Capitol Hill’s Velo Bike Shop planning 2013 move to Denny Triangle

Photo by CHS, used with permission.

Even though it is among the most bikey neighborhoods in Seattle, Capitol Hill could lose its only fully-featured bike shop next year as Velo Bike Shop plans a move from it’s longtime 11th and Pine home to 6th and Blanchard in the Denny Triangle, Capitol Hill Seattle reports.

Velo plans to open the new shop in the under-construction Via6 apartments spring 2013, and the new shop will be very much a part of the building. In addition to the shop, Velo will operate a bike club that offers locker rooms with showers, secure bike parking for up to 250 bikes and even a bike wash.

With Amazon likely making a big move to the block and the popular bike commute route on 7th Avenue getting a big bike-friendly makeover, Velo seems to be getting in on what could be a bike revolution in the rapidly changing Denny Triangle.

And, as CHS reports, Velo has a long history of providing all kinds of bike services in Seattle:

Generations of the family have worked at the business Glenn Tamura founded as a bike rental venture along Lake Washington Blvd just before the big bike boom of the 1970s. That’s when he opened the Capitol Hill shop. Others followed. In the 1990s, however, much of the Tamura biking business fell to pieces. The family was able to keep the 11th and Pine shop and it became their sole outlet. This 2000 Seattle Times profile provides a history of the Velo stores. It makes no mention, however, of Glenn’s role in establishing Bicycle Sundays, helping to introduce bicycles to the Seattle Police Department or his Sekai bicycle brand that is now a sought-after collectible. The family says there are plenty of other tales of the Tamuras helping to keep Seattle rolling.

Velo’s new store at 6th and Blanchard will be about half the size of the current location but presents the opportunity for the Tamura family to expand into a new bike-related venture. The Via6 apartment towers are described as a “vertical neighborhood” – the idea for the new Velo will be to provide that neighborhood with the bikes it needs and services like bike parking, lockers, showers and, yes, even a bike wash:

Map of new planned location:


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11 Responses to Capitol Hill’s Velo Bike Shop planning 2013 move to Denny Triangle

  1. Jerome says:

    Can’t say it’s a dumb move, but it’s sad that Capitol Hill – one of the “most bikey neighborhoods in Seattle” – will lose its only real bike shop. I was always surprised that there wasn’t more than one in such a neighborhood, and soon there will be none. Hopefully someone else will step up with a new shop – the market definitely exists. I recently moved away from CH but still like the neighborhood and would appreciate a bike shop for the times that I visit.

  2. andrew squirrel says:

    Wow, this is really going to boost sales at 2020 Cycle considering they are the only bike shop in that area now.

    • Jerome says:

      I never knew about 20/20, I’ll have to check them out next time I’m in the area.

      • Tom Fucoloro says:

        20/20′s my neighborhood shop. Great people, and a great place to keep your ride rolling, find an affordable used bike or accessorize. They don’t have much in the mid-to-high range, as their focus seems to be mostly on making bikes affordable and accessible (plus it’s a small shop, so stocking tons of sizes would be a challenge).

        Also, check out the custom Sealth bikes they made with Bombus Bikes. Their take on the perfect “Seattle bike.”

  3. Nikki says:

    As I stated on their blog, I’d rather find a new bike shop than go downtown.

    What’s happening to neighborhood businesses? So sad.

  4. amy says:

    I love Velo. I was pretty shocked to see the headline, and I am sad that they will no longer serve the community on Capitol Hill. There is a huge need to have a bike shop like Velo on the Hill, so I hope someone else sweeps in to fill the gap. (I love 20/20 too – they are awesome – but out of the way for me.)
    Having said that, Velo is setting up shop right by my work, so I am extremely glad I can continue to visit them. There are already a lot of bike commuters passing through here and there will be even more when Amazon arrives, so they will do well.

  5. Austin says:

    This brings to my mind all of the fuss a very vocal minority in Capitol Hill is making over new property developments in the neighborhood. I love beautiful old construction with character, but it seems to me that Velo is leaving a sort-of-junky old building for a modern facility with superior amenities. I’ll also take my cozy, modern, energy efficient, earthquake resistant apartment.

  6. Anthony says:

    I broke my XC Pro grease guard pedal spindle one day just JRA’ing uphill back in ’94 right smack dab in front of Velo’s old shop location when they had it just above Bauhaus a block or three. Next thing I know, I have a toeclip and pedal cage hanging off of my foot, and the crank with a nub sticking out! How often does that happen, literally in front of a bike shop?! I was laughing so hard as I did it and staring at their shop at the same time.

    Another HUGE VOTE for 20/20. Those women and men there are the real deal. Usually has great customer service, excellent small old parts selection, and atmosphere that most shops can’t even begin to imagine. Kind of like old Recycled Cycles, but since they now have a Recycled Cycles West, it seems to have regained that status that the Boat Street location lost years ago. So, big vote for Recycles Freakymont location as well.

    Good luck to Velo, and possibly a damn smart move. More and more commuters, so this could be a boon to all cyclists. Also, hate to say it, but Capitol Hill seems like it’s moribund in terms of cycling these days…at best.

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