• Unpopular thoughts about bicycle lighting

    Bike lights: people think you need bright lights for darker areas, and little or nothing for well-lit cities. The opposite is true. In truly dark rural areas, where your pupils can dilate, a little light goes a long way. Mixing it up with motor traffic in town means you need car-bright lights (>50 lux) just to be seen reliably. Exception for the dark sticks is if you're riding fast (long downhills): then you need a beam you won't outrun.

    We're great believers in bright lights, as vastly more effective than hi-vis "avid cyclist!" uniforms, and more significant to safety overall than body armor (crash helmets). Harm prevention beats mitigation. Of course, maxing everything out is safest of all, but as a matter of budgetary priority, we say lighting should come first. This is also opposite common priorities.

    Generator lighting systems, built around dynamo hubs and permanently wired LED lamps fore and aft, are the gold standard. They are now plenty bright enough to be conspicuous in broad daylight, and efficient enough to add only imperceptible drag.

    There's a reason it's the law most places that motorcycle headlamps must shine full-time: daytime running lights save the lives of people drivers otherwise too often say they "didn't see." The technology is in place for similar logic to apply to bicycles. Popular opinion and culture lag behind logic and technology.

    To be meaningful for daytime use, you need the very brightest lights of all. A note about brightness: most bike lights sold in the US (generally battery/USB) cite lumens. Lights sold where people are more serious about bikes as transportation (generally dynamo) cite lux. This makes it not possible to compare brightnesses directly. Most makers citing lume...Continue reading...


We rent Brompton folding bikes, and sometimes a few other kinds. Bikes come complete with lights, locks, fenders, ample luggage options, etc. Bells are mandatory, no exceptions.

Part of our purpose in offering rentals is to let prospective buyers try our unusual bikes over longer periods. If you buy a bike similar to your rental within a week of return, we refund up to a week's rental fee toward the purchase.

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Expert mechanics service what we sell in our four-stand workshop, and also offer general tune-ups, repair, and consultation on all kinds of bicycles. Schedule online or call for an appointment.

We specialize in modern internal hub gearing, generator lighting, and modifications for greater comfort and utility.

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About us

We are Portland’s first and largest bicycle shop devoted entirely to bicycles as primary transportation, serving urban households like ours seeking to avoid dependence on cars with practical, stylish bikes for everyday use: not just “commuting” bikes, but family transport, cargo, and folding bikes, all equipped for comfort, safety, and reliability. We also sell street clothing and accessories that support a practical biking lifestyle in all seasons.

We are not motivated by the rising costs of motoring, ecological guilt, or a body-sculpting regimen. Bicycling is not a sacrifice or a statement. We ride instead of drive because it is pleasurable and convenient, simply the best way to get around Portland. We do not sell sporting goods or fitness equipment: fitness happens by riding your bike right past the gym in the course of your normal errands.

We opened in June 2007, after our two families became partners to help make Portland an even better place to live and work, slow down in, ride every day. In a town with 70 other bike shops, we expanded our family-friendly shop three times through the recession to 7000 square feet, and in 2012 were named Best Urban Bike Shop in the United States by Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.