, maybe not we’ll see how I feel way down the line.”
Norther was known for handmade randonneuring bikes and all the accessories only a true rando lover could appreciate (in February 2017 Path Less Pedaled paid a visit and called it “randonneuring paradise”). The shop was a collaboration between Bowman and bike maker Mark Simmons of Belladonna Cycles. It had a large shop space behind the retail store where Star and Mark could make nearly anything. Portland will miss their custom builds, creativity and expertise.
You can wish them well (and help them clear out any remaining inventory at huge savings) at a farewell party this Saturday (January 4th).
The closing of Breadwinner Cafe is a half-goodbye. Breadwinner Cycles — the custom bike business owned by Tony Pereira and Ira Ryan — is alive and well. Tony and Ira joined forces to launch Breadwinner in 2013. Four years later they moved into a shop and office space on North Williams at Page Street. The café opened in December 2017. Its last day will be Sunday, January 5th.
“We thought locating a bike-centric cafe on Williams would be a slam dunk, but it turns out that running a little restaurant is a lot more complicated than we figured,” Tony shared with me via email last week. “After two years of slow growth and despite a strong, small community that developed around it, the cafe has not brought in enough money to cover its costs.”
Tony added that closing the cafe will allow he and the rest of the Breadwinner crew to focus on making bikes and building custom wheels — something they do a lot more of since their purchase of Sugar Wheel Works in March 2019.
These are the last three closures in what was a bruising year for Portland’s vaunted bicycling ecosystem. 2019 saw the closure of A Better Cycle, Western Bikeworks’ Pearl District location, United Bicycle Institute, and Cyclone Bicycle Supply.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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