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Western Bikeworks absorbs Athletes Lounge to expand into triathlon market

Western Bikeworks absorbs Athletes Lounge to expand into triathlon market

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Six weeks after closing its doors for good, Portland’s only triathlon shop has found new life in an unexpected place: Another bike shop.

Early Saturday morning Western Bikeworks announced an agreement with Athletes Lounge. Western Bikeworks has locations in northwest Portland and Tigard and is one of the city’s largest bike shops. In addition to their two retail locations Western Bikeworks does a robust online business as one of four e-commerce bike brands owned by Portland-based Velotech Inc (they also run Cyclocross.com, UrbanCyclist.com and BikeTiresDirect.com).

According to a statement, Athletes Lounge owner Gary Wallesen and an undisclosed number of his former staff will now be employed by Western Bikeworks in order to, “expand the areas of expertise” into trisports. Wallesen has also been hired to spearhead a new e-commerce site at AthletesLounge.com in the coming months.









Here’s more from Western’s statement:

“In our effort to help people have great experiences on a bike, we are constantly re-evaluating our existing expertise and community involvement,” said Western Bikeworks General Manager Colin Ross. “This addition allows us to better serve triathletes by tapping into the wealth of knowledge that Gary and his crew bring along. We look forward to further expanding our growing customer base and community investment.”

“I am very excited to be part of the Western Bikeworks team of professionals. The addition of triathlon will be great news for the large and active multi-sport community,” added Gary Wallesen, former owner of Athletes Lounge.

Western Bikeworks will incorporate Wallesen’s expertise and extensive experience in this community to provide an excellent selection of both triathlon-specific bikes and swim products. He will also work closely with the existing management team, and 3 Dots Design, on a remodel of our flagship Portland store to provide a world-class shopping experience for multi-sport athletes, and anyone else who wants to have the best experience possible riding a bike.

As we reported in August Wallesen decided to close his shop due to a lack of business. He also blamed online shopping and local shops who offer deep discounts as part of what made it hard to turn a profit.

Want more local industry news? Browse our Industry Ticker archives.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

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Hillsboro-based apparel retailer TeamEstrogen.com closes doors after 18 years

Hillsboro-based apparel retailer TeamEstrogen.com closes doors after 18 years

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Team Estrogen Inc., an online cycling apparel retailer based in Hillsboro, is closing its doors after 18 years in business.

TeamEstrogen.com co-founder Susan Otcenas told Bicycle Retailer & Industry News last week that price competition and the changing behaviors of customers led to the decision to call it quits. Here’s more from BR&IN:

“We were never about price and discounts, and the world has changed. There’s a fundamental tension between the kind of hands-on customer service and high-quality staff we’ve always had and the customer demand for lower prices and free shipping,” Otcenas said. “The consumer has spoken that they value those things, and I totally understand it, but as a small company, it’s hard to compete in that space if that’s the main focus. It’s a race to the bottom, and we’re choosing not to go down that road.”







In a message posted on her site, Octenas wrote:

For the past 18 years we’ve had the privilege of helping thousands of women discover the joys of cycling and triathlon. Its been an exciting ride watching the industry grow from just a tiny handful of women’s brands and product lines in 1998, to the broad selection of women’s apparel available today.

We are proud of the role we’ve played in helping women’s cycling to develop, and trust that the brands we’ve worked with through the years will continue to listen, innovate and create the products that female cyclists need and deserve.

To our customers, we say a heart-felt Thank You! Your loyalty, support and feedback throughout our history are much appreciated.

As the name suggests, TeamEstrogen.com was known for its focus on women’s apparel and accessories. Otcenas owned the company with her partner Jeff Mendenhall.

In addition to running her business, Otcenas is a dedicated advocate who spent eight years on the Board of Directors of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. The BTA gave her an Alice Award in 2015. Otcenas was also active in supporting bicycle projects and policies in Washington County.

TeamEstrogen.com will close its virtual doors on Wednesday September 28th and will continue to support customers through the end of October.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

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Citybikes will close one location amid business downturn

Citybikes will close one location amid business downturn

The creatively painted Citybikes Annex on Ankeny and 7th is closing its doors.(Photos: Citybikes)

The creatively painted Citybikes Annex on Ankeny and 7th is closing its doors.
(Photos: Citybikes)

In another sign of a changing Portland, Citybikes is closing the doors of its flagship sales location and consolidating its business.

