Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Bicycling in Tacoma is definitely an up-and-coming thing, and, even in the rough economic climate, the City of Destiny is marching forward with its long-awaited urban revival, even if progress is a bit slower now than it might've been pre-recession.

Every time I go through this town the weight of history is strange -- there are so many shuttered windows, but more and more I see signs of life.

Last Saturday I hopped off of the admittedtly short-ranged Tacoma Link light rail at the Tacoma dome and walked into the brand new bike shop in the Dome District: Tacoma Bike. Owner Mike Brown said he wanted to keep it real, and keep it simple. The shop's located at 309 Puyallup Avenue -- the road that turns into SR-99 heading north from town across the Puyallup River bridge.

If you want to get into T-town on a bike, you're pretty much going to ride past it unless you come from way the heck around back on River Road, or sneak in across the Morgan Murray while you can.

Anyhow, good location from the outside.

Inside, while clearly Tacoma Bike is still a work in progress, with little on the freshly-painted walls, they've got a great space in a cool old warehouse building, with exposed beams and vaulted ceilings above, and a nice view of the new bridges and construction out the big back window. Passing trains are visible from inside the store. It'd be a cool spot to have a cafe, if it weren't a bike shop.

Mike stocks bicycles from Giant and Marin, with a few smaller brands like Rocky Mountain Cycles out of Canada (and proud owner of the one and only, Co-Motion Cycles out of Oregon (though I only saw single bikes from this famed tandem builder). I saw a Look and an Orbea or two, I think.

Their service department is in one corner of the shop, and another houses a curtain and a fit machine -- a nice touch to prove that Mike and co. are serious about setting riders up on a ride that fits them.

They've also got Assos clothing -- the Gucci of the cycling world. Whatever you think of their $500 jackets, it's the only place between Redmond and Portland that you can buy it, and I've got to say, it's pretty high quality stuff. Assos used to stand alone in selling $200 jerseys, but now it feels as though every manufacturer is jumping on the uber-premium bandwagon. I guess in a land of $500 handbags, I guess, why not? All I know is their leg warmers are the only ones that I can get to stay up, and they don't even have grippers.

Round it out with some spiffy euro-pro jerseys, Seal Line dry bags, and fancy tires, and you've got a shop in which every roadie will find something to drool over. Tacoma Bike didn't seem too heavy on the mountain bike stuff yet, and it also didn't appear a dedicated commuter store, though they're happy to sell locks, tubes, and service your get-round bike.

All in all, from all of us: Welcome to the neighborhood! We need you -- at least says this Portland transplant, a city with twice the population and twenty times the bike shops.


  • At 2:11 PM , Anonymous KFC said...

    Cool! Maybe they'll help organize the cobblestone ride!


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