LANCE ARMSTRONG DISCIPLES, beware: Clever Cycles does not carry the blade-thin tires, carbon-fiber forks, or spandex shorts coveted by hardcore road warriors. Instead, this SE Hawthorne Boulevard shop caters to a different, though equally dedicated, kind of cyclist—those who want to make their bikes their primary mode of transportation. Which explains Clever Cycles’ workhorse ethic: “Bikes should carry things.” Inside the recently expanded, two-room store, you’ll find spacious baskets stacked waist-high, sturdy bike racks lining the walls, and an ample selection of waterproof panniers—some perfectly sized for a laptop. Adorning the store’s inventory of rugged, steel bikes are integrated features like built-in locks and pedal-powered headlights. But the epitome of Clever Cycles’ cargo-centric focus might be the three-wheeled Bakfiets (above), an oddball Dutch creation that’s able to haul a week’s worth of groceries, your squirming kids, or even a willing date with ease. Even better, you don’t need a yellow jersey to ride one.
This article appeared in the September 2008 issue of Portland Monthly.