The shop has been run as a worker-owned cooperative since 1990. It expanded from its original repair shop location on Southeast Ankeny near 20th to a second location, the 5,000 square-foot “Annex”, on the corner of SE Ankeny and 7th in 1995. Because of dwindling sales, the Annex will close for good by the end of this year.

“The main factor,” said Citybikes owner Ryan Smith in a phone interview last week, “Is that people who used to come here, don’t live in Portland anymore.” Smith is one of nine current owners of the shop and he expects that the total number of worker-owners will be reduced to just five once the transition is complete. Citybikes used to have as many as 25 owners in peak season.

“It’s not the same old weird portland it used to be, and being the same old weird bike shop we’ve always been isn’t working anymore.”
— Ryan Smith, Citybikes

Smith, 37, says times have changed in the Portland bike market and his shop hasn’t seen positive sales numbers for nearly a decade. Smith started at Citybikes in 2006 and was inspired by the energy and enthusiasm for bikes in Portland — and Citybikes’ role in stoking it. But after experiencing 22 years of consistent sales growth, Citybikes reached a peak in 2008 and has experienced a decline ever since.

2008 was a great year for everyone in the bike world in large part because gas prices reached an all-time high and droves of people were looking for an alternative to driving. The amount of bike shops boomed along with the amount of bike riders, and there’s been a gradual shake-out ever since. In recent years, with the massive influx of new people moving to Portland, places like Citybikes that didn’t do any traditional marketing and relied solely on word-of-mouth, have had trouble competing.







“Portland is a different city than what it used to be. We need to educate ourselves on how to appeal to Portland now. It’s not the same old weird portland it used to be, and being the same old weird bike shop we’ve always been isn’t working anymore.”

The original Citybikes location at 1914 SE Ankeny.

The original Citybikes location at 1914 SE Ankeny.

Citybikes has always catered to the price-sensitive, utilitarian/DIY bike rider — the type of demographic that defined inner southeast of “old Portland.” Now, with thousands of people moving to Portland every month — people with more money and often less bicycling in their lives — Citybikes is a shop without a constituency.

“The people who used to come in here don’t live in Portland anymore,” Smith said, “There’s no affordable housing… The people who live in the five square miles around the shop have a different idea of bicycling. They either want high-end stuff or are not familiar with who we are. We have people who come in and say, ‘Wow I didn’t even know about you guys,’ and they’re our neighbors.”

Smith added that these new customers expect freshly remodeled stores and he acknowledges that Citybikes hasn’t kept up appearances as much as he’d like.

The good news for Citybikes is that they own both of their buildings. The repair shop location is much smaller than the Annex, but since they own the large, three-story house it’s attached to they’ll have room for storage and employee offices. And once the Annex space is rented out that will provide some stable income as well.

No matter how you look at it, it’s another sign of an end to an era.

You still have a few months to shop at the Citybikes Annex. All their new bikes in stock are 20 percent off and prices will drop until everything is sold. Stay tuned for a big sale of used parts later in fall.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

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Athletes Lounge, a fixture in Portland’s triathlon scene, is closing

Athletes Lounge, a fixture in Portland’s triathlon scene, is closing

The Athletes Lounge tent at a race.

The Athletes Lounge tent at a race.

Portland’s only bike shop that specialized in the needs of triathletes is closing its doors. Athletes Lounge in northwest on Vaughn and 26th plans to close by October 1st.

Gary Wallesen has owned the shop for nearly six years after purchasing it from its previous owner who had run it since 2007.

Wallesen says the business isn’t strong enough to remain open. “Last year the numbers were down, this year numbers really down,” he shared via email last week. And he also offered some external reasons he feels the bike shop business is especially challenging these days. “The business environment is changing, online [shopping] is growing, a shop in town discounts everything and hurts all others. There is a big inventory of new bikes in Portland and the market.” Wallesen said the triathlon market is particularly flat (pun intended).

He even shared one cautionary tale that might point to larger trends: “I think people are looking to ride, but the roads are getting more crowded and a little less safe. So markets that take riders of the road might be doing better.”

Overall, Wallesen says the issues he dealt with are likely impacting other bike shops. “Change is happening. I really don’t know who will survive. Our city is going through a shift.”







