River City Bicycles launches “Low Pressure” mountain bike program for women

Unlike many bike shops, River City Bicycles in southeast Portland has long had a reputation as a place where women feel safe and welcome. In 2008 the shop was named the most “female friendly” in the nation and they have sponsored many top women racers.

Now the shop wants to use mountain biking as a vehicle to help women build confidence — both on and off the trails. Their “Low Pressure Women’s Mountain Bike Series” is described as, “A stress-free, female led mountain bike event, clinic, and ride series through which we hope to build, educate and inspire a supportive community of women in our sport.” The series will include weekly practice sessions at The Lumberyard’s indoor bike park, on-trail clinics and weekly rides. There’s a launch party at the shop tonight (4/20) from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.

With help from Elaine Bothe of Wenzel Coaching and shop staff, River City is opening this LGBTQ+ friendly initiative up to all levels and all ages (sixth grade and over) of riders.

River City’s Lisa Luna told me this week that she put this together to encourage “positive self-talk” and to build women up from the inside.

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Former pros Floyd Landis and David Zabriskie launch hemp oil product in Portland

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David Zabriskie (left) and Floyd Landis.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

It takes moxie for someone whose name is closely associated with a controversial drug use to make his comeback drafting off a product derived from a controversial drug.

That was my thought when I heard former professional bike racer and Tour de France winner Floyd Landis would come to Portland to launch his new product, Floyd’s of Leadville CBD Hemp Oil. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is derived from the stalk and seed of cannabis (hemp) plants. It’s non-psychotropic so it won’t get you high, it’s categorized as a dietary supplement and it’s considered a more natural alternative to ibuprofen.

I can say Landis is no stranger to drug use and not even mention his positive urine sample that stripped him of that 2006 Tour de France crown — just four days after he celebrated it on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. That’s because he broke his hip during a training ride in 2003 and turned to opioids to escape the pain. Three years later, after achieving the biggest victory of his life only to be labeled a “doper” and ultimately thrown out of the sport he loved, Landis used the drugs to escape reality. He eventually switched to marijuana, a move that might have not only saved his life, but could help him create a new one.

Now 41, Landis is ready to re-enter the public eye as CEO of a company he founded last year in marijuana-friendly Colorado with former teammate and friend David Zabriskie.

Both of them spent a few days in Portland this week to launch the product at River City Bicycles (a well-known local shop whose owner, Dave Guettler, is a marijuana advocate).

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The Portland connection behind the limited edition ‘Sequoia Merz’ bike from Specialized

The Sequoia Merz from Specialized.
(Photo: River City Bicycles)

One of the most well-known bike brands in the world has just released a limited edition model (only 200 will be sold) that has a Portland framebuilder’s name on the downtube.

The new Sequoia adventure road bike from Specialized Bicycles has the name “Merz” emblazoned on the frame in honor of the work of Jim Merz. As you might recall in a story we shared of a bike tour Merz took in 1972, he was one of the first custom framebuilders to set up shop in Portland. After getting his start here in the early 1970s his work caught the attention of Mike Sinyard — the man who started Specialized. It was 1982 and Sinyard needed help building his “Stumpjumper” mountain bike frames which were taking the country by storm.

When “The Big S” wanted to bring back their Sequoia road bike to capitalize on today’s big adventure riding/gravel bike market, they contracted with Merz on the design. Below is an excerpt form an interview with Merz recently posted on the River City Bicycles website. In it, Merz explains how he first met Sinyard:

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This ‘Spirit of ’77’ dream bike is awaiting a Trail Blazers player

Introducing the “Seven Spirit of ’77,” on sale now at a local bike shop.
(Photos: River City Bicycles)

Portlander Dave Guettler is a huge Trail Blazers fan. He also happens to own River City Bicycles, one of the best bike shops in the country.

And now River City (located just a mile from the Blazers’ home court) is probably the only bike shop in America with a high-quality custom bike made specifically for a tall person who happens to play for the Blazers.

