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Michael Jellinek

What inspired you to work at Cyclepath?

I started working at Cyclepath 15 years ago when there were no employees aside from the two owners. I was inspired by their commitment to providing top quality service and support for small, exciting brands that were pushing limits in the industry. Since I took over the shop, my inspiration has come from getting to help grow the Cyclepath PDX Community - from my incredible coworkers and the folks that support the shop to the other amazing shops and bike organizations in the city that we work with - they all inspire me on a daily basis. It's an amazing group of folks and I feel privileged to be a part of it.

How long have you worked in the bike industry?

I've been in the bike industry since 2003. I started in central NJ at a shop called Wheel Life Cycles.

What's the most challenging repair or custom job you've done on a bike? 

The most challenging repair I've done was finding the source of a creak on a titanium road bike. It took nearly six hours of trying things before, out of desperation, I removed the headset cups from the frame to try swapping them. Light hit the inside of the headtube just right and unveiled a web of cracks only visible from inside the tube where the downtube was welded to the headtube. It was satisfying and a reminder that persistence pays off in the end. 

What is your favorite type of riding?

These days I enjoy riding my gravel bike from my house in NE to Forest Park, but I also enjoy just riding around the city with my daughters exploring. If I had the time and freedom, I'd be mountain biking a lot more, but life is busy these days.

Can you share your most memorable bike related memory? 

One of my strongest bike-related memories is crossing an old train bridge over a raging river in the Czech Republic during a bike tour with my wife. There were gaps in the bridge and the front wheel of my fully loaded touring bike fell and wedged itself between some rotting boards. Suddenly the tracks started to vibrate and we realized a train was coming around the bend towards us. I somehow I managed to free the bike and sprint across the bridge just before the train came. The momentum of that sprint and the weight of our touring bikes sent us sliding down a steep embankment at the end of the bridge that led to edge of a highway. We gathered ourselves and rode along the highway shoulder shaking with adrenaline until we came to the first place that served beer. 

I'll never forget how good that Gambrinus Gold tasted.

What is your favorite part about cycling? 

My favorite part about cycling is the sense of freedom I experience on the bike. Since I was a kid, I have been in love with that particular sensation of being untouchable that comes with being in a state of self-propelled motion. For me, it's equal parts thrilling and meditative.

-What steps do you think that cycling organizations can take to increase diversity and inclusivity among their members? 

I think increasing diversity and inclusivity begins with understanding privilege, and identifying the ways in which those less privileged have been historically excluded and left behind in the world of cycling. From there, it's a matter of creating opportunities for change through action and investment. 

In what ways are you involved in the local bike community?

As the owner of Cyclepath, I actively support as many teams, clubs, trail-building organizations, schools, events and the like as possible. There are so many good people in the PDX and PNW Cycling Community doing amazing things that I am fortunate to collaborate with - far too many to list.

What do you like to do outside of biking?

These days are pretty full with running the shop, but I still find time to enjoy life with my amazing wife Dara and two incredible daughters, Isabel and Emily, exploring the PNW. I also enjoy making art, all kinds of music, literature, soccer (PTFC).

What do you think is the biggest misconception about cycling?

The biggest misconception about cycling is that it is not for everyone. Cycling is not about being the fittest or the fastest or having the right riding gear or knowing where the secret trails are; all of that stuff can be intimidating or alienating for potential new riders. Cycling is about finding the joy and sense of personal freedom that riding a bike can provide. To my mind, cycling is a lot like music or other forms of art - there is something there for everyone, just find what works for you and go with it. Riding a bike makes you a cyclist.