New Year, Same Us

2014 was our first full year in business and, oh, what a year it was. We expanded to a new location (moved there by bike with your help!), began our partnership with Sweetpea Bicycles (swoon), brought on some amazing new staff (you know who you are), tried out cyclocross with a group of first-timers (what, what CX Curious Club!), helped 200+ butts find comfort through the Saddle Library, fell in love with another bike shop (hey there Kenton Cycle Repair), helped get many folks on sweet new bikes, planned some ridiculously fun events (Dress Like Your Bike anyone?), and even got some cool accolades in the process (don't worry, it won't go to our heads).

Thank you (again and again and again) for your support and enthusiasm this past year. I cannot wait to share what 2015 holds with you all. Here's to spending another year learning, growing, playing and riding bikes with all of you! Happiest of New Years!




Saddle Speed Dating

Your butt will thank you.

Your butt will thank you.

Saddle Speed Dating

This event is like getting to go on a bunch of first (saddle) dates in 1 night. Get one-on-one time with many saddles in one night so you can QUICKLY see which one you have an interest in investing in for the long haul.

When: Tuesday, April  14, 6:30-8:00pm

Where: Gladys Bikes

Who: Anyone who is interested in getting a saddle/seat that feels better on their bike. We have almost as many 'male' saddles as we do 'female', all bodies are equally welcome.

How does it work?

1. Arrive promptly at 6:30pm for a brief introduction to your many potential saddle love matches.

2. Talk 1:1 with our experts about what you're looking for in a saddle and we'll help you pick out up to 5 saddles to try for 10 minutes each.

3. Because no saddle --no matter how pretty, expensive or aerodynamic-- will feel perfect if it's not set up properly, after you find your saddle love match you'll get a FREE quick fit with Gladys' fitter extraordinaire, Natalie Ramsland. During the quick fit she'll dial in your seat height and position to make sure it's set up to support your body as best as it possibly can.

***Space is limited to 6 participants so that you get our full attention and the quality time you need with your saddles. To reserve your spot email ***



Custom Schmustom

The bike world plays fast and loose with the term "custom bike." And why not?! It conjures up sexy images in our mind of beautiful paint, elegant details, and a world in which there are only tailwinds. But the word "custom" can be used to describe anything from getting to pick a new paint color for a Surly frame to having a frame designed to accommodate your unusually long femurs. And it's all good stuff, but it can help to know what custom can mean and, critically, how you can get some custom-y goodness no matter what your budget or current bike status.

So, in the next couple of weeks we are going to dig a bit deeper into definitions and present a point of view regarding custom that is no-nonsense and inclusive. I'd like to invite you to ask all of your burning questions about custom bikes and I'll give you my best answers (and most opinionated opinions).



Exotic Like Moon Boots

I spent the last week in Duluth, Minnesota. I probably can't describe with my lingering California accent can quite how cold it was. Suffice it to say: Dude. It was gnarly cold.

I've been spending a little chunk of winter in Duluth every year for the past ten years or so (one of the many benefits of marrying a Minnesotan) and I typically have the same internal monologue.

Natalie: Wow. Snow is so beautiful! I bet I could live here...

Natalie: But you can't really bike here in the winter.

N: But you can cross country ski, snow shoe, and get all Nordic!

N: You get awfully grumpy when your toes get cold.

N: Buck up! You know you've always wanted a pair of moon boots.

N: But what about your bikes?

N: Yeah, you're right. I'll never leave Portland.

This last trip was different, though. I saw WAY more bikes. A Litespeed (unlocked?!) outside the food co-op, a cargo bike parked downtown, and lots of fat tires out on the trails. I went for a favorite run in Hartley Field and saw so many fat, happy tracks in the snow that I felt a certain tug at my heart. I could love these trails, not more, but in a different way on a bike. I could bike here. I could live here.

The known truths are relearned: there are more ways to have fun on a bike than there are days in a lifetime. I could live anywhere and find myself at home on a bike. A Portland girl can always vacation in moon boots.



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There's A Danish Word For That

As robust as the English language is, I am always a bit relieved when it comes up short. How nice to think that when we search for a word to explain some nuance of the human experience, that some other language might have just what we need.  For example, it is greatly comforting that the Japanese have a word for looking worse after a haircut.  The word "age-otori" reassures me that I'm not the only one this happens to.

