Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.


916 NW 21st Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97209


21st Avenue Bicycles specializes in road bike sales, service and repairs. Located in NW Portland, Oregon, the shop can help you find the perfect bike for your ride. Bike commuting, road biking, racing or the casual cruise. 



Our Diary, Our Weblog, Our Blog, Our Heart of Hearts

Filtering by Category: Bicycles

The Structure of Bicycle Revolutions

park chambers

          New cycling stuff rocks. I’m always stoked to buy something new for my bike. Often it means that I can explore somewhere I wouldn’t have been able to before. The right tires, bars, saddle and bags for the conditions make it easier to explore terrain that would otherwise be
inaccessible. A lot of times, this takes the form of a specific trip or ride that takes on a meaning of its own. Preparing for the Oregon Outback last spring, every new piece of gear was one puzzle piece of the whole trip fitting into place. A physical token of miles to be ridden, hills to be climbed, mechanical challenges to be fixed and nights to be spent under the stars.

           A new bike is the ultimate embodiment of this sense of possibility. An admission that there is something unexplored, something inaccessible that goes beyond a new set of tires, or wheels, or whatever. In many ways a new bike is a new paradigm; a completely new way of looking at your
environment. Exploration and inspiration become available that were previously unimaginable.

          My paradigm is about to change. A couple weeks ago I put in an order for a Surly Wednesday. The possibilities of a fatbike have been gnawing at me for years. The black space on the map that is sand and snow and “omniterra” as Surly has aptly named all the other challenging terrain that huge tires make accessible has been highlighted by photos and videos of riders sessioning 100’ sand dunes, riding through the Alaskan wilderness, and rolling through snowy landscapes previously reserved for skis and snowshoes.

 Fat Forest Fat Biking.

Fat Forest Fat Biking.

          I have been planning new trips in daydreams from the moment the bike was on its way. Some so unreasonably challenging that they will never see the light of day. Others so mundane that when they inevitably happen when I get on the bike they will pass unnoticed. Both are a product of the type of unreasonable optimism that is not limited by time off, or weather or stretched chains and worn out cassettes. That optimism is the reason I will never leave a bike unchanged, and the reason that I continue to pedal over familiar roads and new landscapes.

 The Author enjoying his newly obtained steely steed of satisfaction. Note: The Author realizes his fork is on backwards. He is trying something out.

The Author enjoying his newly obtained steely steed of satisfaction. Note: The Author realizes his fork is on backwards. He is trying something out.

Continue the stoke through this next video...

Cyclocross season recap from Swift Racing's Katy Salinas

park chambers

Some of you may not know that we've been sponsoring the Swift Racing team for the past two years.  The 30 or so cyclists on the team race road and mountain, but cyclocross is what really brought them all together.  Their results this season were impressive:

  • 3rd place team (out of 97) at Blind Date
  • 448 race starts in 96 races
  • 180 top ten finishes
  • 214 volunteer hours (for more on Swift’s community involvement, click here)

For Volunteer Coordinator and Elite Women's racer Katy Salinas, this past ‘cross season has been about more than just skinsuits and powermeters; it’s about people.

“It was an amazing season to see people with podium finishes and upgrade points to compete in the next hardest category.  Other victories include breaking into the top half of a huge field, coming back from an injury, winning a duel with that other racer who used to always finish ahead.  There’s a saying that friends multiply joy and divide suffering.  After each race, in the team tent, I rehash the race highlights, so glad that I have people.

“Cyclocross is easy to get into, but the rabbit hole is deep.  Sport-specific knowledge includes gear, training, technique, eating and resting strategies.  Team is a cadre of people to consult on what to wear in variable weather, what tire pressure to run.  I am having trouble figuring out why I struggle in corners, so one of the guys takes some time out to work with me.  I will keep growing as a racer because I have stronger racers supporting me, and racers are kind of like people.

