Host Jonathan Maus: Ever since I got seriously into cycling in my freshman year of college or so, I've loved hanging out at bike shops. My friends and I were huge shop rats back in the day, and as I record more of these Shop Talk episodes, I'm realizing how much I've missed it.
Getting to know and chat with people like my guest this week, Tom Martin of TomCat Bikes on SE Milwaukie and Powell, is a big reason why.
So much of what we think of as "local bike culture" exists in and/or comes from bike shops and I believe they're a vital part of our cycling ecosystem.
Tom Martin seems to embrace that responsibility. Since opening TomCat Bikes in 2018 after 35 years wearing many different hats in the bike industry, his shop has become firmly established in the Brooklyn neighborhood. In this interview you'll hear how friends helped him survive the Covid boom, learn why he's become the go-to shop for fans of Burning Man and freak bikes, find out why he thinks major shifts in the bike industry will help his business, find out why he thinks local bike theft chop shops — which he calls "bicycle slaughterhouses" — are tied to organized crime rings, and what it means to give a bike a soul