Just a few, short years back, when people shifted their nomenclature from “bicycle touring” to include the term “bikepacking,” there weren’t many brands or shops for that matter, that catered to outings such as overnighters all the way through extensive tours. At least not compared to today’s offerings. Just about every day I read about a new product that claims to make our time on a loaded bicycle easier, or more pleasant, and as you can imagine, there is a lot of filtering that has to happen in order to cull this seemingly endless parade of new products.
That’s where the local bike shop model comes into play. My favorite part about visiting any city are the shops that make these places tick and in Portland, Oregon, there are so many shops around that specificity is the name of the game for survival in the ever-struggling retail economy.
One of the ways shops – and brands for that matter – have found the key to survival is by carefully cultivating a selection of products that have been thoroughly vetted by either the shop’s staff or close friends of the shop. The only way to determine the feasibility of a product is to actually use it, right? I’ve noticed this happening a lot, the culling down of the bike shop. In many ways, this makes for an easier retail experience, from the customer’s perspective and the owner’s.
Kevin Purcell and Becky Newman own Portland’s newest bike shop, Golden Pliers. They’re All-City Cycles and Crust Bike dealers, who have a special relationship with Page Street Cycles, offering a broad range of pricing options for their customers. Yet, you won’t find complete builds lining the retail floor, as Kevin likes to work closely with their customers to build a bike specific to their needs. Golden Pliers is a service-minded shop, with a selection of products in stock to make your ride more pleasant.
For the everyday cyclist, Golden Pliers stocks the latest, dare I say, “hip” cycling accessories, but still with a heavy emphasis on actual usability, not just aesthetics. Each product lining the shelves and walls of the shop has a special place in Kevin and Becky’s cycling experience from their many tours and trips in Oregon. One of those brands is Becky’s handmade bag company, Makeshifter Canvas Works, which Becky sews in-house at Golden Pliers.
Even if you don’t need a tube, or a blinky light, Golden Pliers has a café, filled with pre or post-ride meal options, ice cream floats, and pending city-approval, beer.
Portland is a city with anything but a shortage in bike shops, yet over the years many shops have shifted towards specificity, prompting individuals to open stores designed around their favorite form of cycling. If you’re looking to liven up your ride, take on an overnighter, or even a bigger tour, head to Golden Pliers, talk to Kevin and Becky, check out their in-house library of books and maps, and most importantly, have fun!
1451 N. Skidmore St. Portland, OR
Open Tuesday – Saturday 10-7
OPEN LATE FOR EVENTS