It feels like the calm before a storm, or the eye of a storm: a moment of stillness before a few big happenings we expect will keep us too busy to tell you about as they happen. Spoiler alert!
We’re growing again
For the third time in four mostly recessionary years, we’re tearing down walls in the historic Red Men Hall in our hasty ambition to Slow Portland Down with more bikes. D is for Demolition: D-Day is 6 June. We expect to stay open through remodeling, with the loud dusty work occurring off hours.
We are acquiring the adjacent 2200′sq corner unit at 900 SE Hawthorne, currently Kush Carpets. Our street-facing windows will increase four-fold. No longer will we feel compelled to greet visitors to our narrow front showroom with “there’s more in back up the steps to the right!” No longer will we have to ponder the opportunity cost of the frequent observation “wow, you guys are much bigger on the inside than the outside!” We hope that you will appreciate a far less cluttered, more complete and coherent, bright and airy presentation of our stuff, with far fewer trips to the basement required to try other models, sizes, and colors.
WorkCycles: coming back with a bang
Our Amsterdam supplier WorkCycles never went anywhere, but our selection of their bikes has been rather thin for nearly a year, and that’s been a shame. When we opened four years ago, WorkCycles bikes were our most distinctive and exclusive offerings, our flagships, kicking off in Portland a trend (dare we say) still in infancy: family and cargo bikes, and heavy-duty, upright, full-function city bikes unlike any previously sold in North America. To this day, Portlanders look to us as ground zero of Dutchness, and shortly we’ll be able again to oblige, better than ever.
On their way to us now are over 100 of arguably the best-speced urban transport bikes ever. They’re coming back not because they are fashionable, or retro, or even because they are Dutch, but because they are the most evolved examples of the most timeless utilitarian forms in the 120 or so years of modern bicycle time. Don’t hate on the pretty: these “euro-lifestyle accoutrements” are the hardest working dogs on the street, any weather, any hour, with every amenity built in, and all the greasy grimy parts sealed away. My WorkCycles Omafiets has been parked in the rain for nearly 4 years, used near daily hauling people and goods all over and beyond Portland, and there’s still original factory grease on the chain.
Since October we’ve been setting the pieces in place, adding to WorkCycles’ already best-in-class city and bakfiets cargo bikes the new NuVinci continuously variable hub, geared extra low and 360% wide, Busch & Müller LED lighting, and higher-spec brakes. The buttery NuVinci hub is something we’ve been testing quietly on our own bikes over 2 product generations for years, and selling for months on custom builds and the popular Breezer Infinity model now in stock. We think it’s a game changer, or nearly so, particularly for utility bikes where reliability, ease of use, and wide range are paramount.
Together these improvements quash the very few beefs we’ve heard or held ourselves about these bikes in years of hard use. While the selection is broad, quantities of each particular size and model are limited. These builds are exclusive to us, at least for now. If you want one, get in touch to pre-order. We ship! Meanwhile, we still have a small selection of WorkCycles bikes with still-nice specifications, at lower prices than the new, super-premium ones coming.
Pilen Lyx Portlandia: soon
A customer recommended Swedish Pilen bikes to our attention nearly a year ago. Reminiscent of charming Kronan bikes aesthetically, but of higher quality and specification, they remained near the back of our minds until the US distributor of Christiania family trikes solicited our interest in his firm importing them. One obstacle was that they came standard, like many if not most European utility bikes, with backpedal or coaster brakes. Maybe it’s an American thing, or perhaps just West coast, but we’ve found it difficult to sell bikes without front and rear hand brakes above a certain very cheap and basic overall quality level. To our pleasant surprise, Pilen very quickly prepared special sample bikes addressing our short list of concerns, and sent them to us for evaluation.
They were awesome! Lighter and lighter duty than WorkCycles, but still very respectable as transport bikes, with cleanly finished chromoly frames and unexpectedly fast, fun, supple ride qualities, we were sold. Rolling up all our special specifications into the “Portlandia” designation, we ordered 16. Red bird reflective safety art stickers sold separately. They’re on the way. 2 frames styles, 4 colors. One’s now in our rental fleet; come check it out!
There are more surprises in the pipe, just back a little further.