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Thieves break into Gladys Bikes on Alberta, steal two bikes

Thieves break into Gladys Bikes on Alberta, steal two bikes

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Damage to Gladys Bikes’ front door.
(Photo: Leah Benson)

Bike shop owner Leah Benson is Portland’s latest bike theft victim.

Benson owns Gladys Bikes at 2905 NE Alberta Street. She shared the bad news earlier this evening: “I received a call in the wee hours of the morning telling me that someone had shattered our front door and broken into the shop.”

The thieves made off with two bikes and Benson is urging everyone to keep an eye out for a Giant Liv Alight city bike and a Bianchi Lupo drop bar road bike. We know how stolen bikes tend to turn up shortly after being stolen, so time is of the essence! (Scroll down for photos of the bikes.)

Shop break-ins are all too common in Portland. We’ve reported on several in the past few years. Between November 2011 and February 2012, a thief known as the “window pane bandit” hit four separate shops.

Here are the two bikes that were stolen:

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46cm Bianchi Lupo.
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Size small Giant Liv “Alight City”.

Some shops have insurance that will cover the cost of stolen goods and property damage; but Gladys Bikes is still in its infancy as a business and Benson confided in her customers via Facebook that “We’re small and insurance doesn’t cover everything.” “Having a few thousands dollars worth of goods and window replacement,” she wrote, “isn’t the easiest pill to swallow.”

While Benson is obviously disturbed by what happened, she’s putting it all in perspective. “I’m saddened, I’m stressed and I’m angry,” she shared, “but I am also fully aware that Gladys Bikes getting broken into is not the worst thing that happened last night [a reference to what happened in Ferguson].”

Benson says if you’ve been thinking about getting a tune-up or getting a certain accessory, now would be a great time to show Gladys Bikes some retail shopping support.

The post Thieves break into Gladys Bikes on Alberta, steal two bikes appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Bike shop spreads the cyclocross gospel with ‘CX Curious’ workshops

Bike shop spreads the cyclocross gospel with ‘CX Curious’ workshops

cx curious team

The CX Curious crowd at Saturday’s Cross
Crusade opener at Alpenrose Dairy included
Noel Mickelberry, Kyla Yeoman, Lindsay Walker,
Katie Popoff, Kathy Lombardi, Claudia Martinez, Melia
Tichenor, Nate Semm, Julia Himmelstein and Allan Rudwick.
(Photos courtesy Gladys Bikes)

Gladys Bikes, the woman-centric bike shop on Northeast Alberta Street, keeps coming up with interesting new projects that prove how important great retailers are to a city’s bike infrastructure.

The latest we’ve caught wind of: A series of low-cost courses for people who identify as “‘cross curious.” As in cyclocross, of course.

“It was an idea that came from our advisory board – GAB, the Gladys Advisory Board,” Gladys Bikes owner Leah Benson said in an interview Thursday. “The more conversations we had, the more we realized a lot of people were interested but had never tried it.”

So Benson — who had known about the freestyle, skill-oriented racing style for years but never seen it as something for her — put the word around and recruited friends who were into ‘cross to loan their bikes to the newcomers or visit the five-class series to teach the basics of the sport.

She said 20 to 25 people signed up.

“We met every other week in parks and did some clinics,” said Benson, who laid out a trial ‘cross course in Irving Park for the class to practice on. “But more than that just got to know each other because we felt we had a solid community to do it with.”

Benson said it wasn’t hard to find people to help with the series of workshops, which cost $50 for all sessions.

“It’s that people just want more people to be part of a sport, that they love it so much themselves that they want to share it,” Benson said. “Especially women want other women to race against.”

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CX Curious graduate Julia, described on the Gladys
Bikes Facebook page as “the smiliest racer
of all time,” tackles a hill in training.

Benson said the squad included “people of all ages and genders,” but was mostly female.

The series culminated on Saturday with the annual Cross Crusade opener at Alpenrose Dairy.

“Doing it with a group of people who had never done it before, I think we all brought our own cheering sections,” Benson said. “Every corner that we turned, there was, like, huge masses cheering us on.”

Though the series wasn’t a major moneymaker given Benson’s time investment, she hopes to offer the classes again as part of her shop’s regular business and community development efforts. And she’s looking forward to her own next cross race with her new community of racers.

“We have a pretty active Facebook message board of how people are going to get to their next race,” Benson said. “And what color socks they’re going to wear. All the stuff that you want ‘cross to be.”

— Special thanks to Sellwood Cycle Repair, the official sponsor of BikePortland’s 2014 cyclocross coverage.

