RIP, James’ bike (relatedly, looking for ideas)

Earlier this week, James biked to work and texted me a bit later to say his bike felt weird on his way in, so he took it to the PSU Bike Hub to give it a check-up while he was at his office. I didn’t think too much of it, since lots of things potentially feel weird on bikes all the time if you pay attention. But then later he called me to say that actually, his bike is toast.


(when James first got this bike in 2008 (!!!) Such babies back then, both of them <3 )


It turns out that the bottom of his frame is totally (and rather catastrophically) cracked. (Ha, when he first told me his frame was cracked, I was like “but it’s steel, can’t we just weld it back together??” but apparently that’s not really a thing for this. Unless it is and the bike shop dude just didn’t want to try;)

It’s kind of hard to take a picture that shows what’s up, but we tried this:



So sad! James has had this bike for almost 15 years now; it’s his everything bike and the bike that took him across the country last summer. On the whole it’s had a good run, but my sentimental little heart is very sad about it!


(James and his bike at the old Eagle Theater in Old Sac, one time in 2012 when we took our bikes to Sacramento:)


(and unexpectedly snow-biking to Stub Stewart State Park, 2016. I’d forgotten these different incarnations of handlebar tape:)


Even more sad is that since Seven Corners Cycles doesn’t exist anymore, I have no idea where to start with trying to procure another bicycle (or maybe just another frame?) (who do I ask my bike questions if not Corey and Gretchen??) Do any of you have trusted bike shops, preferably not too far away from SE Portland? Or any thoughts about the best way to proceed?

Some considerations:

1. James just spent a bunch of time/money before our cross-country trip to wire his bike up with a sweet dyno hub. This doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but it’d be maybe nice to still be able to use that on a new bike, though disc brakes would also be sweet and I don’t think those will work with that hub.

2. James is tall, so no mini-bikes, heh.

3. I think James is into something new, not something repurposed, though I’m not entirely sure about that.

4. Really, it’d be nice to just have a trusted bike shop that I know and love the way I did Seven Corners, so if nothing else, if you have any bike shop recommendations — preferably a shop that is owned by real people who are in their real shop and will remember your name and do right by you (is that too much to ask these days?), I’m kind of in the market for a new bike shop to love. I have tried Joe Bikes and it’s not my favorite, but that’s about it.

Soooo, sad day for James’ bike:( But maybe the beginning of the beginning of a grand new bike chapter?


  1. Man, that sucks. But fifteen years is a good run, especially if James has used this as his One Bike, day in and day out.

    I’m no bike frame expert, but while I think the frame could be welded, since the break happened at the bottom bracket, which is the most stressed joint area on a bike, it probably would just be a matter of time before it re-broke or broke at another spot. Plus, a weld would look pretty hideous by itself. You’d have to strip/repaint the bike again to hide it, which would cost even more money. It’s probably the best decision to walk away and start anew.

    As for dynamo setup, yeah, if James wants to switch to disc brakes a new front wheel will need to be built, with a new dynamo hub. He could find a bike with rim brakes to use the existing setup (as long as the wheel is the same size), but new rim brake bikes suitable for touring is getting harder and harder.

    As for bike shops close by, that’s also gotten tough. SE used to have so many shops. There still are, but ones that will deal in new touring style bikes are few. I haven’t been to Joe Bikes in a long time (the owner turned me off from using them) so I don’t know what they have. Geoff at Portland Bicycle Emporium occasionally has new bikes, but it’s hit and miss. I’ve used North Portland Bikeworks for the last two decades, but yes, it’s in North Portland. They should have a few Jamis touring bikes, though.

    Good luck.

  2. Doing a deeper dive, looks like the only Surly dealer in Portland now is River City, and it looks like they carry Disc Truckers. I know that River City doesn’t necessarily elicit the “warm fuzzies” that a shop like Seven Corners did, at least they are established and should still be around to service it. So that’s an option.

    • Ok, an even deeper dive reveals that there are more dealers in the area. (I omitted Universal because I don’t feel that would be a choice for you guys.) Gladys, Splendid, and TomCat Cycles are listed. But I’m guessing that the selection at River City is going to be the best, the other shops might have a few things and the ability to order a bike.

      • Oh man, THANK YOU for all this! (Thanks for taking the time to think about and look into it, I mean:) You are the best:)

        I don’t think that James’ new bike necessarily needs to be a Surly again, but that link was a good spot to start if only for other bike shops. I considered Gladys actually, since I used to go there sometimes when I didn’t mind taking the bus home, but I haven’t been since Leah sold it and now I feel like it’s been so long that I don’t know it anymore. But that bike shop relationship might be worth rekindling, heh. River City feels like a solid but not, as you said, warm fuzzy bet. Though at least local;) Someone else recommended Sellwood Cycles, though I don’t know anything about it. Anyway. I suspect we’ll probably go to a few places and try some things and places out and see how it goes–thanks for helping narrow the search:) (if you have any other thoughts later, I definitely welcome them at any time!)

        • Yeah, the best thing to do is check out some different bikes, both in person and online. Ask James what he wants in a new bike–did the LHT do everything for him he needed, or does he want something different? This is an important question to ask, especially since “bikes like the LHT” are dwindling with each year.

          Does James own only one bike?

          • Shawn!

            Thank you so much for these ideas. What an awesome start. I do have another bike that I’m able to use for the interim while I get things sorted out on what’s next. I guess I had a really great experience with a touring bike like LHT. It was primarily my daily commute bike and it was wonderful to have the ability to just throw two (or usually one) pannier on it and head off to wherever I was going knowing that my bike would have no issues if I decided to pick up a bunch of groceries on the way home. I am in the market again for one bike that I can use both for commuting, but also for the occasional tour/longer trip.

            I’ll check out some of the spots you mentioned, thank you again for your thoughts!


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