Phase one of a new bike shop concept opened today. Glady’s Bikes on N. Williams in Portland aims to help people fit in at a bike shop by turning the traditional gruff shop model on its head. For now that means offerings like repair work, consultations and bike fitting – all within an extremely welcoming space (think free cookies and friendly staff).
Owner Leah Benson sees gaps in the current bike shop model nationwide, which she plans to help fill over time. The doors swung wide open today to showcase an array of basic services to get women riding and help them stay healthy on their bikes.
AN EXPERIMENT IN BIKE SHOP SPACE
First, Leah wants to hear from her customers and her neighborhood, so she’s starting out with what could perhaps best be described as the beta test mode of Gladys Bikes. It’s almost as if the shop is an experiment – but only in terms of deciding what to do next because clearly the need is out there and Gladys Bikes isn’t going away any time soon.
What Gladys Bikes aims to provide hasn’t been done before in Portland. So no, the shop right now isn’t the most complete, finished product; it’s a work in progress with plenty of room to grow and support women who want to ride. The business is in a small space at the interior of a broad building, a temporary lab for future endeavors.
Leah recognizes that the need is greater than her personal interests, or those of the people she’s consulted with over the years it has taken for this idea to come to fruition. She is excited to chat with and survey her customers to find out what they want from a bike shop.
Leah’s number one goal is to get more women on bikes, more often. She aims to do that by creating a comfortable zone for people to ask questions and access services (everyone’s welcome in the shop). To kick things off, Glady’s Bikes is hosting a workshop on “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Your Bike (But Were Afraid to Ask)” on Thursday, October 17 at 6:30pm at the shop.
MORE TO COME
We have plenty to say on the topic of helping people feel confident riding bikes and, most notably, feeling comfortable walking into a bike shop, but for now we’ll just say, “Best of luck, Gladys!” We’re rooting for you.
We will continue to bring you updates about Gladys Bikes as the shop evolves over time.
Gladys Bikes is located at 3308 N Williams, in Portland, inside the the building. [map]