The post Bike shop spreads the cyclocross gospel with ‘CX Curious’ workshops appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Portlanders show off bikes, fashion at ‘Dress Like Your Bike’ party (photos)

Portlanders show off bikes, fashion at ‘Dress Like Your Bike’ party (photos)

Julia Himmelstein at Tuesday’s Dress Like Your Bike event.
(Photos by M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Did you ever start to realize that you’ve begun to physically resemble your bicycle?

That was the question of the night in a North Portland bike shop Wednesday as dozens of bike riders coordinated their color choices to pose for free shots from a local fashion photographer.

The event was a promotion for Quick Study Clothing, the label of local bike-friendly dress designer Caitlin McCall, and Gladys Bikes, a mostly-just-for-women bike shop on Williams Avenue. Behind the official camera was Shola Lawson (I decided I was sort of the “making of” documentarian for her shoot) and on the tables were kettle corn, Oreos and champagne. It was a hoot.

“Caitlin and I had wanted to do something together, so we went out for coffee one time and said, what kind of event would be fun where we could talk about bikes and dressing up?” Gladys Bikes owner Leah Benson explained.

Lawson’s official (and much more polished) photos will be available on the Gladys Bikes Facebook page and Quick Study Clothing Facebook page on Friday, but the organizers let us hang out to capture some of the fun. Here’s a selection of the lineup Wednesday:

Anna Kirgiogis.

Keegan Greenwald.

Amanda Miller.

Amanda Lee Harrison.

Lale Lorski.

Claudia Martinez.

Emily Harris.

Jennifer Young.

Andie Thompson.

Jeremy Young.

Kelley Goodwin.

Rachel W. (I didn’t manage to get her last name.)

Shannon Weber Long.

Valerie Pufahl.

Stephanie Edman.

The gathering comes together Wednesday. Fashion designer and co-organizer Caitlin McCall is in the top left.

Photographer Shola Lawson.

Benson said a “winner” from the evening will also be chosen and posted to the Gladys Bikes Facebook and Instagram feeds on Friday.

Instead of competing, local shops spread the love by promoting each other

Instead of competing, local shops spread the love by promoting each other

Still from “2 Bike Shops in Love” promotional video.

Two north Portland bike shops just three miles away from each other have opted for an embrace rather than competition. Gladys Bikes (3808 N Williams Ave #132) and Kenton Cycle Repair (2020 N McClellan St) have launched “Two Bike Shops in Love”, a novel marketing campaign that actually encourages customers to shop at another store.

During the week-long promotion, which runs January 18th through the 25th, when someone buys a product or service from one shop, they’ll get a coupon for 10% off at the other one.

Why would two bike shops owners — especially with shops that are relatively close to each other that cater to similar types of customers — encourage people to shop at a store other than their own?

“We like each other,” is the simple reason given by Gladys Bikes owner Leah Benson. Benson and Kenton Cycle Repair co-owners Rich Walker and Starmichael Bowman met several years ago and have stayed in touch since opening their respective shops.
Here’s more from the press release:

We admire the work that each other’s shops do.

The guys at Kenton are really excited to see that Gladys is attempting to create a welcoming bike shop that caters first and foremost to women bicycle riders. Also, they think that Gladys Bikes’ Saddle Library is totally awesome and wish that they had come up with the idea first.

Leah has a lot of admiration for KCR’s approachable, affordable and spot-on service. She thinks you’d be hard-pressed to find more a passionate and friendly bike mechanic than either Rich or Star. Additionally, she thinks it’s cool that they also build custom frames and racks at super reasonable prices.

And they even made a sweet little video:

The owners figure that as small shops with no marketing budget, they have more to gain by promoting each other rather than competing. And, on a less serious note, Benson says, “This promotion allows us to laugh at ourselves and have some fun. And sometimes that’s all the reason you need.”

Learn more about these shops via the BikePortland archives:
Kenton Cycle Repair now open for business (November 2012)
New shop on Williams Ave, ‘Gladys Bikes’, caters to women (October 2013)

Instead of competing, local shops spread the love by promoting each other

Instead of competing, local shops spread the love by promoting each other

Still from “2 Bike Shops in Love” promotional video.

Two north Portland bike shops just three miles away from each other have opted for an embrace rather than competition. Gladys Bikes (3808 N Williams Ave #132) and Kenton Cycle Repair (2020 N McClellan St) have launched “Two Bike Shops in Love”, a novel marketing campaign that actually encourages customers to shop at another store.

During the week-long promotion, which runs January 18th through the 25th, when someone buys a product or service from one shop, they’ll get a coupon for 10% off at the other one.

Why would two bike shops owners — especially ones that are relatively close to each other and cater to similar types of customers — encourage people to shop at a store other than their own?

