Western Bikeworks absorbs Athletes Lounge to expand into triathlon market

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward


Six weeks after closing its doors for good, Portland’s only triathlon shop has found new life in an unexpected place: Another bike shop.

Early Saturday morning Western Bikeworks announced an agreement with Athletes Lounge. Western Bikeworks has locations in northwest Portland and Tigard and is one of the city’s largest bike shops. In addition to their two retail locations Western Bikeworks does a robust online business as one of four e-commerce bike brands owned by Portland-based Velotech Inc (they also run Cyclocross.com, UrbanCyclist.com and BikeTiresDirect.com).

According to a statement, Athletes Lounge owner Gary Wallesen and an undisclosed number of his former staff will now be employed by Western Bikeworks in order to, “expand the areas of expertise” into trisports. Wallesen has also been hired to spearhead a new e-commerce site at AthletesLounge.com in the coming months.

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Athletes Lounge, a fixture in Portland’s triathlon scene, is closing

The Athletes Lounge tent at a race.
The Athletes Lounge tent at a race.

Portland’s only bike shop that specialized in the needs of triathletes is closing its doors. Athletes Lounge in northwest on Vaughn and 26th plans to close by October 1st.

Gary Wallesen has owned the shop for nearly six years after purchasing it from its previous owner who had run it since 2007.

Wallesen says the business isn’t strong enough to remain open. “Last year the numbers were down, this year numbers really down,” he shared via email last week. And he also offered some external reasons he feels the bike shop business is especially challenging these days. “The business environment is changing, online [shopping] is growing, a shop in town discounts everything and hurts all others. There is a big inventory of new bikes in Portland and the market.” Wallesen said the triathlon market is particularly flat (pun intended).

He even shared one cautionary tale that might point to larger trends: “I think people are looking to ride, but the roads are getting more crowded and a little less safe. So markets that take riders of the road might be doing better.”

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Bike Gallery opens ‘Epic Tri Shop’ in Beaverton

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Epic’s logo

Hoping to get in front of a growing interest in triathlons in the Portland area, the venerable Bike Gallery has opened Epic Tri Shop, a new store located in the upper level of their existing Beaverton location.

Although Epic Tri is in the same building as the Beaverton Bike Gallery, it will have its own bike mechanic service, separate from the main store. The new shop carries a variety of running, swimming, and bicycling gear. This past Wednesday was the store’s grand opening party.

Store manager Gordie Cumming says he named the shop Epic because, “It sums up what I think many people feel when they step up to the starting line.” It’s also an acronym, Cumming explains: “Endurance, Persistence, Intensity, Camaraderie.”

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Portland non-profit hopes to become LEED of sporting events

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

New non-profit will certify
mass participation sporting

When Princeton grad and professional triathlete Jeff Henderson began planning the City of Portland Triathlon back in 2007 he didn’t just want to create Portland’s first urban triathlon, he wanted to make the event as earth-friendly as possible.

Going far beyond the usual “green” measures, the Portland Tri went the extra mile to be sustainable — from the choice of a pizza vendor to the materials used for the bike racks. For example: it was the first triathlon in the country to staff its medical tent with naturopathic doctors; the entire event was “off the grid” and was powered by solar panels; the bike racks were made by a local artist from surplus steel and bamboo; and the award medals were made from used inner tubes and cogs that were cleaned and donated by the Community Cycling Center.

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