Two Portland bike shops close their doors for good

Two Portland bike shops close their doors for good

Sign on an empty Cascade Cycling.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

By the end of this month, Portland’s long list of bike shops will be a little shorter. Cascade Cycling in north Portland has already closed its doors and the Bicycle Repair Collective in southeast plans to be closed by the end of this month. Both of these were relatively small, neighborhood shops that focused on commuter and utility bikes.

Cascade Cycling (122 N Killingsworth) was opened by Ben Bartlett in the summer of 2006. Ben, aged 57, lives in the neighborhood and wanted to sell bikes that he (and other folks in the over-50 set) would feel comfortable riding. The shop specialized in custom builds of sturdy commuter bikes from Norco, Pake, Soma, and other brands.

(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

We first heard Ben was calling it quits a few weeks ago and by the time I went over to check things out, the shop was completely empty. All that remains is a sign that says: “Thanks to our loyal customers for your patronage these last seven years.

Unfortunately, we cannot continue to serve you.” We haven’t learned why the shop closed, but sources say they’ve been told it was due to Ben’s health issues. We’ll update this story if/when we heard more.

The other shop we’re sad to see go is the Bicycle Repair Collective (4438 SE Belmont). This shop opened in 1976 and has been a neighborhood mainstay for nearly 40 years. Because it’s a collective, the shop doesn’t technically have owners, but it’s been run by Gary Church and his sister Virginia Church for as long as anyone can remember (25 years for Gary, 35 years for Virginia).

I caught up with Gary on the phone yesterday.

He said at 66 and 70 years-old respectively, he and Virginia are simply ready to move on and enjoy their retirement. “We’ve spent enough time here. We tried to recruit someone to take over,” Gary said, “But there wasn’t anyone we felt was qualified.” “This place has been here for so long it was just time to take a slice out of the pie that’s getting awfully thin for bike shops in Portland,” he continued.

Reader Garlynn Woodsong wishes the Bicycle Repair Collective had stayed open. “When they’re gone, I don’t know that Portland will have another collective space dedicated to providing low-cost facilities for people to learn to repair, and work on, their own bicycles… It will be a sad thing to lose this historic niche in our bicycle community.”

On a happier note, because the Collective is technically a not-for-profit corporation, Gary explained to us that according to the bylaws, the assets of the company are held in trust for the community at large. After a sale which will be open to the public starting tomorrow, whatever doesn’t get sold will be donated to the Community Cycling Center.

The sale starts this Saturday. Everything will be half off. Head over to bid this shop a final farewell and thank the Church’s for their service over the years.

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