Industry News

The Bike Commuter expands space – and adds taps

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Portland’s Sellwood neighborhood is about to get a new taproom, serving 10 beers on tap, housed in The Bike Commuter, a popular, neighborhood bike shop.

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Bikes and beer, it seems, go hand in hand. Maybe it’s the cold beer after a ride on a hot summer’s day. Maybe it’s the camaraderie and comparing of notes, or bike talk over a beer. It’s hard to nail down, but it seems to be a great combination for bike shops and brewpubs. Velo Cult in Portland is a great example. Customers can grab a beer (from a selection that would make many bars envious), do some shopping, and leave their bike behind for repairs. It’s also a community gathering space for bike events and live music.

Peddler Brewing in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood is another example. It’s a brewery first and more of a bike community gathering place second, but it still has a bike theme. The night I visited, there was a bike ride/charity event happening with the bike parking full with bikes. Because, of course there was. (Try their On Your Left IPA if you visit.)

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And now, The Bike Commuter, located directly (for now) on the Springwater Trail, is moving over to SE 17th to bigger digs near the Milwaukie border. The move was mostly caused when the current landlord refused to let the business apply for a license to sell beer at the original location.

“All along we hoped to keep expanding the store and find a way to make an income,” says owner Eric Deady. “When the new space opened up it fit us based on the layout and size. The ability to serve beer in the end was the whole reason–indirectly–we moved.”

The larger location will let the shop expand its retail offerings while serving beers on tap of mostly local, Oregon beers. One tap will have cider, the other an affordable lager. Styles will include “a couple of IPAs, stouts, and seasonals.”

The new location is interesting. There’s not a lot of beer activity nearby. The Neighbor Dudes Tap House, slated to open in last May close by, ended up moving to Wilsonville. Down SE 17th in downtown Milwaukie there is nothing resembling a brewpub (though that could change), while the closest place for a decent beer is closer to the center of Sellwood and Eastmoreland. The newly finished Trolley Trail, plans to make SE 17th pedestrian friendly, and the Springwater Trail will definitely bring in bike traffic. There’s also a parking lot for those wanting to drop off a bike for repair. The vibe will be different than Velo Cult to be sure.

“The whole idea is to have a bike culture place, experience what we do, and why were different. Customers can surf the internet, drink a cup of coffee, drink a beer and sit on the couch while they wait for their bike to be fixed. Or they can just come off the street and grab a growler.”

However, Deady stresses that the new Bike Commuter will still be a bike shop first and taproom second.

“We’re not changing what we do. We’re still a family friendly bike shop–and oh yeah, we’re also serving beer.”

The new Bike Commuter opens August 30 and is located at 8524 SE 17th.


John Chilson writes about Portland history and architecture at Lost Oregon. He's also written for Neighborhood Notes, Travel Oregon, Portland Architecture,, San Diego Reader, and Portland Food and Drink. Follow him on twitter at @LostOregon for local history nerdism; for beer tweets he's at @Hopfrenzy. Shoot him an email at [email protected] if you want to get in touch.

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