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Bikes. Parts. Chaos.

Ah, the Pacific Northwest, home of fashion-forward flannel, the fancy donut "trend" (weren't they always kinda fancy?) Twin Peaks (truly crucial to call out) and our personal favorite: some real deal dyed-in-the-wool Surly Superfans. I spent a couple of years in my early twenties in Portland on what was essentially an extended vacation punctuated by working in a bike shop and plenty of trips to the local Plaid Pantry for beer, even on a Sunday. (All you other states, take note of this epic convenience.) I've been back in my home state enjoying colder pastures for a while and now spend a good chunk of my time slinging Surly goodies to bike shops west of the Mississippi. 

One of the things I enjoy most about my job is getting to meet our dealers and asking them what they think about our brand and our products. In fact, some of my very favorite people that I've met through working for Surly are the folks that really love to tell it like it is. One such example is our friend Kathleen of Freerange Cycles in Seattle, a dealer and friend of ours for many years. I first met Kathleen at Frostbike this past winter, and point-blank one of the first things she asked me was when we were going to come see her shop. I laughed and told her I would love to visit anytime she would have us. Apparently she didn't think it was so funny that we hadn't been out there in ten years. 

I asked around the HQ and confirmed she wasn't joking, so Trevor and I pondered our next steps. What about a mini tour of the Pacific Northwest from Seattle to Portland in which we were to visit many shops as possible and do what they want to do? Ambitious and blindly trusting seemed like a winning combo to us. Our Eugene-based QBP sales rep Chuck agreed to accompany us on our journey, so with a rough agenda sketched out and a few shops warned of our impending visit of doom, we packed our bags and headed to Seattle the last day in September.

Once we landed in the Evergreen State, Chuck had a great idea, which was to do our shop visits by bike. It is still unclear as to whether or not this was just because we called him out on his minivan music selection. 

View of a the dashboard area of a vehicle, with a hand holding up a CD case, and traffic seen through the windshield

He swears he doesn't know where this came from. Don't worry, we saged his van out with Bauhaus. 


Our first stop in Seattle was Kathleen's shop in the Fremont area. I had never been to this neck of the woods but Trevor seemed to remember some moments of getting hopped up an IPA festival nearby. Not bad. 

Front view of a person posing, while holding a blue bike on a stand, in a repair shop  A person standing behind a service counter, helps a customer with a black Surly bike in front of them 

We hung out at the shop while Trevor got his Traveler's Check ready to roll, and Kathleen took my brand new Straggler Apex demo out for a spin. She had Surlys as far as the eye could see, even maximizing the space on the sidewalk in two giant racks! While we were in the there a female customer called to ask about the very 650B model I brought into the shop. Kathleen has a wealth of knowledge about fit and front end setup, and you could tell the customer she was helping out was all about it.

Downward cropped view of 2, red, Surly Disc Trucker bike, on a green floor

No matter how many spacers or inches of steerer you need, Freerange has you covered. 


To what I am sure was Kathleen's great relief we got out of her hair and onto the trail to our next stop, Recycled Cycles. 

Rear view of two cyclists, riding their bikes down a road along a river on one side, with a building on their other side

Very rare photographic evidence of Seattle with no rain and sunshine. We lucked out big time. 


We were greeted at Recycled Cycles on Boat Street (there are two of them!) by this super fresh new Disc Trucker on their employee bike rack. You know how we knew it was fresh? Cuz Trevor smelled the top tube. 

A person with their nose on the top tube of a red Surly Disc Trucker bike, that's hanging from a rack, in a bike shop 

Recycled boasts many innovations in their shop. A few examples... 

A chute hanging above 3 plastic bins, in a room

...This metal recycling chute Trevor can fit inside of. Perfect for rogue employees or former friends.

A ceiling mounted heater, hanging over bike rims

... This ultra-industrial heater. Appears to be up above it rather than down in it.


A rack of bike forks, in a bike shop

... and my personal favorite, the most organized "parts basement" I have ever seen in my life. If you actually need to find something, this is the place to do that.

We took a break from talking about steel and fatties fitting fine to stop by the Recycled location in Fremont, where we rapped at buyer extraordinaire Peter about goods that are soft, including Chuck's favorite, our merino hoodie. They stock a number of our softgoods including our wool beanies, so it's a perfect shop to check out if your head happens to be really cold. 

Front view a person, wearing their baseball cap on backwards, is folding a hoodie, in a storage room

After chugging two coffees (dead serious) we stopped by to visit Christiaan and his crew at Ride Bicycles. When I first got to know Christiaan, we talked a lot about how he was starting to dabble in building our bikes from the frame up; he liked the versatility of our brand and was a big fan of the Big Dummy. Nowadays our stuff is out in full force in his showroom. Ride Bicycles boasts maybe the nicest hardwood floor I've ever seen in a bike shop, and The Smiths were bumping in the repair area. Alright Christiaan, we get it, your shop is really cool. 

Rear view of people in a bike shop, with a row of bikes hanging on racks, above them Rear, left side view of a black Surly fat bike, from the inside of a storefront window

After a busy day in Seattle, Chuck was getting a little antsy so we dropped him off in his Korner and ate some grown-up food. Trevor and I will never leave the West Coast without eating a severe amount of seafood ever again.

