Secretary of Commerce visit highlights Portland’s bicycle industry

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
US Commerce Secretary in Portland-5

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker gets
a tour of United Bicycle Institute with owner Ron
Sutphin (left) and Congressman Earl Blumenauer.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Flanked by Congressman Earl Blumenauer, the United States Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker beamed about the cycling “revolution” she’s seeing across the country during a stop on her national listening tour in north Portland this morning. But to keep it going, she said business owners must have a skilled labor force.

And that’s where United Bicycle Institute comes in.

On that note, Pritzker toured UBI’s Portland campus on North Williams Ave. UBI offers vocational training in frame building and offers certificates in professional bicycle mechanics. In addition to learning about the key role UBI plays as a national vocational leader with over 20,000 graduates to their credit, Pritzker also hosted a private (no media allowed) roundtable discussion with about 20 local bicycle industry leaders. Pritzker and her staff have toured over a dozen cities in recent months doing similar events and the goal is to hear about the issues facing business owners and develop a strategy for the Commerce Department on how to help them.

Read more

U.S. Sec of Commerce will visit United Bicycle Institute in North Portland

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Secretary of Commerce (and triathlete)
Penny Pritzker.
(Photo: US Dept. of Commerce)

In the latest nod to Portland’s reputation as an epicenter of the bicycle industry, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker will visit United Bicycle Institute (UBI) in North Portland on Friday.

The Department of Commerce announced the event as part of Sec. Pritzker’s nationwide “listening tour.” “In these discussions,” reads a media statement, “Secretary Pritzker will hear about their priorities, concerns and ideas on how the public and private sectors can work together to strengthen the economy and create American jobs.”

UBI has been chosen as a tour stop because, the Dept. of Commerce says, it’s, “the bicycle industry’s leading technical school.” The North Portland campus (they also have a campus in Ashland) offers courses in bicycle repair, frame building and professional mechanic certification. While at UBI, Pritzker will meet with staff and hold a roundtable discussion with representatives from the local bicycle industry.

Read more

Today: Islabikes Open House and Rider Appreciation Day on Williams

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
visit to Islabikes-13

Get an inside look at Islabikes at their open house today.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

There are two events today you won’t want to miss (actually three, but we’ll share the third one in a separate post later today).

Islabikes, the UK-based purveyor of fine children’s bicycles is hosting an Open House event at their new store in southeast Portland (which we visited back in May). Islabikes established their North American headquarters at SE 7th and Lincoln in March and they’ve found a healthy business niche so far.

Islabikes North American GM Tim Goodall will open up his shop for a day of fun (a unicycling juggler), sweet treats (“farm fresh ice cream” from Salt & Straw) and test rides. The founder of the company, noted bicycle designer Isla Rowntree, will also be in attendance.

Read more

Showers Pass announces new ‘Cloudcover’ waterproof device covers

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Southeast Portland based Showers Pass continues to enter new markets. They announced a new waterproof glove line back in January. Below is a press release about their latest products…

“Showers Pass® is known for keeping cyclists protected, dry and performing year round, so it seems a natural extension that we design accessories protection to do the same,” says Kyle Ranson, president, Showers Pass®. “I used to put my phone in a plastic bag when going on long rides in the rain. That was fine until I wanted to actually USE the phone. Our Cloudcover cases are our easy, affordable answer to that, and they use everything we’ve learned about keeping active people dry whatever they’re doing, wherever they are.”

Created for the year-round rigors of all-weather use in rain, snow and mud, Cloudcover cases may have cycling DNA in their design but they’re also ideal for all water, snow and ski, cross-country sports and rugged enough to protect tablets and smartphones on family camping and hiking expeditions.

Each case is designed for a slim profile with secure welded edges to keep out rain, snow, dirt and water but also to retain touchscreen, phone call and camera functionality in all conditions. A clever dual zip-lock feature keeps every device safe from an accidental splash in the water if properly sealed.

Other Cloudcover features include a pull-tab for easy opening on-the-go, a practical side tab to attach to a keychain or mini-carabiner plus dual zip-lock for ultra waterproof protection, reflective elements for easy location in the dark and welded edges that also help to cushion any falls or blows on the trail.

Available from July 2013, the Cloudcover line includes cases for iPads for $49.99; iPad Minis for $37.50; Kindles for $37.50; smartphones (Samsung Glaxy, etc.) for $24.99; iPhone 4 &5s for $24.99; as well as dry wallet for $19.99.

Available in Late July 2013.

State embarks on effort to quantify Oregon’s bicycle industry

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Bicycle frame and component manufacturer
Chris King Precision Components employs over 100
people in northwest Portland.
(Photo: Chris King Precision Components)

Earlier this month we learned that bicycle-related travel pumps $400 million into Oregon’s economy each year. Now Travel Oregon, the state’s tourism development and marketing organization, has embarked on the second part of that research project: a comprehensive look at the economic impact of bicycle-related industry.

