Portland is known as Bike City USA for many reasons. Bikes are a lot more prevalent here than anywhere else in the country—almost 6 percent of commutes are done by bicycle. While that may not sound huge, it's more than 10 times the national average. And that's not even considering the vibrant bike racing scene in Oregon, including the legendary Cross Crusade, the biggest cyclocross series in the world.
All of Portland's cyclists rely on bike shops to keep their wheels running smoothly and to upgrade their steeds with the latest. The relatively small city of Portland boasts over 70 registered shops, according to the Portland Bureau of Transportation.
Portland bike shops range from cozy garage spaces that specialize in repairing commuters to some of the most high-end spaces and successful bike businesses in the country. When you're in Portland and need a repair, a rental, or even a spiffy new bike, here's a round-up of 10 of our favorite shops.
River City has been around for over 15 years and now features a shop space of over 15,000 square feet, full of all kinds of eye candy for the cycling enthusiast. The shop was named Retailer of the Year by Bicycle Retailer and Industry News in 2010 and is consistently on the short list for the nation's top-ranked shop. Although the lineup of bikes, clothing, and components tends towards the higher end—think $5,000 bikes and Rapha clothing—there's gear for the everyday cyclist as well.
River City supports the community through offering public group rides and repair classes, sponsoring teams, and being the headline supporter of the Cross Crusades cyclocross series.
The Vibe: Items are pricey, but the staff is incredibly knowledgeable, helpful, and welcoming.
Featured Brands: Specialized, Cannondale, Cervelo, Scott, Cielo, Waterford, Time
Where: 706 SE MLK Boulevard
The name says a lot: Repair is this business' primary function, and the mechanics are all excellent. The shop has expanded with fancy new gear, but shoppers will still find plenty of consignment items; there's a decidedly old-school flavor to Sellwood, despite all the fancy carbon bits that are mixed in. Shop owner Erik Tonkin is a veritable cyclocross legend who has competed on the world's biggest stages, yet remains humbly in the background. No matter how much the shop grows, the repair stands are always full.
The Vibe: Sellwood Cycle Repair is as down-to-earth as a bike shop gets, but there's a mix of inexpensive and consignment gear along with ultra-fancy race bikes. The word "repair" is in the name of the shop for a reason.
Featured Brands: Kona is huge here (the Honky Tonk is named for the proprietor). Also: Giant and Foundry
Where: 7953 SE 13th Avenue
West End is a Specialized concept store, which means that brand's line is prominent, but there are plenty of other manufacturers in stock. The hipster/fixie crowd can't seem to get enough of the Cinelli track bikes. The rental fleet includes commuters as well as top-level road and mountain bikes.
The Vibe: West End has a decidedly upscale feel, but the shop is great at sourcing inexpensive, high-quality options as well.
Featured Brands: Specialized, Wilier, Calfee, Cinelli
Where: 1111 SW Stark Street
It's hard to think of Velo Cult existing anywhere other than in Portland, but San Diego was its original home. The shop is part bar with local beers on tap, coffee drinks, and bike films or races playing on a big projection screen. The shop is also part general hangout space, with, of course, lots of bikes and bike paraphernalia. Classic steel bikes represent the crux of Velo Cult's business, and cycle tourists and randonneurs are among its primary customers.
The Vibe: Velo Cult is a big, groovy space. Whether you're a bike dork or not, it's a great spot for grabbing a coffee, sipping a beer and spending some time chatting at the communal tables.
Featured Brands: Surly, Linus, Public Bikes, Bilenky, Rivendell
Where: 1969 NE 42nd Avenue
Cyclepath has a comprehensive lineup of mountain, road, and cyclocross bikes, and the shop sponsors several local race and community events. For those who sweat the details and want a custom look, Cyclepath can get components in custom-anodized colors and can craft custom decals for frames and wheels. The mechanics are top-flight, among the foremost experts in specialty tasks like setting up bombproof tubeless cyclocross wheels. Cyclepath also features a Retul bike-fitting system that analyzes a client's pedal stroke via motion capture.
The Vibe: The medium-sized shop is filled to the brim with bike bling and knowledge. Check out the latest cool tech and get expert advice on the perfect bike and build for you.
Featured Brands: Moots, Niner, Yeti, Pivot, Pinarello, Scott, Turner, Salsa, Look
Where: 2436 NE MLK Boulevard
Even if you've never visited the shop, you may have seen one of 21st Avenue Bicycles' entertaining, viral online videos. If you're in Northwest Portland, pop by to check out this extraordinarily welcoming shop that specializes in commuter, touring, and road bikes.
The Vibe: The shop has a true neighborhood feel, and there's even a pinball machine.
Featured Brands: Specialized, Surly, Globe, Salsa, Raleigh, Bianchi
Where: 918 NW 21st Avenue
PBS cultivates the exclusive studio atmosphere. The shop is very small, and all of the bikes are high end. Founder Molly Cameron is a renowned local cyclocrosser with European race experience. She has cobbled together a unique assortment of European-flavored bike gear, books, and accessories. Parlee is the shop's flagship bike brand, and the models are well worth a bike geek's drool.
The Vibe: Shop service is excellent, and if you're looking for an unusual frame or a custom, high-zoot build, PBS is a good option.
Featured Brands: Parlee, Ridley, Independent Fabrication, Rocky Mountain, Guru
Where: 3928 N. Williams Avenue
Commuters are Revolver's bread and butter. If you need a rack, panniers or service for your daily ride, this is an excellent choice. But unlike many commuter-centric shops, the mechanics also are well-versed in current race tech and dialing in road, mountain, and cyclocross steeds.
The Vibe: Commuters, racers, and death metal are all thrown together inside Revolver, but it works.
Featured Brands: Redline, Surly, Fuji, Electra, All City, Breezer, Vicious Cycles, Traitor Cycles, Rocky Mountain
Where: 6509-15 N Interstate Avenue
The nonprofit Community Cycling Center's mission is to get more folks on bikes. Refurbished bikes help would-be cyclists get out on the road for cheap. All proceeds from the bike shop go toward bicycle education programs for youths and adults, and top mechanics staff the repair stands.
The Vibe: The Community Cycling Center is decidedly downhome, and the staff is eager to get you and keep you up and running on two wheels.
Featured Brands: Used bikes; new and used components and gear
Where: 1700 NE Alberta Street
One thing that makes Portland a spectacular cycling city is its diversity of shops and their ability to specialize. Clever Cycles primarily rents Brompton folding bikes, as well as a selection of family and cargo bikes, perfect for touring Portland with kids. Rentals include lights, locks, stands, luggage options, and loaner helmets. Rental fees can be applied toward sale prices.
The Vibe: The clear emphasis is on the bike as practical transportation for people of all shapes, sizes, and ages.
Featured Brands: Brompton folding bikes
Where: 900 SE Hawthorne Boulevard