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. They range from semi-pro, “Cat 1,” to beginners, Cat 5. “Cat 6,” short for “Category 6,” is a tongue-in-cheek reference to bicycle commuters riding their own competitive race.
Cat Six is owned and operated by Kirk Bernhardt and Tim Wesolowski at 4831 N.E. 42nd Ave. Additionally, Steve, the gray –six-toed – cat is the store mascot and is in charge of security morale. “Steve’s number one trait would be curiosity mixed with an utter dedication to the art of sleeping,” Kirk reported
Cat Six strives to be 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.”
It is a compact, well-stocked store, Kirk and Tim have firsthand knowledge of the products. They can fix up a dilapidated jalopy of a bike for a reasonable price or tune up an expensive racer.
They sell a variety of sturdy, proven bicycles. They can put commuters, and people of all ages and ability on the bicycles best for them. The two are especially helpful to new bikers or folks who may have not ridden in a while.
“We’re very hands-on in our test ride process, trying to make absolutely certain that our customers get just the right bike,” Time said. They dial in the fit and help customers make the most informed decisions possible.
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 pointed out. He and Kirk soldiered on with a temporary storefront and remained open.
The construction repairs were completed in February, just a month before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Kirk and Tim adopted a temporary pause in their open hours in mid-March to promote social distancing and offered gift certificates online at Paypal.me/CatSixPDX. With Gov. Kate Brown’s “stay home, save lives” outdoor recreational activities and exercise began being promoted as long as there was noncontact and social distancing.
To support this, Cat Six began offering a modified opening so people could drop by, purchase needed equipment and leave bikes to be worked on. Check on current hours at 503.282.1178, CatSixCycles.com, @CatSixPDX or Facebook.com/Cat-Six-Cycles-753293041357739.
In a longstanding tradition, during the autumn and winter, Cat Six stays open past 7 p.m. for DIY “Neighborhood Night” on many Thursdays by appointment. Kirk and Tim provide friendly, helpful advice and generous use of specialty bike tools so you can repair your own bike.
They charge for parts, but not for their time. Although snacks and libations are not required, they are appreciated, and Kirk is known to enjoy an occasional Tecate. They encourage you to get to know your bike better, learn some skills and have fun with them – and with Steve.
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.
|Kirk Bernhardt||Tim Wesolowski|
|Originally from||Santa Cruz, California||Santa Cruz, California|
|Years in Portland||7||8|
|Primary/secondary responsibilities||mechanic/retail display||business operations/mechanic|
|Favorite bike||Hunter Cyclocross||Hunter Cyclocross|
|Favorite nonbiking activity||designing and making model cars, planes, rockets||camping, fishing, making knives|
Portland places in top 10 bike-friendly cities
Portland is well known as a bicycle-friendly city having placed in the top 10 of many national surveys. According to the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), at 6.3%, more Portland commuters go by bike than any other large American city.
A bicycle microcosm exists including infrastructure – 42 green bike boxes, protected bike lanes, Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade, Springwater Corridor, Tilikum Crossing.
Add to that engaged government planners, PBOT bike maps available online, BIKETOWN orange bike-share bicycles, annual bicycling events like the Aug. 9 Providence Bridge Pedal and the Sept. 20 Northeast Portland Sunday Parkways.
Cat Six Cycles, is one of 70 bicycle shops scattered throughout the city, that serve Portland cyclists.