A person leaning a over a red wagon, full of toys, with a sign behind that says, Choose a toy from our little red wagon A hand above a pan of oysters in a half shell, on a wood table top

Day 2: Fueled by a solid eight hours and yet more coffee, we hit the road to Tacoma, home of Defiance Bicycles and its delightful proprietor Chris Kopp. 

Left side view of a gray Surly Ogre bike with a person standing behind, in a bike shop

Chris with his purple people eater of an Ogre

My prior knowledge of Tacoma was limited to driving through it and seeing some weird free stuff on the curbs everywhere. Chris was at Interbike this year and convinced us to come out and spend the day riding around his home base with him so we could get an insider's tour. His shop is CHOCK FULL of Surly including brand new Stragglers, which I had not seen in the wilds previously. 

Downward, rear view of a person looking at a shelf unit full of Surly bike parts

Chris also somehow has just about every single small part we make. Dude is well on the way to being his own Surly warehouse. 

Right side view of Surly bikes, parked side by side, on a sidewalk in front of a window on a building

Rear view of 3 cyclists riding their bikes on a paved trail that runs along the side of a highway

As with most things I do for work at Surly I was honestly not really sure what I was in for. Here is one of the day's results. 

Yes, this is something some random guy in Tacoma came up to show us and let us ride. Biggest new thing you haven't heard of in DIY rear sus. Don't try to say you didn't see it here first. 

2 people sitting at a table, with glasses of beer and bags of potato chips

After wrapping up an important business meeting we rolled down to Lacey, WA to visit our buddies at Joyride and crack a brew around closing time. Trevor lucked out and got his second big ride of the day in. 

It was great to check out Joyride, where they had an Ogre chilling out with a fully decked out ECR on their sales floor. We even ran into a dear friend from New Hampshire there. 

A person's hand pointing on sticker on a white board that says

One of the best parts about shop visits is checking out employee builds. Joyride employs many Surly fans, some of whom own more bikes from our brand than I do.

I present to you BIKE: 

Right side view of a black bike, parked on a warehouse floor

Thus concludeth our whirlwind WA leg. Good thing we have Trevor to bring us into the Portland segment with a song. 

A person sitting in a chair, playing a guitar, next to a table and lamp, in front of a bookshelf

This chair fell apart as soon as he got up from it.

Day 3: We spent our first day in Portland doing a loop around Southeast. The morning was kicked off at Universal, where we saw some old friends and my personal favorite employee bike of the trip, Miss Piggy. 

Upward view of a red Surly bike frame, hanging from a rack on a wall, above a shop light Downward, cropped view of a pink Surly fat bike, next to a stack of cardboard boxes

I'm pretty sure every single person that worked at this shop owned at least 2 Surlys but that's probably a lowball estimate. The thing I liked most about this shop was that it was chock-full of accessories - they had pretty much every Revelate bag you could ever need. 


Our next stop was City Bikes. It was a chilly morning and for some reason Trevor and I were riding around looking like we were about to rob a bank when we stopped in there.

Front view of 2 people standing at the counter of a bike shop

I know I posted a photo like this above, but this is important. City Bikes is actually the recipient of the Surly Spacer Stack Award 2015. (I'm sure I can find another spacer to send you in congratulations.)

Downward, cropped front view of a black Surly Long Haul Trucker bike

Lucky thirteen.

As you might have guessed, City Bikes is definitely the home of all things commuter. They had lots of Truckers out on the floor ready to roll. This shop was always the go-to for repairs for me and my friends in the neighborhood when I lived nearby. It's good to see it's still going strong.

Front view of a person posing with a cup of espresso, at the front counter of a cafe

After a tiny coffee break, we rolled over to see Corey at Seven Corners. Apparently we spent the whole time playing with Corey's dog and talking with him instead of taking photos. but we really enjoyed checking out the shop, where he had a bunch of Stragglers out on the floor. Corey is one of the friendliest dudes around. Stop by his shop if you are in the 21st and Powell neighborhood. 

Our big finale for the day was our first stop at River City Bicycles. I say the first because these folks sold the most bikes and frames out of any of our shops in the US last model year. That is impressive and they were so nice we decided to stop by twice. 

Panoramic view of a colorful city block of buildings

On our first jaunt, we decided to simply drop in and say thank you the Surly way. 

Front view a person wearing a River City bicycles shirt, holding a large bottle of Whisky with a Surly sticker on it

I guess they like us okay around there, so we received a full tour and a glimpse inside what makes this business such a good fit for us. 

Rear view of 2 people walking between rows of a bikes, at a bike shop A black demo course mat, on the floor of a bike shop

River City knows that the weather can be iffy in the Pacific Northwest, so in their full-service main building they built their own indoor test track. Just watch out for hazards like you would anytime you're riding. 

Left side view of a person, with their head against a red steel box with a duct taped corner, next to a phone

Trevor illustrating the importance of a helmet in the test ride zone.