The closure of Athletes Lounge will have a big impact on the local triathlon scene. The shop was an ardent supporter of local races and, as shops often do, acted as a gathering place for enthusiasts old and new. Here’s what the Portland Triathlon Club tweeted upon hearing the news:

Portlander Dan Silvernail bought a bike from Athletes Lounge last year. He said not having the shop will leave a void because, “No other bike shop in Portland knows the first thing about triathlon, in fact most bike shops laugh at triathletes. And newbie triathletes will no longer have a local source to help them with technical advice.”

In addition to selling many top brands of triathlon bikes and accessories, the shop also offered high-end rentals for people who wanted to compete but didn’t have a bike.

Ironically, Wallesen tells us that the store has been busy since he announced the closure. “Now that things are on sale, people want to shop. Retail isn’t dead, it’s just not on sale.”

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Chris DiStefano hired for new marketing and public affairs position at River City Bicycles

Chris DiStefano hired for new marketing and public affairs position at River City Bicycles

Dave Guettler (L) and Chris DiStefano outside River City's central eastside location. (Photo: River City Bicycles)

Dave Guettler (L) and Chris DiStefano outside River City’s central eastside location.
(Photo: River City Bicycles)

Bicycle industry veteran Chris DiStefano has accepted a position as marketing and public affairs director for River City Bicycles.

DiStefano’s career in the bike world spans over two decades and he has held high profile roles with Shimano, Chris King Precision Components, and most recently Rapha, where he was communications director for North America. River City Bicycles was founded by Dave Guettler in 1995 and is one of the most successful independently-owned bike shops in America. Put together, these two powerhouses of business and advocacy are very likely to make huge waves in Portland and beyond.

In past positions DiStefano has embraced his role as a lobbyist for bike product makers and has proven to be an effective advocate. He’s been a loud voice pushing for mountain bike trails, he helped ferry the data-sharing relationship, between Strava and the Oregon Department of Transportation, and was picked by ODOT to serve on their Bike and Pedestrian Plan update committee. While at Chris King he made several trips to the National Bike Summit and even accepted invitations to the White House where he forged a working relationship with Secretary of Commercie Penny Pritzker.

Check out the official press release below:





River City Bicycles Hires Chris DiStefano For Marketing & Public Affairs – Portland’s award-winning bicycle retailer to build on advocacy

River City Bicycles today announces the hiring of Chris DiStefano in the role of Marketing and Public Affairs. This new position reflects the growth of the business and its position in a city where bicycling plays an increasingly important role. Chris comes with 20-plus years of experience within the Industry, having most recently served as Communications Director for Rapha North America, also of Portland, Oregon. This hiring, announced just as National Bike Month kicks off, is a signal that 2016 will be a growth year for the business.

“River City Bicycles has long been the place I visit to tap into all that is happening with bicycles,” says Chris DiStefano. “I am a gear guy through and through and this is where I have gone to see the latest and greatest. That said, it’s been the people of River City for whom I care the most and why I’ve returned time after time. Dave Guettler, founder and owner of River City Bicycles, said this to commemorate his 20th anniversary in 1995, ‘It seems to me there is a lot of “us” in Portland and there is even more of Portland in River City.’ I really connected to this belief and the opportunity to join this organization is the perfect platform for what I enjoy doing. I look forward to connecting increasingly more Portlanders to the power of the bicycle through what Dave and his team have built. I am equally as excited, as this is an election year, to share what our organization knows with this city’s leadership as we all work to maintain Portland’s bicycling leadership position.”

“Everyone at River City Bicycles is familiar with Chris’s work within the bicycle business but also as an advocate for cycling and the City of Portland,” says Dave Guettler. “We see this appointment as further proof of our commitment to being the very best in the business and serving our customers beyond their expectations. I am confident with Chris here that River City Bicycles will continue to lead Portland, a city we all love dearly, both in the saddle and in City Hall.”

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Shop Visit: Pedego Electric Bikes now open in downtown Portland

Shop Visit: Pedego Electric Bikes now open in downtown Portland

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Pedego’s storefront on SW 2nd
(with new awning that just went up today!).
(Photo: Tommy Connell/Pedego)

Pedego is one of the largest and well-known names in the electric bike world and now they’ve got a retail outpost in downtown Portland. We mentioned the shop a few weeks ago and now that they’re open for business I swung in the other day for a peek.

