leah benson

Bike shop news roundup: New shop, new owners, and more break-ins

Avatar by on January 2nd, 2019 at 1:23 pm

Tom Martin is the new ower of TomCat Bikes on SE Milwaukie in the Brooklyn neighborhood.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

They say the only constant is change; and that’s certainly true for Portland bike shops.

In 2018 we saw several high-profile closures with 21st Avenue Bicycles, Velo Cult and all three Performance Bicycle locations closing their doors.

But the news wasn’t all bad: A new shop opened on Mt. Hood and Golden Pliers, that opened in June on North Skidmore at Interstate, has quickly become a favorite of many.

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…
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Advocates come together at The Street Trust’s Alice Awards benefit gala

Avatar by on October 1st, 2018 at 2:06 pm

Only when most people arrived by bike could you have a parking area that actually contributes to the pre-event mingling.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

“The Alice Awards are cool again,” said an attendee at Friday night’s Alice Awards gala hosted by The Street Trust.

This year’s Alice Award winners: William Henderson and Leah Benson.

The annual gathering has been a staple for many years; a date circled on the calendar of agency staffers, activists, electeds, industry leaders, and civic do-gooders. But there have been times in recent years when the event seemed to have lost its mojo. It started when the pendulum swung too far away from honoring advocates and too close to raising money. Small decisions like announcing winners weeks before the event in hopes it would lead to more ticket sales (if you know you’re going to win you want to make sure your friends/family are there to see it right?); not allowing winners to make speeches; and an overwhelming number of auction items (and the time — and blaring auctioneer — needed to sell them all), sapped the fun away.
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Industry Roundup: New digs for Nomad, Stoic Wheels’ new product, retailer wins award, and more

Avatar by on August 8th, 2017 at 12:17 pm

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 (right) accepting her Londonderry Award.
(Photo: Chuck Hood/Quality Bicycle Products)

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:[Read more…]

Bike industry leaders organize to support national strike against Trump administration

Avatar by on December 9th, 2016 at 12:17 pm

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

This Monday December 12th, thousands of women across America — and the people who support them — will join in a general strike and boycott. The protest is based in New York City and it’s intended to be a show of solidarity against the, “normalization of sexual assault, racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, unconstitutional behavior, and hate promoted by our incoming administration.”[Read more…]

New shop on Williams Ave, ‘Gladys Bikes’, caters to women

Avatar by on October 4th, 2013 at 10:35 am

Gladys Bikes bike shop-11

Leah Benson, owner of Gladys Bikes.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

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.”
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