Portland’s Velo Cult to Close Brick and Mortar to Focus on Online Sales Jul 25, 2018


These 120 film photos are from the archives, when I visited @VeloCult in 2012

It pains me to post this. Every time we lose a great bike shop, the community suffers and the IBD suffers. It’s scary to witness it happening at such an alarming rate, especially since we really do need bike shops who give a damn. I can’t weigh in too much since I haven’t been to Velo Cult in a few years, but I can say that I wish I would have stopped by earlier this month, instead I figured I’d roll through when I was back in October, to spend some quality time there, rather than drop in, strapped for time.

Writing about this is hard, so maybe the best thing is to leave it with the official statement and a reminder that you, the consumer, won’t realize what you’ve got until it’s gone. Support your local bike shop when you can and hopefully shops can adapt to this changing market and economy. To Sky and the team at Velo Cult, I wish you the best of luck with your online shop.

Read the full press-release below…

Velo Cult is closing their brick and mortar bike shop in order to focus on their successful line of branded products and soft goods. Opened in San Diego in 2006, Velo Cult moved to Portland in 2012, opening in a 10,000 square-foot Hollywood location that served as a bike shop, tavern and event space. Over the past six years Velo Cult has become an integral part of the thriving Portland bike scene, both as a shop and the go-to location for bike events of all kinds.

At the same time, Velo Cult has been successful at extending the brand though branded hand built frames, soft goods and other unique products. With the changing landscape of owning a multifaceted business in Portland, Velo Cult is opting to sidestep the difficulty of traditional brick and mortar in favor of focusing on online sales and brand building.

“We’ve hosted weddings, funerals, concerts, poetry slams, musical jam sessions, parties to celebrate all occasions, and even got recognition on CNN, Travel Channel, and in numerous magazines,” said owner Sky Boyer, “With this big space we ran into problems with the bar in regards to the city, in the end the requirements from the city to keep the bar going are too great for a business like ours to take on. We don’t own the building so the expense for upgrades and the change to the layout does not make sense.”

Velo Cult will be going out with a bang, starting with a goodbye party at 6pm on Saturday July 28th.  Liquidation will begin August 1st of the retail store and the unique cool things in the building including displays and merchandise (not the Burt Reynolds naked on a bear skin rug poster!).

Follow Velo Cult on Instagram and Online for liquidation sale information.

  • Kerry Nordstrom

    Fuck, that is sad…one of my favorite spots in the PNW for sure.

  • Cycletherapy

    Sad news indeed. I live in San Diego and remember when the shop was down here. From reading the article it makes me wonder why they didn’t simply choose to close down the tavern part. I know in Portland all bars are required to serve food as well, so i can understand the head ache with doing that AND a retail bike shop AND a coffee house. Seems they could close the bar part of the business, perhaps re-locate to a smaller space rather than just closing the shop all together.

    • Sky Boyer

      It’s a 10,000sf building. I opened it as a bike shop, bar, and venue. With the bar and venue gone I can’t keep that giant building afloat. With the way the industry is going it doesn’t make sense to me to move again. I’m in my third location already. Velo Cult is going to reach out to a larger market now online and I would appreciate any support there as we adapt

      • Now I’m really bummed I didn’t swing by earlier this month, Sky. I’ll drop a line when I’m back in PDX in October. Hope all goes well.

        • Sky Boyer

          On the plus side my life will hopefully normalize. We may just be able to ride together sometime soon.

          • Sean M Burke

            I’m glad I was able to stop by just last month. I’d love o support your new venture by buying some cool stuff

      • Grant B Taggart

        I’m still riding a Romic track frame from your San Diego store. Many bikes have come and gone but it’s the one that still remains. Best of luck with your new direction!

  • Matt M

    Very sorry to hear that! Thank you for making bike culture in Portland even better. I hope the USS Oregon door finds a good home.

  • willydstyle

    So why are people going to buy their branded merchandise if there’s no location for the brand to represent? People like Velo Cult as a destination for traveling cyclists, they aren’t going to care about it as an online store.

    • Sky Boyer

      We are doing more than just branded merch. Stay tuned and keep an open mind.

      • willydstyle

        Good to hear! I do love your shop.

    • I didn’t read any plans or projections, so I’d say it’s safe to say that we all need to support this shop and go into the future with an open mind.

    • GNARdina

      It’s not like the place is called “Joey’s bike shop”. The name Velo cult can just as easily be a brand as it can be a store. They could take that name and go in the direction of Cadence, heavy pedal, and all hail the black market with no problem.

      • Exactly. Their branding, photos and online presence has always been on point. Anythony’s photography is top notch!

