Business Section Archives

Portland cargo bike maker Metrofiets calls it quits after 11 years

Posted on May 20th, 2018 at 8:43 pm.

Metrofiets bikes were known for a near-perfect combination of utility, ride quality, and aesthetic beauty.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus)

Just over a decade after launching as “the Portland-made bakfiets”, the owners behind Metrofiets have decided it’s time to move on.
[Read more…]

Portland entrepreneurs (and sisters) aim to produce “The Bike Dress”

Posted on May 18th, 2018 at 11:34 am.

Still from promo video.

Portlanders Amber and Beth Bogdewiecz want to make biking in a dress easier. The sisters are the entrepreneurial duo behind The Bike Dress and they’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign to help get their first production run off the ground.

Here’s more from their website:

“Being a couple of stylish ladies, we always have the desire to look good no matter what we’re doing. However, our passion for fashion is conflicted. We also want to be comfortable at all times since we are very active gals!

After years of wearing shorts under our dresses, searching for creative ways to carry all of our stuff, and trying to coordinate everything into a fashionable outfit, we decided it was time to create something new. And thus, The Bike Dress was born!”

Check their teaser vid below…[Read more…]

Introducing the Bicycle Showcase: A place to promote and learn about great bikes

Posted on May 16th, 2018 at 4:33 pm.

We have so many great local bike shops and builders in Portland, and one of our main goals has always been to support them by spreading the word about their business and products.

Today we’re launching a new tool that will take that one step further. We call it the Bicycle Showcase. It’s a paid listing service ($150 per bike) and it’s a simple way for local bike builders and bike shops to spread the word about bikes they have for sale. Similar to our Job Listings, the idea is to get that triple-win we always strive for around here: Help local businesses thrive, support our work, and provide a helpful resource the community.

I personally love visiting bike shops and checking out the latest-and-greatest bikes. My hope is that this new service gives you the information you need to make a good choice about your next bike and/or just gives you an opportunity to ogle something cool during your lunch hour.

Our friends at Joe Bike (SE Lincoln and Cesar Chavez Blvd) jumped at the chance to create the first listing. Check out their very cool rendition of a Soma Wolverine below…

[Read more…]

After a decade of service in northwest Portland, 21st Avenue Bicycles is closing

Posted on May 2nd, 2018 at 3:45 pm.

Sign on the door of 21st Avenue Bicycles.
(Photo: Park Chambers)

Portland’s ever-changing bike retail landscape is taking another turn.

21st Avenue Bicycles, a fixture in northwest Portland since it opened in 2007, will close for good on May 12th. This storefront was previously Northwest Bicycles, which had been in operation since 1975.

Owner Park Chambers says he’s selling the building that houses the 2,000 square-foot shop and he’s decided the time has come to move on. Chambers, 48, told me in a phone call today that he suffered a stroke back in November. “Being paralyzed for a week” gave him time to reflect and he’s decided to simplify his life and focus on the two other bike shops he owns: Both of which cater to his main passion of mountain biking.

Chambers bought Fat Tire Farm, a shop on NW Thurman that specializes in mountain biking, in 1997. In June 2014 he opened Hood River Bicycles. He opened a suspension-tuning specialty shop called Traction Works in Portland in March 2016 and he moved that into the back of Fat Tire Farm last June.
[Read more…]

Metropolis Cycles in North Portland launches free commuter clinic events

Posted on April 30th, 2018 at 10:19 am.

(Photos by James Buckroyd)

Looking to get back in the cycling swing of things? Metropolis Cycles (2249 N Williams Ave) is hosting a free commuter clinic (that I’ll be teaching) on the first Monday of each month starting in May.
[Read more…]

At C-Velo, the bike racing happens indoors

Posted on April 24th, 2018 at 2:28 pm.

Riders spin against the numbers at C-Velo Performance Cycling Training Center in Sellwood.
(Photo: J. Maus)

Some of Portland’s toughest bike races don’t even happen on the road.

