It’s hard to believe, we’re not sure exactly why it happened, but Capitol Hill is in need of some more working bike mechanics. The void left by Velo’s departure last year dealt a blow to the needs of Capitol Hill’s biking masses.
To help fill that hole a new bike shop has sprung up inside a non-descript office building 12th and Pine. The Seattle Bicycle Collective quietly opened its doors in January with a small sandwich board sign and a tiny office space inside the Richmark Label building. It’s no Velo, and that was the idea.
SBC’s owner JT Lawson is a longtime Seattle bike mechanic and creator of custom bike accessories through his small operation Overbuilt. Inside his cramped office space Lawson operates a fully functional bike repair shop, sells parts and refurbished bikes, manufactures bike parts, teaches classes, and uses an industrial sewing machine to custom make biker hats and messenger bags. Lawson said keeping the shop small, down to earth, and community focused is all part of the plan.
In addition to his passion for mechanics, Lawson told CHS he wants to use his space to teach both kids and adults on how to work on their own bikes.
“There’s a lot of pretentiousness in biking,” said Lawson, who dispelled any lofty airs cradling his 5-month-old son inside the shop. “There’s an injustice done there to young people.”
Meanwhile, there are a few other bike shops close enough to Capitol Hill, including 20/20 Cycle, Branford Bike, and Montlake Bicycle.
Last year, CHS reported that Velo pedaled off the Hill to Belltown. Developers behind the Legacy Pine project are now set to transform the auto row-era home of Value Village and The Stranger into a preservation-focused office and retail development.
The Seattle Bike Collective is located at 1605 12th Ave and is open 11-7, Tuesday through Sunday. You can learn more on the SBC Facebook page.