I want you (and everyone you know) to know about my favorite untranslatable Danish word, "hygge." If all we had was the English word "cozy" your life would be less rich I am sure. So, let's hear from the Danes about hygge:

I've got a pretty firm grasp on cozy. It's hot chocolate and sock knitting. It's big sweaters and long novels. But the word "hygge", perhaps because of its foreignness, suggests that we should try to translate it. We should try to cultivate a hygge atmosphere. We should explicate its relational quality. It is having a sip of your friend's hot chocolate and knitting a sock for your brother. It is wearing your boyfriend's sweater and reading a favorite passage out loud.

Hygge. Say it often. Say it together. And let a new kind of coziness be found in its translation.


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Bike Fit 101

Does my bike fit me? 

This is one of the most common questions we get asked here, and so we're planning an event dedicated to providing you with some answers, tips and tricks.

Join us on November 25 for Bike Fit 101 when Natalie Ramsland, Gladys' resident bicycle fitter, will be on hand to answer all of your burning questions about whether or not the bike you're riding is really the right size for your body!

  • Learn what it means to have a bike fit your body, and why it's important
  • How to tell if a frame is too big or small for your body
  • Quick tips for adjusting your saddle height and fore/aft (front-to-back position) to best support your body
  • Check out and  adjust your handlebar position and/or know if your bars are the right size

WHAT: Bike Fit 101

WHEN: Tuesday, November 25, 6:30pm-8pm

WHERE: Gladys Bikes

HOW: This event is limited to the first ten people who RSVP to This will be a hands on event, so BYOB -- bring your own bike, that is. 




Winter Service Specials

Winter Specials

Take advantage of our special rates November 1 - January 31: Cheaper prices and super fast turnarounds, oh my!

Winter Overhaul Special: $125 (save $75)

  • Hubs/ Headset overhaul
  • Clean/ replace drivetrain (parts additional)
  • Clean/ replace brakes (parts additional)
  • Install new brake and shifting cables (parts included)
  • Install any new parts/ accessories you'd like
  • Clean up the entire bike so that it sparkles and rides like new --- or better!

Winter Tune Up Special: $50 (save $25)

  • Inspect & adjust braking and shifting
  • Inspect and adjust bearing systems (hubs, headset, bottom bracket)
  • True wheels
  • Light cleaning of frame, drive train and wheel rims
  • Tighten up all bolts
  • Lube chain and cables
  • Air up your tires and get you on the road



Levi's Commuter Jeans: The wait is (almost) over.


The rumors are true: Levi's Commuter line is coming.

Since the men's collection was released in 2012, we've been waiting patiently (ok, sometimes not so patiently) for the women's versions to come. We've been dreaming about crotches that won't wear holes, of pockets that are deep enough for our keys, of denim that doesn't soak up rain like a sponge, of jeans that are made to happily coexist with a lifestyle that involved lots of time in the saddle. 

Well, we're happy to report that Levi's will be releasing their Women's Commuter line in Spring 2015 at a limited number of retailers around the country -- including Gladys Bikes! We can't wait. Stay tuned....



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Cleverhood Rain Cape: Why I Broke Up With My Rain Pants


I never really loved my rain pants. It was a relationship of convenience. Okay, you could say I used them for their durable water repellancy,  but in my defense they were really not bringing much to the relationship. I'd pull them out during the heavy spring rains, only to lament how sweaty-wet wasn't really any more fun than rainy-wet. Or, I'd pack them along in those uncertain days of early fall, only to find myself wondering, mid-downpour, if it was worth stopping by the side of the road to fiddle with my shoes and cuffs and pull them on.

Our time together was just marked by too much friction. You know what I mean?

So, when I first met the Cleverhood Rain Cape, I was smitten. I saw a future me that was drier and more fashionable. I saw a one-piece, throw--it-on-over-anything groove. I saw the words "Electric Gingham" and knew that basic black would never again be enough for me.

In the early days that the Cleverhood and I spent together, I wondered if my love for rain capes would only to prove proportionate to the disappointment of muggy rain pants.  But we've been through some stormy times now, and I can say with certainty that the rain cape has never let me down.

I suspect that everyone thinks their love story is unique. Enough about mine. I'd be happy to introduce you to your very own Cleverhood here at the shop.

