Becky Jo’s Carfree Life: Where to buy a bike and get it ready for fun season

Evansville, Indiana Target’s bike wall

Bike sales are through the roof — in Portland and across the country. Isn’t that great? Only downside is basic bikes can be hard to come by. And then there’s the need for repairs and maintenance.

An old mom-group friend posted this photo of the bike wall in an Evansville, Indiana Target. That’s pretty amazing. There was recently even a BikePortland Forums post asking about where to buy right now. I also just started following Portland Bicycle Emporium on Instagram. The owner of that shop is pulling 12-plus hour days and can’t keep low-priced, starter bikes in stock (his posts crack me up, so worth a follow).

It’s sort of weird but I’m suddenly a veteran now in comparison to all the new cyclists. JK. I still have no idea what I’m doing, so I’m going to ask you:

Where have you seen a good stock of bikes? Where do you suggest new cyclists go? I know BikePortland has a great running list of who’s open, but do you have more pointers for the families and people out there looking for bikes?

With vehicle traffic levels already inching back up, I’d hate to lose a window of opportunity to get more humans on bikes.


bike spring cleaning; Photo by Becky Jo

On the flip side, more people are pulling their bikes out of the garage. And some of these bikes need some love. Kenton Cycle, my preferred local bike shop, has tune-ups available but is booked about two weeks out. That’s really not too bad, but I don’t need a tune-up and would prefer to leave those slots open for people who really need them.

What’s your spring cleaning and road-ready checklist? For the new people, what are some hot tips we shouldn’t forget to check? If few more people could do basic things like pump-up tires and apply some chain lube, they could get rolling faster and start having more fun.

And what about fun spring accessories?

I’m so happy to be shedding all my wool layers and (mostly) hanging up my wet-weather gear, I’m ready to get my bike more spring/summer outfitted. I’m thinking front baskets for me and my girls, maybe with some of these fun reflective flowers. Do I need to worry about baskets putting pressure on my break or gear cables? I have drop bars; should I invest in a front rack instead? I know, I know, by the time I’m done, the stuff on my bike will weigh more than my bike.

Pedalpalooza 2020 pennant.

I ordered my Pedalpalooza pennant, but there’s also a print-your-own Team Bike Fun option if you want to summer-fy your bike. I’m thinking I need to stencil out an embroidery patch on a denim jacket or maybe one of my saddlebags. What do you think?

As always, thank you so much for hanging out with me here.

— Becky Jo, @BeckyJoPDX
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