Count ’em.

My friend’s mother is visiting from out-of-town. She’s from Maine. Inevitably, the question came up: Just how bike-friendly is Portland? Off the top of my head and on the spur of the moment, I named 21 bike shops. 21! That’s a lot of bike shops. It was pretty cool to think how many sweet bikes must be tooling around on the road these days, thanks to all these shops…

…but then today? Someone asked me to set a value on a bike that they were trying to sell. It was a department store special, and it was hard to break the bad news that it wasn’t worth much.

Folks, please stop and think before you go to a big box store to buy a bike. If you want a bike to ride and trash, then fine. But if you think you might like to integrate a bicycle into your lifestyle, you owe it to yourself to check out a reputable shop. You’ll find a bike within your budget that’s been built by skilled wrenches, and the whole experience will be so much more enjoyable. Then, everybody will ride, and Portland will be an even nicer city in which to bike. It will begin a beautiful circle.

Such is my request, and also an offer: don’t hesitate to hit up the comments with your bike questions. I will do my best to answer in a timely fashion. I’ve been in three shops in two years, and if I don’t know the answer, I know how to find it. Bring on your shocks, pegs, and sweet jumps.

4 Comments so far

  1. Banana Lee Fishbones (unregistered) on June 22nd, 2005 @ 2:31 pm

    I like to ride my bike, though not necessarily for any great distance. What should I have with me in my cute little recycled tire under-the-seat pouch? Usually it’s just my phone and my keys. Anything I should consider adding?

  2. Ed S. (unregistered) on June 22nd, 2005 @ 4:57 pm

    Not so much a question as a recommendation. I’ve bought my last two bikes at the delightful Community Cycling Center in Northeast. The first bike I gave away when I went to upgrade to a taller, more streetly, bike.

    Also, this month marks the annual bike-summer celebration of Pedalpalooza, sponsored by SHIFT2BIKES. I made a videoblog entry about it at **CENSORED**. (Why are they censoring Blogspot URL’s here? Perturbing.) Well, I guess you can see the video via VLOGDIR… at (got to RSS Aggregator tab).

    Keep’m spinning, friends.

  3. tk (unregistered) on June 22nd, 2005 @ 11:38 pm


    If you like to ride farther than you’d like to walk home, consider carrying a flat tire repair kit, a spare tube, or a bus ticket in your underseat pouch. A pump also comes in handy in flat situations, and one I like (and that fits in underseat pouches) is the Crank Bros. pump. It’s got a high volume AND a high pressure mode, so you can change the speed at which air travels into your tires–a cool feature in a compact design that will get you up to the right pressure and on the road faster.

    If you’ve got a freakish metabolism, I’d also consider ferreting away a ClifShot or an energy bar in that pack, too. You never know when that feeling of wanting to gnaw your arm off is going to hit, and you don’t want to be caught unprepared. Vitaly Paley, proprieter of Paley’s Place on NW 23rd, whips up vegan energy bars using organic ingredients. They’re available in four flavors. Check them out here:

    Hope that helps!

  4. BLF (unregistered) on June 23rd, 2005 @ 1:42 pm

    Thanks, that helps a lot! I guess I’m off to see what all will fit in that little pouch. (:

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