Travel Oregon released the Bicycle Industry Survey yesterday to begin data collection for the study. Here’s more from them from the email announcement:

The bicycle industry in Oregon is a unique and growing part of our economy. To get a better handle on the size, characteristics and growth of this industry, a research project has been launched to gather current data that is not available from any existing sources.

Read more

Summit will take “bikes mean business” to another level

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Everywhere we turn these days it seems there are signs that bicycling means business. Whether it’s impacts to tourism, property values, sales receipts, or economic and urban development — the case is very strong. Another major component of the “bikes mean business” mantra relates directly to how having a bike-friendly workplace contributes to the bottom line. Simply put, a bike-friendly workplace can have a significant impact to the physical and financial well-being of businesses and their employees.

At the Portland Employers Bike Summit this Friday, executives, building managers, and HR personnel will get the information and inspiration they need to take advantage of the growing movement to make workplaces more attractive to bicycling and low-car employees.

Read more

A visit to Islabikes, Portland’s new bike company for kids

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
islabikes visit

Tim Goodall works with a family during a
fitting appointment yesterday.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

There’s a new bike company based in Portland that caters especially to kids. Islabikes, a seven year-old company based in Shropshire, England, opened their North American headquarters in southeast Portland back in March. To set up their U.S. operation, Islabikes sent one of their founding employees, Tim Goodall. I met Tim yesterday at his warehouse and showroom on the corner of SE 7th and Lincoln.

In the past month or so, Tim has been renovating his space and getting things organized. He’s been open for business and taking appointments for about three weeks now. Currently, the warehouse has hundreds of unbuilt bikes sitting in boxes fresh off the boat from England. In the front showroom is a display of all 13 Islabikes models — from their tiny balance bike to a junior-sized, 700c road bike. “The intention,” said Tim as I admired the line-up, “is that for any child that comes in between one and 11 years-old, there’s a bike that fits them.”

Read more

Portland-based Showers Pass expands operations into UK

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Showers Pass HQ

Showers Pass HQ in southeast Portland.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

In yet another sign of growth, southeast Portland based Showers Pass has announced a new sales operation in the United Kingdom. Here’s more from a company press release:

“Based in South Shields, Tyne and Wear, the Showers Pass UK headquarters opens for business May 16, 2013 and will introduce a full line of the kinds of performance apparel that has made the brand a must-have stateside.”

Showers Pass CEO Kyle Ranson says the brands strength in the U.S. has created a “loyal and fast growing following” of European customers online. And now he says, “It’s time to really put the rubber to the road in the UK.” Ranson is originally from South Shields and he’s tapped his brother Fraser Ranson as head of UK operations. Kyle will continue to run the U.S. arm of the company.

Read more

Breadwinner Cycles launch draws huge crowd

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
breadwinner launch party-2

The launch of Breadwinner Cycles drew a huge crowd.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Breadwinner Cycles drew a huge crowd to Velo Cult on Friday night. The event marked the official launch of the company which was started by noted bike builders Tony Pereira and Ira Ryan (we profiled Breadwinner back in February).

At Friday night’s event, the highlight for me was the assemblage of locally owned Ira Ryan Cycles and Pereira Cycles bikes. Tony and Ira invited all their local customers to display their bikes as a way to demonstrate the lineages that produced Breadwinner. It was really cool to see all these custom bikes, banged up and dirty from being ridden on local streets by local riders. There were touring bikes, racing bikes, mountain and city ramblers, and everything in between. I was especially keen to meet the owners Ira and Tony’s first bikes sold in Portland…

Read more

UK-based Islabikes opens North American headquarters in southeast Portland

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Google Streetview of Islabikes new Portland location
at SE 7th and Lincoln.

Islabikes, a well-known brand from the U.K., is the latest bicycle company to chose Portland for their North American headquarters. The company plans to begin selling their full range of children’s bicycles from a 5,200 square-foot building on the corner of SE 7th Avenue and Lincoln next month.

Islabikes was founded in 2006 by Isla Rowntree. The company started from a small old barn and now employs 19 full-time staff from a new home in Shropshire, England. The North American operation is being run by Tim Goodall, who has worked with Rowntree since the company started. I spoke with Goodall this morning to learn more about Islabikes and how they ended up in Portland.

Read more

Helmet company Nutcase announces big plans for Europe

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Nutcase founders Miriam Berman (L)
and Michael Morrow. (Photo: Nutcase)

Portland-based helmet company Nutcase Inc., has announced major plans to extend their brand into Europe. The company, launched in 2006 by graphic designers Michael Morrow (formerly Nike’s Global Creative Director) and Miriam Berman, has gained a strong foothold in the U.S. market with their urban-focused bike helmets.

In a statement released today, Nutcase said they’re partnering with outdoor sport distributors, “covering all major European markets.”

“The Nutcase brand has had a love affair with European customers for over five years now, and our romance with Europe is only just beginning,” says Morrow.

Read more