Business Section Archives

Brexit uncertainty, US regulations among reasons for Islabikes’ retreat

Posted on October 5th, 2018 at 10:50 am.

Islabikes are a common sight at local schoolyard bike racks.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

It’s been a tough year for Portland’s bike industry.

In May, local cargo bike maker Metrofiets called it quits. Then in July, bike shop and community gathering spot Velo Cult announced it would no longer have a retail location. And on Tuesday of this week we reported that UK-based Islabikes decided to close the local office and warehouse that housed their North American headquarters. And yesterday we shared the messy road that led to the end of Renovo Hardwood Bicycles.

I don’t enjoy reporting these type of stories, but I do think the community deserves to know a reasonable amount of detail about them. Given Islabikes’ popularity and large role in our community (as a sponsor and partner of many local events), I felt like their official statement wasn’t enough. Earlier this week, I reached out to Islabikes General Manager Tim Goodall and asked him to share more about why they’ve decided to leave.

Goodall cited Brexit (the UK’s decision to leave the European Union) and a pesky US federal government regulation as two of the main reasons.
[Read more…]

Out of cash and employees, Renovo calls it quits

Posted on October 4th, 2018 at 5:11 pm.

Renovo founder Ken Wheeler in his booth at the 2012 North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Sacramento.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The ride for Renovo Hardwood Bicycles is over.

The website is gone. No one responds to emails. The building at SE 8th and Ash that has housed its factory since 2008 is for lease. And there’s a lien notice posted to the front door.

According to the notice, Kenneth Wheeler of Renovo Designs LLC owes $34,864.53 in rent that hasn’t been paid since May.

This is a sad ending to a company that was once one of the bike industry’s shining stars.

Wheeler launched Renovo at the 2008 North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) in Portland. With experience and success making hardwood lighting fixtures and airplanes, Wheeler figured out how to make bicycle frames with a CNC machine. When I first visited his shop in February 2008 he proudly watched his CNC machine at work and said it would be done with the frame in five minutes. Not only were the frames beautiful and relatively easy to produce (or so it seemed), Wheeler said they tested stronger than high-grade aluminum.

He was clearly on to something.
[Read more…]

Islabikes to close US headquarters office and warehouse in Portland

Posted on October 2nd, 2018 at 6:28 pm.

The busy warehouse as seen in June 2017.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Portland will no longer be the U.S. headquarters of Islabikes. In an announcement made this afternoon, the children’s bike company said they will close their southeast Portland office, showroom and warehouse.[Read more…]

Component maker Chris King will open its doors for builders and fans next week

Posted on October 2nd, 2018 at 11:02 am.

King employees 75 people at their factory and headquarters in northwest industrial.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Portland’s largest bike industry company plans to throw open its factory doors next week.
[Read more…]

Floyd Landis to open three ‘cycling-themed’ cannabis stores in Portland

Posted on September 17th, 2018 at 2:52 pm.

Floyd Landis in Portland for the launch of his hemp oil pills in July 2017.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Remember Floyd Landis? He’s the former professional road cyclist and Tour de France competitor who’s made a return to the public spotlight as the founder of a line of cannabis products.

Landis and his partner (and former teammate) David Zabriskie launched their Floyd’s of Leadville hemp oil pills in Portland last summer. Now they’re back in town with plans to open three retail stores that promise to be, “Portland’s first cycling-themed retail cannabis location.”

As the Willamette Week reported in June, Landis is re-branding three existing cannabis stores and transitioning them into the new “active-lifestyle” stores to be named Floyd’s Fine Cannabis.

Here’s more from a press statement:

“Floyd Landis is a former Tour de France winner and professional cyclist well-known for his work with the US Postal Service Cycling Team in the early 2000s. He was later sidelined by a number of difficulties including hip surgery at age 31. His subsequent discovery of cannabis for pain management led to him founding his non-psychoactive CBD products company Floyd’s of Leadville. He now is branching out into cannabis retail with Floyd’s Fine Cannabis… Floyd’s Fine Cannabis is about the integration of cannabis products into active lifestyles.”

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Big sale at Community Cycling Center

(Photo: Floyd’s of Leadville)

Also to come is a co-branded sock collaboration with Portland-based cycling and running lifestyle and apparel store The Athletic. We profiled The Athletic back in 2015 on the occasion of their first anniversary. In addition to selling the socks and other “active outdoor products that compliment [sic] cannabis,” the new Floyd’s Fine Cannabis stores will host regular bike rides and other events.

Grown Rogue Cycling Team.
(Photo: Grown Rogue Cycling Team/FB)

Lest you think this is Portland’s first direct commercial connection between cannabis and cycling, keep in mind that the Grown Rogue Cycling Team (links to Facebook) boasts 25 full time racers and has been competing in Oregon Bicycle Racing Association events all year. Grown Rogue is a “seed to sale” cannabis company based in Medford Oregon whose CEO and President Obie Strickler said in a 2017 press statement, “We believe our ethos and mantra at Grown Rogue fit well with the sport of cycling. Freedom, beauty, independence, healthy competition–the bicycle represents all these things.”