“We like each other,” is the simple reason given by Gladys Bikes owner Leah Benson. Benson and Kenton Cycle Repair co-owners Rich Walker and Starmichael Bowman met several years ago and have stayed in touch since opening their respective shops.
Here’s more from the press release:

We admire the work that each other’s shops do.

The guys at Kenton are really excited to see that Gladys is attempting to create a welcoming bike shop that caters first and foremost to women bicycle riders. Also, they think that Gladys Bikes’ Saddle Library is totally awesome and wish that they had come up with the idea first.

Leah has a lot of admiration for KCR’s approachable, affordable and spot-on service. She thinks you’d be hard-pressed to find more a passionate and friendly bike mechanic than either Rich or Star. Additionally, she thinks it’s cool that they also build custom frames and racks at super reasonable prices.

And they even made a sweet little video:

The owners figure that as small shops with no marketing budget, they have more to gain by promoting each other rather than competing. And, on a less serious note, Benson says, “This promotion allows us to laugh at ourselves and have some fun. And sometimes that’s all the reason you need.”

Learn more about these shops via the BikePortland archives:
Kenton Cycle Repair now open for business (November 2012)
New shop on Williams Ave, ‘Gladys Bikes’, caters to women (October 2013)

Local bike shop offers library card for saddles

Local bike shop offers library card for saddles

Gladys Bikes bike shop-10

Saddle selection at Gladys Bikes.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Remember Gladys Bikes? The small shop on N Williams Ave opened back in October with an aim to cater specifically to women. When we visited the shop one of the things that stuck out was that owner Leah Benson stocked a relatively huge selection of saddles. Now it turns out she’s even more serious about getting people the right-fitting saddle than we imagined.

Benson has unveiled a nifty program called the “Saddle Library” Here’s how it works (via the Gladys Bikes website):

  • Step 1: Come into the shop and talk with our knowledgeable staff about your saddle needs and concerns. We’ll make recommendations about which saddle(s) might be a good match for you.
  • Step 2: For $25 you get a Library Card, which gives you access to check out any of the saddles in our loaning library. For each saddle you check out you get one week try it out on your bike.
  • Step 3: Take the saddle home with you. Go on a typical ride. Then go on another one. Maybe one more for good measure. How does it feel? Decide if it’s the saddle of your dreams.
  • Step 4: Dream saddle? Bring the test saddle back in and we’ll trade it out for a brand new one. Not a love match? We’ll get you set up on a different saddle for you to take home and try out.

Seems like a great way to make sure folks get the saddle that’s just right for them. And for good measure, if you do decide to buy one, Gladys Bikes will put your $25 library card towards the purchase.

The current selection includes 21 different models from brands like Planet Bike, Brooks, Fizik, Selle Italia, and Terry.

Learn more at GladysBikes.com.

UPDATE: As someone pointed out below, Western Bike Works (NW 17th and Lovejoy) has a similar saddle demo program. $10 to try any saddle for a week, then have that amount applied to purchase. Full details here.

New shop on Williams Ave, ‘Gladys Bikes’, caters to women

New shop on Williams Ave, ‘Gladys Bikes’, caters to women

Gladys Bikes bike shop-11

Leah Benson, owner of Gladys Bikes.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland has a new bike shop. But before you react with, “Really? Another one!?”, keep in mind that unlike any other shop in Portland, Gladys Bikes (Facebook) at 3808 N Williams caters specifically to women.

The shop is the work of 30-year old north Portland resident Leah Benson. I stopped by yesterday to check out the space and learn more about her.

A native of Wisconsin, Benson moved to Portland five years ago. She previously worked for Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc., a non-profit that provides education and advocacy for women going into non-traditional employment (mostly building and construction trades). Benson has also been an active volunteer with the Community Cycling Center.

While she’s ridden her bike her entire life (“I grew up in the middle of nowhere, so I had to ride my bike if I wanted to do anything,” she said) and started biking to work in her early 20s, it wasn’t until she moved to Portland that biking became a larger part of her life. “This is such an easy city to become immersed in bicycles,” she said, “it became not just something I did to get from point A to point B, but so much an integral part of my life.”

“Sometimes it’s nice to be able to walk in and say, ‘Oh, there actually is something that relates to me and fits my body already’.”
— Leah Benson

As she got more into cycling, she felt like something was missing during trips to her local bike shop. “It just never felt like there was a place for me,” is how she put it. Then one night, while talking with some friends (“To be honest, were griping a bit”) she recalled that, “I was like, ‘Man, I just wish there was a women’s specific bike shop!’ and I thought, you know what, I like new challenges and this is something that’s important to me. I’m going to give it a try.”

One-and-a-half years later she opened Gladys Bikes.

