They say the only constant is change; and that’s certainly true for Portland bike shops.
We’re sure to see more evolution in the local bike shop scene this year. Before we get too behind on this beat, I wanted to share a few news updates that have been accumulating in my notebook…
Here’s the latest news from our local bike industry and the people who make it so great…
Portland retailer wins industry award
Leah Benson, owner of Gladys Bikes on Northeast Alberta, is the winner of the 2017 Londonderry Award (named after the first woman to ride around the world). Benson was honored in a ceremony hosted by leading bike industry distributor Quality Bicycle Products at their Saddle Drive dealer event last weekend.
Benson was recognized for her work in creating a welcoming space for women, transgender and femme customers (aka WTF).
From when she first opened her women-focused shop in 2013, Benson has challenged the bike shop orthodoxy in both how she runs the business and what she does outside of it.
Among the initiatives she’s created and supported include: a bike saddle library card to help ease the sometimes awkward conversations that come with the process of finding a saddle that fits; a transgender cycling club, the “Cross Curious Club“, and more.
Here’s a snip from Benson’s acceptance speech:
If you’ve been around bicycling for a while, you’ve probably bumped into Surly Bikes. The brand is super-popular in Portland because they make many of the affordable, no-nonsense and useful bikes that are dearly beloved around here: The longtail Big Dummy, the uber-commuter Cross Check, and others.
All you Surly fans out there will be happy to know that next week they’re coming to Portland.
We heard from Surly’s Kate Echols Moore that they’ve got two events planned while they’re in town — one to show support for bike shop employees and the people who love them, and the other is a “WTF (women/trans/femme) focused event” where everyone is welcome.
Check the details below and make some plans…
Portland’s bike-related businesses and organizations are reacting to the impending Trump administration in a variety of ways.
Gladys Bikes on northeast Alberta has taped up a large poster on their window that reads: “We welcome all”. And down the street, the front door of the Community Cycling Center (and their blog) make it clear they too are a safe haven from hate.
And then there’s Ruckus Composites. The quirky and successful company that specializes in repairing carbon fiber bicycles is selling water bottles that feature an illustration of Vice President Joe Biden on them. Here’s why they’re bringing back this popular item:
“Maybe it’s our way of dealing with the stresses of operating a small business and the general modern world. Maybe it’s because we find that humor is sometimes the best way to deal with the truth. We made these bottles years ago as a joke but the time to bring them back couldn’t be more perfect. All jokes aside, the best thing one can do now is to get off the internet sometimes and take legitimate physical and peaceful action. Let these bottles serve as a reminder that each individual does have the power to make change, and to never forget the power of humor.”
For the coming week, Ruckus is donating 20% of the sales from each of the $10 “Biden Bidons” (“bidon” is French for can and it’s what the French call water bottles) to the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) — which they say is a “potential target for a certain incoming administration.” And because it’s Ruckus — and Biden — they’ve put some funny captions in the photos of the bottles on their website. Read them and buy them here.
Know of other ways Portland’s bike-related businesses are responding to these unprecedented political times? Let us know and we’ll update this post.
— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – email@example.com
Bike shop owner Leah Benson is Portland’s latest bike theft victim.
Benson owns Gladys Bikes at 2905 NE Alberta Street. She shared the bad news earlier this evening: “I received a call in the wee hours of the morning telling me that someone had shattered our front door and broken into the shop.”
The thieves made off with two bikes and Benson is urging everyone to keep an eye out for a Giant Liv Alight city bike and a Bianchi Lupo drop bar road bike. We know how stolen bikes tend to turn up shortly after being stolen, so time is of the essence! (Scroll down for photos of the bikes.)
Shop break-ins are all too common in Portland. We’ve reported on several in the past few years. Between November 2011 and February 2012, a thief known as the “window pane bandit” hit four separate shops.
Two women-focused Portland bike companies — custom builder Sweetpea Bicycles and Gladys Bikes bike shop — have formed a partnership to do more of what they do, only better. Check out the press release below for more details…
Sweetpea Bicycles and Gladys Bikes Join Forces to Get More Women on Bikes
Crusade opener at Alpenrose Dairy included
Noel Mickelberry, Kyla Yeoman, Lindsay Walker,
Katie Popoff, Kathy Lombardi, Claudia Martinez, Melia
Tichenor, Nate Semm, Julia Himmelstein and Allan Rudwick.
(Photos courtesy Gladys Bikes)
Gladys Bikes, the woman-centric bike shop on Northeast Alberta Street, keeps coming up with interesting new projects that prove how important great retailers are to a city’s bike infrastructure.
The latest we’ve caught wind of: A series of low-cost courses for people who identify as “‘cross curious.” As in cyclocross, of course.
“It was an idea that came from our advisory board – GAB, the Gladys Advisory Board,” Gladys Bikes owner Leah Benson said in an interview Thursday. “The more conversations we had, the more we realized a lot of people were interested but had never tried it.”
(Photos by M.Andersen/BikePortland)
Did you ever start to realize that you’ve begun to physically resemble your bicycle?
That was the question of the night in a North Portland bike shop Wednesday as dozens of bike riders coordinated their color choices to pose for free shots from a local fashion photographer.
dreams of Gladys Bikes in this screenshot
from the “2 Bike Shops in Love” promotional video.
Two north Portland bike shops just three miles away from each other have opted for an embrace rather than competition. Gladys Bikes (3808 N Williams Ave #132) and Kenton Cycle Repair (2020 N McClellan St) have launched “Two Bike Shops in Love”, a novel marketing campaign that actually encourages customers to shop at another store.
During the week-long promotion, which runs January 18th through the 25th, when someone buys a product or service from one shop, they’ll get a coupon for 10% off at the other one.
Why would two bike shops owners — especially ones that are relatively close to each other and cater to similar types of customers — encourage people to shop at a store other than their own?
Remember Gladys Bikes? The small shop on N Williams Ave opened back in October with an aim to cater specifically to women. When we visited the shop one of the things that stuck out was that owner Leah Benson stocked a relatively huge selection of saddles. Now it turns out she’s even more serious about getting people the right-fitting saddle than we imagined.
Benson has unveiled a nifty program called the “Saddle Library” Here’s how it works (via the Gladys Bikes website):
- Step 1: Come into the shop and talk with our knowledgeable staff about your saddle needs and concerns. We’ll make recommendations about which saddle(s) might be a good match for you.
- Step 2: For $25 you get a Library Card, which gives you access to check out any of the saddles in our loaning library. For each saddle you check out you get one week try it out on your bike.
Portland has a new bike shop. But before you react with, “Really? Another one!?”, keep in mind that unlike any other shop in Portland, Gladys Bikes (Facebook) at 3808 N Williams caters specifically to women.
The shop is the work of 30-year old north Portland resident Leah Benson. I stopped by yesterday to check out the space and learn more about her.
A native of Wisconsin, Benson moved to Portland five years ago. She previously worked for Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc., a non-profit that provides education and advocacy for women going into non-traditional employment (mostly building and construction trades). Benson has also been an active volunteer with the Community Cycling Center.
While she’s ridden her bike her entire life (“I grew up in the middle of nowhere, so I had to ride my bike if I wanted to do anything,” she said) and started biking to work in her early 20s, it wasn’t until she moved to Portland that biking became a larger part of her life. “This is such an easy city to become immersed in bicycles,” she said, “it became not just something I did to get from point A to point B, but so much an integral part of my life.”