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Chris DiStefano hired for new marketing and public affairs position at River City Bicycles

Dave Guettler (L) and Chris DiStefano outside River City's central eastside location. (Photo: River City Bicycles)
Dave Guettler (L) and Chris DiStefano outside River City’s central eastside location.
(Photo: River City Bicycles)

Bicycle industry veteran Chris DiStefano has accepted a position as marketing and public affairs director for River City Bicycles.

DiStefano’s career in the bike world spans over two decades and he has held high profile roles with Shimano, Chris King Precision Components, and most recently Rapha, where he was communications director for North America. River City Bicycles was founded by Dave Guettler in 1995 and is one of the most successful independently-owned bike shops in America. Put together, these two powerhouses of business and advocacy are very likely to make huge waves in Portland and beyond.

In past positions DiStefano has embraced his role as a lobbyist for bike product makers and has proven to be an effective advocate. He’s been a loud voice pushing for mountain bike trails, he helped ferry the data-sharing relationship, between Strava and the Oregon Department of Transportation, and was picked by ODOT to serve on their Bike and Pedestrian Plan update committee. While at Chris King he made several trips to the National Bike Summit and even accepted invitations to the White House where he forged a working relationship with Secretary of Commercie Penny Pritzker.

Check out the official press release below:

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Portland’s latest biking surge seems real, local bike shops say

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Commuter-related sales are generally up across the city.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

After a few uneasy years for many local bike shops, the people whose businesses are built around Portland’s core of daily bike commuters say they’re feeling the boom.

One week after a new Census estimate that Portland added 5,000 net new bike commuters in 2014 to reach a total of 23,000 citywide, we called a few of the city’s biggest bike sellers to see if that seemed right.

Yep. And what’s more, they said the boom got bigger in 2015.

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The Friday Profile: Andrew Reed, River City’s ad man on a deadline (mostly SFW)

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River City Bicycles ad creator Andrew Reed in a cyclocross race.
(Photo courtesy Reed.)

He’s co-created major TV ads, like this one launching Apple’s iPad Air. He led the team that came up with Oregon Humane Society’s “End Petlessness” campaign and the concept for Oregon Public Broadcasting’s signature news show, Think Out Loud.

One year, in a gig he’s still sheepish about, he commuted weekly from California to Detroit to do ad work for Chevrolet.

But about 20 times each year for the last decade, Andrew Reed has sat down with Adobe Illustrator to put together River City Bicycles‘ quarter-page black and white ad for page 3 of Willamette Week.

“I can’t think of another bike shop in the country that does this,” said Reed, a freelance creative director who moved from Portland to Los Angeles in 2012, in a phone interview Thursday. “It’s kind of a life’s work kind of thing.”

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Bike shop’s new ramp helps thwart assault

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Ramp outside River City Bicycles.
(Photo: Dave Guettler)

About a week ago, River City Bicycles built a concrete quarter-pipe in their parking lot outside their store on SE Martin Luther King Blvd just north of the Morrison Bridge. Shop owner Dave Guettler installed the ramp so employees and customers could practice tricks and have a bit of fun.

Guettler had no idea that it might help save a woman’s life.

According to Guettler, the ramp has become an instant hit with local skateboarders. “They were out there last night for several hours trying to nail a trick.” Then, around 6:00 pm (during shop hours), the skateboarders heard a woman screaming inside a car that was parked in the shop’s parking lot.

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River City Bicycles to open outlet store

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This corner building at SE 6th and Belmont
will soon be the River City Bicycles Outlet store.

River City Bicycles has purchased a new, 5,000 square foot building that will soon become a new outlet store selling discounted bikes and clothing just a few blocks from their existing location. The River City Bicycles Outlet is set to open for business in the next few weeks at 534 SE Belmont (the southwest corner of 6th and Belmont).

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