The shop itself is located on a busy intersection on Southwest 2nd Avenue south of Stark — just across the street from legendary brunch spot Mother’s Bistro & Bar. (Store employee David Peters said he’s already had nearly a dozen people from Mother’s wander into the shop.)

Inside the shop Pedego has its full line of e-bikes on display, as well as several non-electric models from Creme Cycles.

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Portland’s creative bike shop employees are at it again

Portland’s creative bike shop employees are at it again

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Still from the shop’s new video.
Watch it below.

Yes I’m very biased, but I honestly think Portland has the most creative and interesting bike shop owners in the country.

I mean, seriously: We’ve got a bike shop that runs out of a converted yellow school bus (that’s been painted purple); a shop that actually promotes other bike shops and will issue you a library card to checkout saddles before you buy one; a shop that was the first in America to import dutch cargo bikes (thus sparking a nationwide craze); a shop that has created a following for their brilliant newspaper ads, and a shop that has become famous worldwide for its unique blend of welcoming attitude, bar offerings, and bike collection. And I could go on and on.

And now the trend continues thanks to two shops who have mastered video marketing: 21st Avenue Bicycles and Well Tuned Fast (WTF) Bikes.

First up, we have 21st Avenue Bicycles. We love this shop. Not only are they a sponsor of my adventure riding habit, but they always seem to having fun whether they’re working or riding. Their recent creative advertising ploy has to do with streetcar tracks — a familiar nemesis to riders everywhere and something they face often due to their northwest Portland location. Once they’d had enough of the crashes and carnage, they set out in the name of science to do something about it. Check out their new video:

Streetcar Track Science from 21st Avenue Bicycles on Vimeo.





And then we’ve got Mr. Tom Daly from WTF Bikes. I follow him on social media and his “WTF Pro Tip!” Vines always make me laugh. They’re short and to the point and delivered in a brutally honest and funny way. Tom uploads several a week. Here are a few of my favorites (they loop automatically, just click each one for sound):

We love our shops here in Portland. Especially the ones who keep things fun.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Bike shop news: GenZe e-bikes now open, Crank moves and doubles in size

Bike shop news: GenZe e-bikes now open, Crank moves and doubles in size

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Crank’s new storefront on Southeast Ankeny.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The only constant in Portland’s bike shop scene is change. On that note, I bring you updates on two southeast Portland shops that have opened up new doors in the past few weeks.

Crank Bike Shop moves to Southeast Ankeny

When Crank opened in 2010 I rolled over to look for it and, given what I knew about its general location near Southeast 28th Avenue, I just assumed it would be on Ankeny. But it wasn’t. It was one block over on Ash. That was a bummer because Ankeny is the very busy bike boulevard in that part of town. So imagine my delight when I found out the other day they’ve moved to… Ankeny! Yes, after many months of hard work, the folks at Crank are enjoying twice the space in a wonderfully remodeled retail store on Ankeny just before 28th.

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Justin Tutor.

I talked to Justin Tutor during a visit earlier this month and he said they always wanted to be on Ankeny and the opportunity finally arrived. Now they’ve got 4,000 square-feet of space that includes a nice and open showroom, a bar to relax on, and a large service area. The shop sells great looking bikes from Soma, Public, Marin and Felt. And if you’re into bamboo, they also build bikes for the local Zambikes importer and have a few of them on display. Crank is a great neighborhood bike shop and now they’ve got a prime location. Stop in next time you ride by and say “hi” to Justin and the crew.





GenZe Electric Bikes (and scooters)

Portland has another e-bike business in town, and it’s a big one. GenZe is an off-shoot of Mahindra, a massive, Mumbai-based company that makes all sorts of vehicles and happens to be the largest manufacturer of tractors in the world. Last week I swung by their new Portland retail store (their firs in the U.S.) on the corner of Southeast Main and Grand (1235 SE Grand) to learn more about their e-bike offerings and meet their Portland area Marketing Manager Tim Navarrette.

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Tim said GenZe is a result of the company “innovating around urban mobility.” They offer both an electric scooter (which is really cool by the way) and a few e-bike models. With their vast manufacturing resources and know-how, GenZe wants to lower the bar for electric vehicles (Tim said it’s about the “democratization of EVs”). GenZe’s Michigan-made and designed scooter is just $2,999 while their e-bikes sell for around $1,500. That’s low in the electric market.