  • David Saltzberg

    This is a blow to the entire industry. Sky and the entire Velo Cult crew brought community to the community. Diverse offerings that made everyone feel like they were on common ground. It will be sorely missed.

  • Sathya

    Velo Cult, you are completely awesome and will be missed as a physical space. But I’m fired up for whatever comes next for you all and am eager to learn more. Bought two t-shirts today!

  • grant

    Sky, I’m so sorry to hear this, but it’s not death–as you’ve said–you’re just going to focus on what works whithout draining all your cash. The bike industry needs unique, special, nongeneric businesses like Velo Cult. You’ve already made a big difference—and I know you’ll keep on doing that. Best…G

  • Dallas

    I am in total shock. It’s been tough for our shop as well but I have always felt that Sky was on the right track. Higher rents… City requirements that are tough to meet… people who don’t understand just how special bikes are and are happy with Amazon cheap pieces of s*** these are just some of the reasons a lot of shops are closing. But I know Sky will not go quietly Into the Night.
    Best of luck

  • Esteban del Rio

    One thing I know is that Sky & co. can’t be held down. Support local shops exclusively. Good luck, Sky.

  • Chris Balduc

    Velo Cult was my welcome mat to the Portland bike community. Many epic rides were planned on it’s wooden tables. Copious amounts of beer was drunk in the company of good friends. The mountain bikes I lusted over in my youth are all hanging upside-down from the rafters. Bands played, fundraisers were held and parties celebrated… There will never be another place like it. Good bye, VC, and good luck in your next endeavour, Sky!

  • Nick Paglia

    So gutted to read this. We ended our bike tour (https://theradavist.com/2014/10/boyz-hoods-backdoor-tour/) there in 2014. What a special place. Best of luck in your new endeavors, Sky.

  • R Lee

    I remember visiting every time during my Portland visits. (I am from Vancouver, BC) Great space, excellent Beers, and nice staff to make a great community cycling experience. Good Luck guys!!

  • Tony Ferrera

    Good riddance

  • Peter Hedman

    Buying shirt now for moral support…

  • Josh Siegel

    OK, here is a story about the owner and I suspect it’s indicative of his broader approach. I have an old steel Merckx w/ early campagnolo parts that I keep at my mom’s house in San Diego. A few years back, I broke the seatpin when tightening it at the start of a vacation so no bike. I remembered Velo Cult and called to find out they had moved to Portland. After visiting and calling a few shops, none of which had a compatible seat binder bolt nor could they help. As a last ditch effort, I called Portland knowing Sky would have an idea where to go. He got on the phone, and gave me three local, obscure shops that could have a compatible bolt and also pointed me at some other options I could modify to fit. Bingo, went to basically a very old shop with used parts galore and found a sugino binder that could fit. No money in it for him, just helping out a stuck cyclist. Sometimes it’s the little things.

    • That’s how it should always be, the more people happy and on bikes, the better we all are!

  • Andrew Arevalo

    It pains me every time I hear about such a cool shop like Velo Cult closes its doors. One day when all the shops are closed (god forbid) people will see the value in actual experience and a welcoming smile. Wish I could make it to Portland this weekend, will be keeping my eyes open in supporting the online shop.

  • Argh. Weird to read this first on a SoCal based site when I ride by everyday.

    Super bummed about this news.

    • Well, Velo Cult began in SoCal, so it’s not too strange.

  • Justin Scoltock

    Such sad news. Hope the future is bright in whatever direction they go. Have fond memories of ordering a double espresso and a beer and watching bluegrass peeps jamming in the corner while coveting every bike in sight.

  • Brian Richard Walbergh

    Portland looses a critical community space, in a time when they are are disappearing at an alarming rate. What a Bummer.

  • DopePedaler

    IBD?

  • Chris Pollack

    Hoping to see some bottles and more shirts online soon(ish) to purchase then! Was always hoping to make it out to the PNW and take a photo outside of your shop. Best of luck in your future plans/moves.

  • Stuart Schwab

    Velo Cult and City and County were big inspirations when I opened my 1 man 1 bike stand operation years ago. I designed my own apparel, hand built wheels, suspension service, custom builds, custom fittings with an old Serotta fit cycle, and was very meticulous about my work and really tried to bring an experience to those that entered the door. Where riders saw my heart and soul put into my business along with building local trails and hosting group rides. I wanted to bring something unique to this little West Virginia mountain town. I closed my doors back last October. Its exhausting keeping up with rapid output of tech and trends and tools in the bike industry and dealers aren’t looking out for your best interest i.e shipping costs, margins, dealing with their warranties and mistakes. Thanks Velo Cult for your inspiration to do what I believed in and what I wanted to do even though it didn’t last.

  • Mac

    When and where were they located when in San Diego?