Back Alley Bike Repair is on track to open its doors February 14, operating out of the shop’s space in Nord Alley in Pioneer Square.
We spoke with the shop’s owner Ben Rainbow in December about closing the Bicycle Alliance’s Bike Port and the attached JRA bike shop, where Rainbow was the manager. That shop closed at the end of the year.
Now, Rainbow has moved the shop to Nord Alley, where he is opening Back Alley Bike Repair. The shop will still focus on same-day tune-ups for commuters in addition to selling commuter gear and new and used bikes.
Rainbow wrote a post on the Bicycle Alliance blog describing how the shop came to be:
When the decision was made to close Bike Port at the end of 2011, discussion ensued about the future of JRA Bike Shop’s Pioneer Square location. Todd Vogel, local sustainable business visionary and Pioneer Square mover and shaker, was interested in having the bike shop relocate to the alley area of his historic Nord Building. The space had been used as a non-profit conference area as well as a staging area for First Thursday Art Walk parties and receptions, and Nord Alley has hosted World Cup viewing parties, as well as a rotating array of art installations.
Hmm, let’s see… funky cool space in the heart of Pioneer Square, alley access, socially progressive landlord? Sounds pretty good. Then I come to find out that the remaining entirety of the ground floor of the Nord Building will be the new headquarters of the Bicycle Alliance of Washington and current tenants in the modern downstairs office space include Feet First, OneEnergy Renewables, and the International Sustainability Institute.
As the manager of JRA’s Pioneer Square shop, I saw this as a perfect opportunity to re-invest in Pioneer Square and have an urban commuter repair cycling emporium right off Occidental Park and the corner of First and Main. But for JRA owner Eric Berg, the massive amount of energy to move two bike shops in the same year (he had already relocated his Greenwood shop) meant change was in the air. It was with Eric’s sincerest blessings that I would buy out an inventory of tools and shop fixtures and re-open in the new alley location as Back Alley Bike Repair. Like all worthy business ventures, we sealed the deal over some delicious local pints.
The Grand Opening Celebration of the shop will be a few weeks later during the March First Thursday Art Walk in Pioneer Square.