About Velo Bike Shop

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Two Wheels, Four Generations

It began in 1968 by Glenn Tamura at a closed down gas station in the Madison Park neighborhood. With the vision of bikes being more than kids toys, Velo started as a rental business offering bikes for people to ride around the University of Washington, Arboretum and along Lake Washington Boulevard. When the City of Seattle organized Bicycle Sundays, days for cyclists of all abilities to ride along Lake Washington Boulevard without car traffic, a rental location was added along the Lake Washington.

 
  Bicycle Sundays continue today in the late Spring and Summer. Photo credit: City of Seattle; Bicycle Sundays

Bicycle Sundays continue today in the late Spring and Summer. Photo credit: City of Seattle; Bicycle Sundays

 
  1972 Mail Order Catalog

1972 Mail Order Catalog

The early years

In the early years of bike sales the shop was named Velocipede. When the gas crisis of the 1970's led to a bike boom, sales of new bicycles overtook the rental business. Sales began with USA made Columbia bikes as well as some French and Japanese models but limited product inventory couldn't meet the consumer demand. The shop started importing Sekai bicycles from Japan, providing Velocipede with plenty of inventory. During this explosion in the popularity of bikes, the shop expanded to other Seattle neighborhoods including Capitol Hill, the University District, Downtown and West Seattle. Beyond expanding storefronts, the business became a wholesale parts and bikes supplier, providing Sekai bicycles and Campagnolo parts to other bike shops all over the country. 

  1972 Mail Order Catalog Excerpt

1972 Mail Order Catalog Excerpt

 

From Capitol Hill to Downtown Seattle

In 1995 the locations were consolidated to one at 11th and Pine in Capitol Hill (where the original REI was located!). Now run by Lloyd Tamura, the shop was renamed Velo Bike Shop and Capitol Hill remained our home for the next 27 years. While we loved our Capitol Hill spot, Seattle's growth and changing landscape meant it was time to find a new location. In 2013, we packed up 45 years worth of bike shop history and moved to Downtown Seattle in the Via6 Apartment Building where we are today.

  Velo Bike Shop location from 1985 - 2013 at 11th Ave. & Pine St.

Velo Bike Shop location from 1985 - 2013 at 11th Ave. & Pine St.

Over the last fifty years we have sold thousands of bicycles to three generations of Seattleites and employed hundreds of people, many of whom worked and made their way through college at the University of Washington, Seattle Pacific University and Seattle University.

As we ride through the next fifty years, Seattle will continue to change but our mission will remain the same: to provide the best possible service to cyclists in our community for generations to come.

  Excerpt from 1993 25th Anniversary Flyer

Excerpt from 1993 25th Anniversary Flyer

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