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The shop is in the HUB Building on N. Williams Avenue, which is also where female bike entrepreneurs Natalie Ramsland of Sweetpea Bicycles and Jude Gerace of Sugar Wheel Works are located.

“It’s really hard to strike a balance between being honest about the female experience and not just making blanket statements and stereotypes about what it means to be a woman who rides a bike.”
— Leah Benson

The space is small, and for now at least, it’s sparsely populated with products. Benson says she’s on a month-to-month lease and she wants to start small, grow into the space over time, and then eventually move into a larger location. That strategy makes sense, since a bike shop that caters to women is a new concept in Portland.

“In a lot of ways it’s an experiment,” Benson shared, “Looking to figure out a way to cater to a fairly wide swath of women and do it in a way that’s successful. It’s really hard to strike a balance between being honest about the female experience and not just making blanket statements and stereotypes about what it means to be a woman who rides a bike — or just putting a big pink flower out and saying, ‘You’ll all identify with this, so come on in!'”

Benson says she offers women a “semi-custom experience” and that one of the main services she provides is fitting women to their bikes and then offering the accessories and components that “make sense for them.” In a loft above the service area, bike builder Natalie Ramsland will offer custom bike fits. “The idea being that it shouldn’t be something that you have to have a lot of money for or feel like you’re a racer to have a bike that fits you — whether you’re riding a 20-year-old bike or something brand new.”

Fit isn’t something that’s necessarily more important for women, Benson explained, but, “It’s gotten wrong more often for women.”

In addition to helping women get comfortable, Benson’s selection of products also caters to her mission. The first thing I noticed in the shop was the expansive selection of saddles. Gladys Bike customers will find a dozen to choose from. While many shops will carry just a few saddles that work well for women, Benson believes that it’s important to have an expansive selection.

“All bike shops are always very willing to special order things that relate to women,” says Benson, “But sometimes it’s nice to be able to walk in and say, ‘Oh, there actually is something that relates to me and fits my body already’.”

Along with a great saddle selection, Benson also carries as assortment of fashionable Cleverhood rain ponchos and an assortment of essentials including: lights from Portland Design Works; Nutcase helmets; cycling caps from Double Darn; panniers, backpacks, and bags from North St. and Po Campo; and all the other Portland riding essentials. The shop doesn’t carry a bike brand yet, but Benson says she might offer Papillionaire, a line of vintage Dutch style city bikes from Australia.

And there’s a mirror on the wall with a hand-written sign that says, “You look perfect.”

Gladys Bikes bike shop-7

That’s nice to hear. Thank you!

A bike shop that caters explicitly to women is new to Portland, but Benson is part of a growing national “Women Bike” movement. Since it became an official focus on the League of American Bicyclists at the 2012 National Bike Summit, the effort to get more women interested in cycling has gained considerable momentum. Women Bike is now a full-fledged program and campaign for the League and female business owners and advocacy leaders are emerging all over the U.S. bike advocacy sphere.

“My gut says that we’ll see more and more successful shops like this as the women bike movement grows.”
— Elly Blue, publisher and author

Like Pedal Chic in Greenville, South Carolina and The Unlikely Cyclist in Costa Mesa, California, Gladys Bikes joins a growing list of bike shops for women. According to author, publisher, columnist and feminist commentator Elly Blue, “All three are basically regular bike shops that have the baseline assumption that the standard customer is female; as opposed to most local bike shops that tacitly assume a male audience.”

Blue sees nothing short of a cultural trend in the making. “My gut says that we’ll see more and more successful shops like this as the women bike movement grows… and it’s really refreshing to see that Portland’s ahead of the curve on this.”

Benson says she’s not surprised to see the women bike movement has caught fire. For her part, Benson sees her role as simply bringing people together. “This women bike thing is something a lot of women have been talking about for so long. Shops try their hardest, but sometimes just aren’t comfortable places to go into… the atmosphere just doesn’t feel inclusive.”

As for whether or not men will feel comfortable at Gladys Bikes, Benson laughs, saying that’s a question she hears a lot. “The answer is, it’s just as comfortable of a place for men. In fact, half the people that have walked in so far have been men. My goal is to welcome everyone, but explicitly make sure this is going to be a comfortable place for women that hopefully has the things that they need.”

— Gladys Bikes is located at 3808 N. Williams Ave, Suite 132 (behind Cha! Cha! Cha!). You can meet Leah and learn more about the shop at an event she’s hosting on October 17th. The name of the event is, “Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Your Bike (But Were Afraid To Ask)” will kick off a monthly discussion group where attendees will write down their burning bike-related questions on anonymous notecards and they’ll be answered by experts. Visit the Facebook event page for more info.