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In Search of a Love Match for Wanda

Complete bike pictured below.

Complete bike pictured below.

Meet Wanda, The New Albion Starling

Wanda is freshly built up and on the market for a owner. Come on down to the shop to get to know her better.


  • Meandering rides on city streets with no particular destination in mind
  • Taking the long way home from work
  • Cruising through puddles on Spring day
  • Trips to the farmer's market, followed by rides home with a basket filled with produce
  • Anything by Loretta Lynn
  • That feeling like you're flying that you get when you ride downhill from Pittock Mansion or Mount Tabor


  • For $900, she's a steal
  • 1x8 gearing makes it perfect for city riding, with nice low gears to get you up the hills (and higher ones for flying down them)
  • Strong steel frame makes for a smooth and stable ride
  • Mixte style step through allows for a great deal of stand over clearance for a wide variety of rider heights (approx. 5'3"- 5'8")
  • Lots of clearance for fenders and racks, meant to haul anything you need it to rain or shine
  • Robin's Egg Blue for the win!
  • Stem and handlebars can be set to the height and length that are perfect for you, so it fits just so



What We Talk About When We Talk About Rain

It's unambiguous at this point. The rainy season is here. Actually, any real comment on the rain of the last couple of days will sound like an overstatement and feel like an understatement. It seems like there's an unspoken agreement that we have in Portland to just sum it up with a "Boy, howdy!", hoist our rain pants, and carry on.

There's value in that. In fact, a stoic regard for the rain jives nicely with happiness research which indicates that lowered expectations actually promotes happiness.

But my suspicion in this: We are kind of faking it. You know, to seem nice and well-adjusted. I suspect that part of us, by late-February/early-March is no longer hoisting up and carrying on. And so, with my years of experience coming to terms with the rainy season, I'm going to offer another set of complimentary perspectives to take for a spin.

1. Wet and dry is a continuum of experience. Let go of attachment to your concept of "dry" and "wet" as stable states. Reflect on permeability in the interpenetration of all things when your socks begin to feel moist. 

2. "The vase is already broken." Or, more aptly, "Your rain gear is already leaky." Those clever Buddhists have observed that, since everything comes and everything goes, we should appreciate the time that we have with things that are in a state of wholeness. Your shoe covers hold out water admirably now, but let's not be too surprised or dismayed when your socks begin to feel moist.

Then again, if actual, non-Buddhist dryness is your thing, come by the shop and we'd be happy to show you some of our favorite new rain gear.






I love a science fun fact almost as much as I love to share them. Today's fun fact is this:

Our sense of taste is connected not only to our sense of smell but also to how our ears hear. Nerves running through your ear called the Chorda Tympani connect the taste buds on the front of your tongue to your brain. So it is possible to damage your ears and have your donuts taste funky. Or even more awesome??

$20 each, but more delicious as a baker's dozen.

$20 each, but more delicious as a baker's dozen.

Which brings me to something else that I'm excited to share. We've got donut bike bells. Treat your bike, and your ears, and Portland's bikeways to the sweet, sweet sounds of donut. 

(We also have border collie, speedometer, and octopus bells, each tangentially relevant science fun facts, I'm sure!)




Welcome, Amanda

We'd like to welcome our newest employee to the shop: Amanda Lee Harrison!

In addition to being a solid mechanic, she was collegiate racer at Portland State University, and a fervent supporter of women in all aspects of cycling. 

We're so happy to have you here, Amanda!



We're officially an award-winning shop!

Remember back in July when we said we got nominated for an award? 

Let's pretend I'm not hold the award backwards in this photo, ok?

Let's pretend I'm not hold the award backwards in this photo, ok?

Well, we won! So, we can now officially call ourselves the Best Women-Focused Shop in the USA! (according to the folks at Interbike, at least)

The goal of opening up this shop has never been fancy trophies or important-sounding accolades and we definitely still have a lot of room to grow and improve, but I must say, it feels pretty darn great to be recognized and appreciated for all of the work that we have put into making this shop a place that serves and resonates with so many folks -- especially within our first year of business. 

