It began in an unlikely place: a garage in the Bay Area where Western Bikeworks (1015 NW 17th Ave, 503-342-9985) founders Lou Doctor and Jay Torborg were selling bike tires on eBay. They began selling so many that tire manufacturers approached them and suggested they start their own company. In 2003, they heeded that advice, opened a Portland warehouse, and started their own website.
“A lot of companies start with brick-and-mortar stores and then move online. Our company started the other way around,” says store manager Raul Atencio.
“Everyone who works here is a cyclist in one form or another. We’re all here because we’re passionate about bikes.”
The 10,000-square-foot Pearl District store opened in 2011 and carries not only tires but everything from high-end road and mountain bikes to commuter and electric bikes. An open floor plan showcases orderly rows of bicycles categorized by type, racks of cycling apparel and accessories, and a wall of assorted protein powders and energy bars.
In 2015, a second branch, which they renamed TriSports in early 2018, opened in Tigard—it’s focused on triathlon gear. They’re the only bike shops in the Portland area that offer the GURU Fit System, a hydraulic stationary process connected to a computer that customizes the fit of a bike. Atencio compares it to getting fitted for a suit. “It doesn’t matter how much you spend on it. If you don’t get it tailored, it’s never gonna fit right. Same for bikes.”
Whether you have $10,000 to shell out on a high-end bike, or if $300 is more your speed, Western Bikeworks’s knowledgeable staff offers the same experience. “We’re more than salespeople—we try to be educators,” says Atencio. “We’re here to teach clients about the products and introduce them to the sport. Everyone who works here is a cyclist in one form or another. We’re all here because we’re passionate about bikes.” –Lauren Kershner
GET IN GEAR – 3 Keys to Better Bike Care
CLEAN YOUR BIKE
Use a damp rag to remove road grime, then a clean rag to dry the bike. Take a look at all the welding or tube junction spots for cracks or signs of fatigue.
LUBRICATE YOUR CHAIN
Do this once a week. Always clean your chain before you apply lubricant. After applying, run a rag to clean the excess lubricant from the chain.
CHECK YOUR TIRES
Fill your tires with air regularly. Practice changing tires at home so you don’t have to learn in the middle of a ride. If you’ve never fixed a flat, come to one of Western Bikeworks’s helpful clinics.