Over the past seven years, exercise physiologist Rick Cady has melded his love of cycling with the science of human performance to create an indoor training center unlike anything in Oregon.[Read more…]

A visit to Misia Pitkin’s Double Darn cap-making studio

Posted on April 12th, 2018 at 11:05 am.

Double Darn’s creative and quality caps have found a strong following in Portland and beyond.
(Photos: James Buckroyd)

Story by our resident “Product Geek” James Buckroyd, who approaches products with an eye for how they solve problems. He previously shared how to maintain your waterproof gear.

If you’ve been cycling for a while you probably already know some of the functional benefits of an under-the-helmet cap. You have probably also tried a few and found that not all of them are the same. There’s a huge variety of fits, brims, shapes and sizes, not to mention all the different materials, prints and colours.

Named after a common hand stitch, Portland-based Double Darn was started 12 years ago by local artist Misia Pitkin. Misia, who grew up with artist parents and started sewing at an early age, graduated from Pacific Northwest College of Art with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and an interest in clothing. She translates her art skills into fabrics, adding structure and shape to create a form of soft sculpture. She started repairing clothes and dabbling in creating rain jackets, but she found her passion was in caps.
[Read more…]

Industry Ticker: Blaq’s strapless backpack and a titanium hot dog skewer from Ruckus

Posted on March 30th, 2018 at 4:28 pm.

Ruckus is pivoting to hot dog cooking tools to capitalize on the #hotdogsoutside trend.
(Photo: Ruckus Composites)

Portland is home to bike companies known for pushing the envelope of product design.

Cases in point are BlaqPaks and Ruckus Composites. Their new offerings — available April 1st — are sure to get people talking…
[Read more…]

Where to buy used kids’ bikes in Portland

Posted on March 13th, 2018 at 10:21 am.

This Lil’ Honey was new in 2012, but is ready for a new owner now.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Six years ago I scored a free 12-inch kids bike from my neighborhood mom group. It was the start of a journey — not just of riding, but of figuring out how and where to get bikes that work and that fit my constantly growing boys.
[Read more…]

“Everybody in the industry thought I was mad”: An interview with Islabikes founder Isla Rowntree

Posted on March 9th, 2018 at 11:05 am.

Isla Rowntree at her Portland facility in June 2017.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

“Shops are typically run by conservative, not that young — and dare I say male — shop owners in the industry. That would be the profile who just thought I was mad. So I wouldn’t have persuaded them to buy anything from me.”
— Isla Rowntree on why she decided to sell customer-direct

You’ve probably seen them: Young kids zipping around on great-looking (usually red) bikes with the Islabikes name on the downtube. Isla Rowntree is the woman behind this business. She founded the company in 2005 in the picturesque town of Ludlow in the United Kingdom, about 155 miles northwest of London. In 2013 Islabikes came to North America and planted their headquarters in Portland’s Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood.

Last summer Rowntree paid a visit to her bustling U.S. outpost and I met up with her for a chat. We sat in the upper floor of their warehouse and showroom on SE 7th Avenue and she shared a brief history of children’s bikes, her passion for making good ones, the challenges she faced as a start-up, and how Islabikes almost never ended up in Portland.

The Q & A is below, edited slightly for clarity (for full effect, read her words in a proper British accent)…

I was intrigued to learn you started a children’s bike company, but that children weren’t your inspiration?

“No. It wasn’t through my own children. I’ve been in the bike industry pretty much all my working life. I started in a bike shop when I was still in school and experienced my own personal challenges with fit and ergonomics because I’m fairly physically small. I came up with some solutions for those challenges and tinkered about with them throughout my twenties. Then, 11 or 12 years ago, I got to an age when my friends — and my sister in particular — had started families. They were all asking me what bikes to get for their kids. And that really drew my attention to the details of children’s bikes as they were available at the time. I was expecting to make a recommendation, do a bit of research and say, “OK get this one for your child.” But they were all so awful.

[Read more…]