The GenZe e-bike comes in three sizes and two models (a standard frame and a step-through). The energy boost comes from three sources: your own pedaling; a twist-throttle, or via pedal-assist. The 36-volt lithium-ion battery is integrated into the downtube and can be easily removed for charging. The 250-watt motor is in the rear hub. The bike tops out at 20 mph (as per state law) and comes with 26-inch wheels. Roll over and give one a test-ride. You’ll also find GenZe e-bikes at Field Electric (1408 SE Cesar E Chavez) and The E-Bike Store (809 N Rosa Parks Way).

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Industry Ticker: Velofix mobile bike shop now open for business in Portland

Industry Ticker: Velofix mobile bike shop now open for business in Portland

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The mobile bike shop wars are heating up.

Velofix, a Vancouver, B.C.-based company that launched in 2013, is now open for business in Portland.

Back in June we reported that another mobile bike shop company Beeline Bikes was looking for a Portland outlet. They’re still looking. Beeline Marketing Director Peter Small shared with us last week that they’re hoping to have their first Portland shop up and running before this spring.

Meanwhile, Velofix says their first van in Portland has been open for business since January 11th. Customers can book appointments on-line then sit back and wait for the big red van to show up. Will these bike shops on wheels disrupt Portland’s existing bike shop biz? That remains to be seen.

Check out the Velofix press release below for more info:

Mobile Bike Service Comes to Portland

Portland, OR The typical bicycle repair scenario goes like this: find your bike rack, install it on your car, load your bike up, drive it to your local bike shop, check it in and watch it get wheeled into the black hole that is the back room for up to two weeks. For some, this system simply doesn’t work.

As of January 11, cyclists have a more convenient option for bike repair with Velofix mobile bicycle repair service. Customers simply book an appointment online at Velofix.com and the van comes to their home or office, offering on-site service or pickup/drop-off options. The van houses a full service bike repair shop equipped for all levels of service, from installing chains to hydraulic brake bleeds.


Velofix’s Portland franchise is owned and operated by co-founders Bill Fuller and Brandon Bruins and head mechanic Brian Link. Link boasts over 15 years of bicycle fitting and service experience at major Trek retailers in Portland and Virginia. Bruins and Fuller are lifetime cyclists with over 10 years of Portland bike shop management experience.

Velofix was founded in Vancouver, B.C. by University of Portland graduate David Xausa, triathlete and marathoner Chris Guillemet, and mechanic and three-time Canadian national track champion Boris Martin. Velofix launched its first Mercedes Sprinter van in January 2013. It has since expanded to over 30 vans in over 20 markets.

For more information contact Brandon Bruins via brandon@velofix.com.

Want more local bike industry news? Check out our ticker archives. If you have a tip or would like to see your news posted in this column, please drop us a line.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org


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Sellwood bike shop, The Bike Commuter, closing doors after six years in business

Sellwood bike shop, The Bike Commuter, closing doors after six years in business

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The Bike Commuter at SE 17th and Clatsop.

The Bike Commuter, a neighborhood bike shop that has served the Sellwood area since 2010, is closing its doors.

The Bike Commuter was a family-friendly, neighborhood bike shop owned by Eric and Naihma Deady. When it opened in January 2010, the shop was located at SE 13th and Umatilla on the main bikeway that took people from the Springwater on the Willamette to the Springwater Corridor.

10 months after opening, the shop moved a few doors down. Then in the summer of 2014, they made a major move into a much larger space at SE Clatsop and 17th. Along with more space the Deady’s aimed to make the store a “cycle lounge” with beer, music and community events.


Eric Deady posted news about the closing to the shop’s Facebook page on January 2nd. Reached via email, Deady told me he’s simply ready for a new adventure. “I’m closing mostly because I just have itchy feet,” he wrote. “I don’t want to stagnate, or get too settled in my career. I’m ready to see what else is out there for me. I’ll miss the people, and ‘my sanctuary’, but I’m ready for a change!”

Deady plans to take a few months off and see where he ends up, which might — or might not — be in the bike industry.

But before then, there’s a sale to be had. The Bike Commuter will be open for another month or so until all remaining inventory is gone. Everything in the store is 50 percent off, and pints of local beers are $3 “until the kegs are gone!”.

The closing of The Bike Commuter leaves Sellwood Cycle Repair (7953 SE 13th) as the only remaining shop in the area.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org


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