That said, I also want to take a moment to recognize some of the amazing work that other women-focused shops around the country are doing:

  • BFF Bikes in Chicago has a great racing team that reaches out to many women and helps to draw attention to the sport of women's cycling, in addition to operating a rad shop. 
  • Pedal Chic in South Carolina is a trailblazer and an inspiration -- the first women-focused shop in the country -- admirably active in their community and obviously passionate about all that they do.
  • The Unlikely Cyclist of Orange County is always reaching out to new roadies, and has a seemingly never-ending list of rides for women to join in on.

And beyond the shops that officially call themselves women-focused, there are so many other great ones in the country that are doing a great job at serving women and people of all genders. Let's keep it up, folks! 

Also, I want to offer a HUGEBIGENORMOUSNEVERENDING thank you to the staff here:

  • Jim Ashley-Walker, Gladys' lead mechanic and the most amazing combination of talent, precision, humility and kindness all rolled up into one person. Thanks for providing our customers with top-notch service and making this place what it is, Jim. 
  • Natalie Ramsland, Gladys' in-house bicycle fitter, co-owner and framebuilder at Sweetpea Bicycles, big ol' brain filled with knowledge that she's always willing to share with customers. Thanks for all that you've shared, with customers and the shop alike. 
  • Ashley Mitchell, mechanic, workshop leader and head plant water. Thanks for quietly making shit happen, and making it look easy. 
  • Amanda Lee Harrison, mechanic and salesperson, and the newest addition to the Gladys team. Thanks for already helping to spread the cheer, fill our brains with ideas and keep the enthusiasm going!
  • Gladys Advisory Board. Y'all keep this place interesting and relevant. Thanks for your support. 

And finally, thanks to all of the customers, friends and family who have supported us from the beginning and who remind us every-single-day why we love what we do. 

Here's to many more years!



p.s. Did I mention that in addition to the shop winning an award I got the chance to meet my style icon, Gary Fisher? BEST. DAY. EVER. 


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Fall Sale

It's that time of year. Yep, it's sale time folks.

New rain jackets are super exciting. (That or Leah is just easily amused.)

New rain jackets are super exciting. (That or Leah is just easily amused.)

Throughout the the entire month of October all summer apparel -- including goodies from Moxie Cycling, Iva Jean and Shebeest -- will be 50% off.

And, as a rainy-day-but-trying-to-stay-dry special, when you purchase any wet weather apparel (jackets, pants, rain capes) you'll get 15% off fenders. 

50% of summer apparel! 15% of fenders with the purchase of wet weather apparel! Hooray!

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Happiness is a Daily Dose of Lateral Acceleration

One of my recent bike fit customers explained on his intake form that he bikes for "transportation, sanity." That makes complete sense to me. And probably to you. But why is it so hard to explain precisely why biking makes a person feel so good?

Does this question stump scientists just as does the mysterious physics of the bicycle itself? Luckily, I think we've got a hot lead on a good explanation.

His name is Slomo. He rides roller blades really slowly and has a theory about the relationship between happiness and lateral acceleration. He explains just briefly in this video how the forces of acceleration in his inner ear produce a feeling of expansiveness and joy, but one gets the sense that he'd be happy to tell you more.

As a cyclist, this strikes me as a confirmation of what I know in my (tiny ear) bones - that riding my bike makes me ridiculously happy. As a bike designer, it has me wondering if steering geometry can be optimized for lateral acceleration-induced joy. But as a human, I'm just thrilled that Slomo's got his slow roll on.



I'll Fit Your Cyclocarder Bike for a Pair of Mittens

No matter who walks in the door to my fit studio, by the time they are up on their bike, I have learned something fascinating. Sometimes it relates to the fitting; did you know that one of the dangers of being an environmental educator is that you can develop repetitive strain injuries in your wrists from puppet shows?!

But often enough, folks just bring in their smart, interesting selves and in the course of a few questions and answers I am gifted a glimpse of the world from an adjacent window.

This past weekend, it was the concept of a fibershed. Essentially, a fibershed describes the social and economic geography of how are clothes are grown, dyed, designed and fabricated. Awesome stuff if you are a fibernerd such as myself. My customer mentioned how a woman felted a wool vest by bike and thought I might like to check it out a little video in which this is mentioned.

Well, heck yeah! And you might as well.

Except for notions (buttons, zippers, etc), everything in Rebecca Burgess' wardrobe has been grown and designed within 150 miles of her home. But until putting her closet on a diet one year ago, nearly all her clothing was produced far from home, and that made her a very typical American.