“On a team, you get two kinds of mechanical support.  Our shop support is unparalleled, helping us maintain our bikes, decide on gear, and dial in bicycle fit.  Race days, I found additional support in my teammates.  In the tent, you see someone lubing cleats and pedals for himself and everyone else present, checking tire pressure or a glue job.  When I have a mechanical problem in a race, someone meets me in the pit to get me on a working bike and back into the fray.  In that moment, I feel like I approach something of pro status: I have people.

“Although the ribbing and heckling is loud, you could not find a more supportive group.  Head down, trying to breathe and not vomit, I hear someone telling me I can go faster, and I get out of the saddle one more time.  Some races I find myself all by myself on the course and desperate for motivation, and then I hear someone cheering me on.  I’m not alone; I have people.

“This year, we went legit with a beautiful team tent to shelter us from the elements. Our sponsors made it possible for us to indulge in details like a table for the water jug, energy drinks and food, a changing tent and even a heater.  With this luxury, I put all my suffering into the race instead of losing energy to heat/cold.  I love that almost everyone took a turn setting up or tearing down the team tent.  Water hand ups on sweltering days?  Dry towels after a downpour? Care Bear costume design for Halloween? All done by these people.

“We head into winter, wrung out from the racing season.  Then someone mentions beautiful winding roads by the coast, or pristine single track.  I start to think about how far I’ve come as a racer and how much farther I have to go.  A long ride at base mile pace allows for conversation, and I hear about plans for an upgrade, building better fitness, improving technical skills.  An email thread starts about new team spinning competitions and another one about Nationals next year.  How do I stay motivated when wind and rain threaten to drive me under fuzzy blankets by the fireplace?  I have people.”

Thanks, Katy!  Be sure and follow the Swift racers next season, and any women interested in being a part of this friendly and supportive team can contact to be put in touch with Katy.

  …and as a reward for reading the whole thing, here  's a photo of team captain Matt taking his job too seriously in Bend (photo: Matthew Lasala for Cyclocross Magazine)

…and as a reward for reading the whole thing, here's a photo of team captain Matt taking his job too seriously in Bend (photo: Matthew Lasala for Cyclocross Magazine)

EVO - lution by means of natural selection ; or The Specialized AWOL EVO

park chambers

We've been big fans of the Specialized AWOl bikes since they came out. Specialized is not always the originator of ideas, but they are good at taking ideas and refining them into bikes that express the "heart of the matter" within any particular discipline. The "EVO" series is that expression, and we're stoked to have some of the new AWOL Evo models in stock.

So what's the fuss? Well, the fuss is that this is a hell of a lot of bike for $2500, and resembles in many ways what we've been doing with recent custom touring builds.

Starting with a nice butted steel frame, the Evo piles on a Sram 2x10 drivetrain with a wide-range double for a low gear of 32x36 (front/rear). Should be enough to tackle most grades while loaded, and the X.9 rear der can handle a bigger cassette if need be. Braking is handled by powerful TRP Hy/RD hydraulic calipers.

But that's to be expected. The really cool stuff is in the accessories. A set of lightweight metal fenders keep the rain on the flat-resistant Armadillo tires and off the rider.

A Specialized "Pizza" porteur rack with pannier rails and Tubus rear rack both have mounts for the Supernova lights powered by a Shimano dynamo hub. The hub runs power through a bar-mounted switch that sends juice either to the lights of to the top-cap mounted "Plug III" USB-charger to keep your other stuff all charged up while on tour.

AWOL geometry is a bit more akin to a mountain bike than a traditional touring bike, with long top tubes and short stems favoring front loading and stability on gravel and dirt. Topping off the off-road friendly nature of the rig is a carbon CG-R seatpost, a pivot-less shock absorber that takes the edge off the bumpy bits.

Lastly, the paint is pretty cool. It's called "Rocket Red" and is pops up on a number of Specialized bikes. The deal is that it will darken randomly with UV exposure, so each bike gets a kind of individual patina over time. The logos on the downtube, head tube and the seatpost are also painted in a retro-reflective paint for nighttime visibility.

So yeah, we think it's worth a fuss.