The grand opening party for Floyd’s Fine Cannabis will be held on September 30th at the NE Broadway location (801 NE Broadway).

For more on this topic, read Anne-Marije Rook’s article on CyclingTips.com, “Does cannabis belong in bike racing?”

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Islabikes and Go Box are the latest Portland businesses to add electric cargo bikes to their fleet

Posted on August 10th, 2018 at 1:19 pm.

Islabikes (L) and Go Box are ready to roll thanks to new cargo bikes.
(Photos courtesy of the companies)

When you do business in a city, electric cargo bikes are often a much better solution for deliveries and service calls than cars or trucks. There are many companies in Portland that understand this fact, and two of them recently added new bikes to their fleet.
[Read more…]

Local retailers respond to Trump’s 25% tariff on electric bikes

Posted on August 9th, 2018 at 10:24 am.

E-bikes, like this one crusing on the Eastbank Esplanade, have become very popular in Portland. A new tariff could chill the market.
(Photo: Will Vanlue for BikePortland)

“Our forecasts predict that a 25% tariff will cause a 65-75% drop in sales as consumers postpone their purchases until sanity returns to our trade policies.”
— Wake Gregg, The eBike Store

In their ongoing effort to achieve more “fair and balanced” trade conditions with China, the Trump Administration has finalized a list of $16 billion worth of products that will be hit with a 25 percent tariff that will go into effect August 23rd.

Among those products are electric bicycles and e-bike motors. Bikes imported from China previously had no tariff. The tariff on motors will be 29 percent as the new tariff will be added to the existing one 4 percent. People for Bikes, a national bike industry advocacy group, fought the move, but has so far been unsuccessful.

This is bad news for the e-bike market. As we shared last week, sales of the pedal-assisted bikes have been a major bright spot for bike companies and retail shop owners. Here in Portland, we have a thriving e-bike scene and shop owners report brisk sales. There’s been a sense that — after years of challenges due to an educational and cultural bottleneck — the U.S. market for e-bikes had finally matured. And like many bike trends, Portland is at the tip of the spear.

Here are reactions to the new tariffs from three local shop owners:
[Read more…]

Velo Cult to host big used bike sale and a final goodbye from local framebuilders

Posted on August 7th, 2018 at 3:21 pm.

(Image: Velo Cult on Instagram)

You didn’t think Velo Cult would go quietly, did you?

The legendary shop, tavern, and community event space sadly announced the closure of its brick-and-mortar retail operations last month.

If you missed the farewell party and still need one last fix of the bike-loving vibes this place was famous for, there are two events you should put on your calendar right now: A used bike sale this Friday through Sunday and a big bike show on August 18th.
[Read more…]

“Low levels of interest” leads to cancellation of Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show

Posted on August 6th, 2018 at 1:50 pm.

Fans of great bikes stroll the aisles in the 2012 Oregon Handmade Bike Show held at the Vigor Industries shipyard on Swan Island.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus)

“Our hope is to remake the show with an eye toward the future.”
— Dave Levy, Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association president

Organizers of the Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show have called off their marquee event — for the first time since it began 11 years ago.

In a message to vendors, fans, and sponsors, Dave Levy, president of Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association, the nonprofit trade association behind the event, wrote, “It is with a heavy heart we have decided to cancel the show… 2018 has been the year we have seen the lowest level of interest in the OHBS, the number of builders who have chosen to sign up is so low the OBCA board feels we cannot put on a show we can be proud of, and allow the builders to present well.” Levy said the organization will refund vendor fees that have already been paid.

Last year when the event was held in a warehouse just north of the St. Johns Bridge, over two dozen vendors shared their creations with an appreciative crowd. But excitement about the event has tapered in recent years as the local framebuilding scene has cooled considerably since its heyday in the mid-to-late 2000s.
[Read more…]

Velo Cult will close retail shop to focus solely on e-commerce

Posted on July 25th, 2018 at 7:26 pm.

Velo Cult was a central meeting place for bike lovers of all types.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus)

Velo Cult owner Sky Boyer in February 2018.

Velo Cult — a bike shop, bar and community gathering and event space in the Hollywood Neighborhood — will throw one final party this Saturday. Owner Sky Boyer has decided to close the brick-and-mortar space to focus his efforts online.

Boyer moved his business from San Diego to Portland in 2012 and quickly became a major cog in the local bike scene. Velo Cult has hosted all types of events and meetings and the shop changed the bike retail landscape locally and nationally. In 2013, Outside Magazine named Velo Cult one of the top 10 bike shops in America.

In the end, it appears the complexities of running a brick-and-mortar retail and e-commerce business, mixed with requirements for running a bar in a 10,000 square-foot space, proved too big of a challenge.
[Read more…]