I learned more about the woman who felts-by-bike here. Y'all might see me biking around this winter with a trailer full of wet soapy wool, hitting every speed bump at full tilt.



Busy Squirrels, Date Your Bike

Hello! My name is Natalie Ramsland, bike fitter at Gladys and owner of Sweetpea Bicycles. I'll be guest posting here from time to time. Having met so many of Gladys' fabulous customers, I feel like I'm in good company with you already, dear readers.

And now to what's on my mind this week.

(My bike is kind of a cheap date.)

(My bike is kind of a cheap date.)

You may be a bit like me. You might love fall and all the new routines it brings. You put new batteries in your bike lights, re-fasten the fenders, perhaps sign up for the Bike Commute Challenge… it all just gives your bike so much purpose.

But as I pedaled back from an afternoon errand today, I noticed the early-autumn smell of dry grass and overripe tomatoes. I heard the crunch of the first crispy leaves under my tires. I saw the industrious squirrels doing their thing. (Public Service Announcement: watch out for crazy squirrels!) It was all so lovely that I realized that I shouldn’t forget to date my bike. To ride for the sake of all that you can appreciate when you aren’t being so ever-lovin’ productive together.

I plan to take my bike on some dates this fall, and I invite you to consider doing the same. A few of my favorites:

  • A trip to a ‘cross race. There are plenty of local races that are fun to ride to, whether your are cheering or racing.
  • A picnic at Chapman to watch the swifts is a low-key way to spend the evening. This is Portland's answer to "walks on the beach"
  • A ride up Saltzman (if your bike is feeling frisky) is one of my favorite ways to experience total leafy immersion in the fall

And if you happen to have a special person in your life, you might invite them along. Just don’t tell them that they are the third wheel.



A Sweet Little Deal

A few weeks back we started to talk about consigning some used bikes here. We decided that if we did it we'd have to make sure that the bikes were something we could stand behind, bikes we'd be excited to pair with a new owner, bike that make sense for women's bodies. 

And then, low and behold, this pretty little number showed up at our door. Meet our first consigned bicycle...

All the sexy details:

Sweetpea Bicycles First Edition Farmer's Market

Designed for bike activist, feminist, publisher, writer extraordinaire Elly Blue (who happens to be about 5'1") as a machine that could take on daily commuting, as well as weekend trips, bike moves, and even longer road rides. Comes equipped with custom built racks by Ahearne and hand built wheels by Sugar Wheels Works (back when they were still Epic).

Price:  $2395

Frame: Steel with fender and rack mounts, relaxed road/light touring design

Geometry: 46 cm center to top, 51 center to center actual, 27.5 inches/70cm stand over height

Wheels: 26" Velocity Synergy rims with 105 hubs 

Racks: Custom, hand built, color-matched front rack by Joseph Ahearne, optional matching rear rack 

Drive train: Shimano 105 2x10

Brakes: Tektro R556

Headset: Chris King 1" threadless

Stem: Thomson 90mm

Handlebar: 36cm Salsa Poco, short reach

Saddle: Comes with Saddle Library card ($25 value) so you can choose the one that perfect for you

Curious? Stop on by. Test rides are welcome and encourage. In the meantime, here are some more photos for you to drool over.

Ahearne rack, ooh la la.

Ahearne rack, ooh la la.



Welcome to Gladys, Liv

I'm incredibly excited to share that starting this August Gladys Bikes will be a dealer of Liv Cycling USA! So, why all the excitement?

- Liv is a new, stand-alone brand from Giant Bikes that is focused exclusively on making rad bikes for women, by women.

- All too often "women's" bikes are just slightly smaller versions of the "men's" models, perhaps covered in a bath of floral patterns, and then rounded out with a downgraded build spec. This is a brand that takes women and their bodies seriously. The bikes are not only designed with sizes and geometry that makes sense, but their component choices are rock solid too. Also, they seem to get that there are more colors in the rainbow than pink.

- Liv has a huge range that respects everyone from the new rider to the certified bike nerd. From a $640(!!) entry level Avail road bike, to a legit Brava 'cross bike complete with all the fixin's and just about everything above, outside and in between, they've pretty much got something for everybody.

Be on the lookout for some Liv bikes to start landing on the shop floor within the next week or so. In the meantime, for more info on their bikes check out: