By Keith Daellenbach | CNA Media Team
Have you wondered about the name of Cat Six Cycles, 4831 N.E 42nd Ave.? It stems from the five categories of bike racing from semi-pro to beginners. “Cat 6,” short for “Category 6,” is a tongue-in-cheek reference to bicycle commuters riding their own competitive race.
Kirk Bernhardt and Tim Wesolowski operate their own race, a full-service bike store. Steve, the gray and appropriate sixtoed cat, is the store mascot in charge of morale. “Steve’s number one trait would be curiosity mixed with an utter dedication to the art of sleeping,” Kirk reported.
Cat Six is an accessible shop. “Bike shops can be funny places and unfortunately they can be intimidating for lots of different folks,” Tim said. “We really strive to not be that shop and provide our absolute best to everyone who comes through the door.”
Cat Six can fix a dilapidated jalopy of a bike for a reasonable price, or it can tune up an expensive racer.
Tim and Kirk sell a variety of proven bicycles that are especially helpful for new bikers. “We’re very hands-on in our test ride process, trying to make absolutely certain that our customers get just the right bikes,” Tim pointed out. They dial in the fit.
On a September night last year, shortly after Kirk and Tim celebrated the store’s fifth anniversary, a car crashed into the shop.
“Thankfully, no one got hurt but there was major structural damage,” Tim explained. He and Kirk soldiered on with a temporary storefront, and the store remained open.
The construction repair was completed in February before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Open hours were temporarily paused in mid-March to promote social distancing, and gift certificates were available online.
When the “stay home, save lives” order was issued, bicycling was recognized for its noncontact and social distancing. So Cat Six began a modified opening for people to drop by, purchase needed equipment and leave bikes for repairs.
Check with the store – 503.282.1178 or CatSixCycles.com – for its current open hours.
During the autumn and winter, DIY “Neighborhood Nights” are hosted at Cat Six on many Thursday evenings. Kirk and Tim provide helpful advice and generous use of specialty bike tools for personal bike repair.
They charge for parts, but not their time. Although snacks and libations are not required, they are appreciated. In fact, Kirk is known to enjoy a Tecate occasionally.
Those evenings offer an opportunity to get to know your bike better, learn some skills and have fun with Tim, Kirk and Steve.
Editor’s note: Keith has more to tell about Cat Six than fits in the limited space of a CNews story. For “the rest of the story,” visit ConcordiaPDX.org/CatSix.
Keith Daellenbach is a mechanical engineer and outdoor enthusiast who loves mountain climbing, biking and canoeing with wife Amy, and teenage son Micah. An annual summer solstice rite of passage is to bike up Larch Mountain from his home in Concordia.