15 years ago today, FreeRange Cycles in Fremont hatched! Happy Birthday, FreeRange.
3501 Phinney Avenue N
Seattle, WA. 98103
Tuesday – Thursday: 10:30am – 6:30pm
Friday – Saturday: 10:30am – 5:00pm
Sunday – Monday: Closed
Established: March 1st, 1997
Owner (and founder): Kathleen
Wrenches: Kathleen, Kellen
Here are Kathleen and Kellen in the shop:
Kathleen with her Lyon:
“My [personal] bikes are steel. The drop-handlebar bikes I like because there’s a sense of power and fun. The upright [handlebar] bikes I also like because there’s a sense of playfulness and being a child again.”
How would you describe FreeRange Cycles?
“We’re a commuter-oriented shop that specializes in steel road bikes.”
Kellen doing what he does:
“I have an early ‘80’s Italian racing bike; a Bianchi. It’s the most impractical bike that I own because you can’t put full fenders on it very easily…it doesn’t take a very wide tire, I mean it’s like the most awful thing to have in the city, but one of the reasons why I like riding bikes is because I like to go fast, so this is my fastest bike…everytime I think I’m going to get rid of it I find myself going up a hill way faster than I would [on] any other bicycle I own.”
(Kellen also rides a Surly Cross-Check. And he plays drums with the terrordactyls.)
FreeRange’s most popular bikes?
The Surly Cross-Check, Surly Long Haul Trucker and Jamis Aurora.
Most popular products?
Fenders, leather/Brooks saddles, and panniers.
They also have a variety of bikes from builders other than Surly and Jamis. Like Rawland:
Most popular service?
Kathleen: “The Chicken.” (Adjust bearing surfaces, adjust brakes and derailleurs, minor wheel true, lube, and safety check.) “[We] go through your bike pretty thoroughly and…when we do that we check for other things…if other things are wrong we let you know…check your chain, make sure it’s not worn out, replace it if it is.”
Where did the name ‘FreeRange’ come from?
“Mytchell Mead and I were trying to figure out a name and I wanted a coyote on a bicycle. He said, ‘No, that’s too Eastern Washington.’ So he went down to visit his parents in Colorado and he found this old piece of metal in his dad’s barn and he just started cutting it out and realized it was going to be ‘FreeRange Cycles.’ Everyday we would run over to PCC and get ‘freerange food.’ So he did the freerange chicken with dreadlocks on a bike.”
“We had some t-shirts done in Nepal and the Nepalese man told the guy who was making our t-shirts, ‘I can make a better chicken than that.’ He didn’t think it was very true to life; he didn’t realize that it was a cartoon chicken.”
What is one thing all cyclists should know?
Kathleen and Kellen (in unison): “How to change a flat.”
Kathleen: “You don’t want it to paralyze you from riding and I think a lot of people sometimes [avoid riding] their bike in fear of getting a flat…if they knew how to repair a flat and knew it’s fairly easy…”
What’s the best thing about Seattle cyclists?
Kellen: “They actually ride their bikes all year. People aren’t afraid to go out in any kind of weather. And I get the sense that here–and probably a lot of the West Coast as well–people don’t think that you have to wear Lycra to ride bicycles.”
Kathleen: “I’ll agree with him, that people ride bikes year-round, and that the city promotes it.”
What would you change about Seattle bike culture and/or facilities?
Kathleen: “[I’d] get rid of the bike lanes…[There’s the danger of getting] hit by a door, and then if you get out too far you [can] get hit by a car.”
And the Sharrows?
“We call those ‘Death-rows’…Seattle has a pretty conscientious driving population, but I think we should do what Europe does and put the bike lane in between the sidewalk and the parked cars…separate from the (moving) cars.”
Kellen: “Vashon Island, Chuckanut Drive and anything around (near) Lake Washington.”
(Chuckanut Drive is the historic, scenic road between Burlington and Bellingham. Here’s a picture of it and a view from it:)
FreeRange Cycles has a lot of beautiful bikes. Here’s a Rivendell Hillborne with a unique double top-tube:
And another Hillborne, this one with some amazing paint (that the photo doesn’t adequately capture):
And for the girly-girls, this gorgeous Rivendell Betty Foy:
Just look at these lugs:
This bike should come with a t-shirt that says, “I ♥ lugs.”