Podcast: Sellwood Cycle Repair Owner Erik Tonkin

In this episode we hear from Erik Tonkin, the owner of Sellwood Cycle Repair who celebrates his 30th anniversary with the shop this year.

Tonkin at a cyclocross race in October 2007.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

I first wanted to have Erik on the show as part of our Shop Talk series, but then realized there was much more to talk about than just running a business. In this interview, you’ll learn how he got his start in the local bike industry, why he seriously considered running for a seat on Portland City Council in 2015, and you’ll even hear him say there’s a possibility he might run again in the future. We also talked about his advocacy work pushing for more trail access at River View, helping the City of Portland write new code to prevent fencing of stolen bikes, and working to find new bike race venues.

If you love bike racing, listen closely for the big news about how Erik has been working with Commissioner Carmen Rubio’s office and the Portland Parks & Recreation Bureau to bring his Bridge City CX event to Waterfront Park in downtown Portland. I also asked Erik for his thoughts on the exciting success of two-time US National Cyclocross Champion Clara Honsinger, a former Sellwood Cycle team racer and employee who’s currently the best cyclocross racer in the U.S. and among the best in the world. Erik also shares his views on how e-bikes might play a major role in the future of his business.


(Tonkin through the years. Click for captions. All images by Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

This episode was recorded on December 21st at Sellwood Cycle Repair. A full transcript will be available by January 7th.

This podcast is a production of Pedaltown Media Inc., and is made possible by listeners like you. If you’re not a subscriber yet, please become one today. You can listen to more episodes and find out how to subscribe to our podcast here.

Links from the episode:
Erik Tonkin: A personal perspective on riding River View (BikePortland, 03/12/2015)
Sellwood Cycle Owner Mulls City Council Run Against Steve Novick (Willamette Week, 06/02/2015)
Portland embraces inaugural Bridge City CX event (BikePortland, 11/25/2019)
Clara Honsinger is currently the best cyclocross rider from the United States (CyclingTips, (01/02/2022)

Our theme music is by Kevin Hartnell. Thanks for listening!

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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2 years ago

Dirty Sellwood!

2 years ago

Sellwood Cycle Repair has gotten my business since their start-up in a basement shop on Tacoma St. Eric and his crew have provided good work and a welcoming shop, I sent so much work there Eric was able to buy a boat (I joke)

2 years ago

Really enjoyed this. You said you could go on for hours, talking about bikes. I’d listen to that!

1 year ago

I loved cycling past the Tonkin car dealership in the early 2000s with its sidewalk A board sign advertising “bike mechanic on duty”.
Tonkin also brought in the first modern retail e-bike then to Portland: Giant LaFree with internal rear hub. (They served our EPA funded mobility pilot for almost ten years along with car sharing and BikeLink lockers. These lockers are still going strong 15 years later.)