We found out that our bikes are built in an area called the Gallows. Trevor and I were immediately excited about this and in a surprise to no one, we fit right in. 

Front view of 2 people standing in a warehouse with cardboard Surly boxes next to them

A cardboard sign against a cement wall that reads, Travelin Broke & Hungry 

After our tour, all our Portland shops assured us that THE place to hit next was Bike Portland 10th Anniversary party at Velo Cult. Apparently this dude agreed. 

Front view of a person wearing a baseball cap, holding up their right middle finger next to their face

It was PACKED to the gills, so Trevor executed an old trick to get us some beers. 

Front view of a person holding and looking through a bike rim, and drinking from a flask 

Somehow an overly caffeinated portrait of me even made it onto the very website we were toasting along with some of our buddies from Universal and Sky from Velo Cult. 

A computer screen showing an image of people posing for a picture

Finally famous in my former home. Please don't tell anyone who I am. 

Day 4: I am not going to lie. You saw the party pics. Saturday morning was a little rough. Chuck temporarily lost his helmet and we had to endure the most dreaded hipster activity of them all, the brunch line. Good thing we rode to Metropolis and Revolver that day. 

Rear view of a cyclist riding a bike with red saddlebags, down a street with cars and trees to the sides

Metropolis is our newest Surly dealer, located on N Williams in North Portland - right on a bustling north-south bike route. I am very fond of this particular location because it is where I learned to commute confidently and I know I am not alone. 

Three people standing next to the service counter in a bike shop

These folks are SUPER into bikepacking and had the evidence to prove it, freshly returned from a recent voyage. 

Rear, right side view of a purple Surly fat bike with a frame bag, with people in the background, in a bike shop

A miracle occurred in the form of Trevor finding some backpack beers he forgot he had, so we rolled over to both see our friends at Revolver and share the newfound bounty. 

Downward view of a dish, with small plastic animals in it, on a glass countertop  3 people standing around in a bike repair shop

Revolver has long been a supporter of Surly and the folks in this shop especially dig our mountain product. 

Right side view of a green Surly Krampus bike, hanging on a rack from the front wheel , in front a the door in a room

If you don't know, now you know. Krampus. 

Revolver had a little bit of everything on the floor, including SHIRTS! 

 A retail rack of clothes mounted to a wall, with a black Surly Troll shirt in front view

Let that inner troll shine through. 

Trevor and I don't usually work on Saturdays. Harsh. More beer was in order. 

Upward view of an antelope head and a red neon sign, mounted on a wall, in a dark room

We decided to wrap up our visits and quench our thirst in style: with a happy hour Thanks For Selling All That Stuff party for the good people of River City. Dogs and people were fed and hydrated. Good times and good meat snacks. Shoutout to my boy Fred Meyer.

A dog standing over a case box of Hamm's beer cans A group of people standing around, in a bike shop

All those visits wore Chuck out, so he headed home to Eugene (presumably to sleep for the next week). Trevor and I did some of our own unwinding before a big night out on the town.

Downward view of a two hands holding a silkscreen frame over a blue shirt Downward view of a record player, a Fleetwood Mac album and a stereo tuner, on a cabinet top, against a wall

T-money and I hang out all the time at work, but you know how that is. We're usually scarfing burritos and yelling back and forth about spreadsheets or something. Here was a rare opportunity to rage together and not do work for a few hours in a new location. We each picked a suitably mournful activity for the evening and were not disappointed. 

Trevor's choice was going to see Alcest at Dante's. We think Trevor told them he loved them. I'm glad this was on the last day of the trip because our minds were BLOWN by the RIFF.

Rear view of people watching a band, up on a stage, in a dark room, with blue lights above An upward, front view of a musician singing an playing a guitar, on a dark stage

Next up was my pick, goth night at the Lovecraft. Apparently since I moved away Portland decided to get all H.P. on me and open up a Cthulhu themed bar. It's probably good I don't live there anymore because I would sit and drink in this decorative coffin every day. 

 Front view of a person laying on the side of a coffin, in a dark room Downward view of person with long black hair, sitting in an open coffin with a beer in their hand

A few regrettably bad Cure singalongs later, our trip was coming to a close. It was a whirlwind visit and on any trip we go on, we always leave wishing we could have visited more shops. Trevor, Chuck and I had a great time and learned a lot from the dealers we visited, but most importantly, our heads are chock full of ideas for our return visit. We have some really cool things in the works for travel that we are all pretty stoked about. Keep your ear to the ground and your eyes on the blog...

Thanks again to all our Surly dealers that let us into their shops, showed us a good time, and generally helped us avoid the worst kind of emergency imaginable.

Left side view of a car, painted like a police car, with BEER PATROL painted on the side, parked next to a street curb

About KLM

Katie Lee Echols Moore a.k.a. KLM

Kate is one of the people who answers phones and emails around here, as well as some other sales-related stuff. Kate happens to be the daughter of our hippie lawyer, who long ago was part of the crew that birthed Surly, so she has literally grown up with Surly. Kate has held a number of other jobs in the so-called bicycle industry and rides her bike to work almost every day, and taken all together that background means she’s been on and around bikes pretty much her entire life. Not bad.