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Seattle Bicycle Collective more than Capitol Hill’s only bike shop


SBC owner JT Lawson in his new shop with the next generation of Capitol Hill cycling enthusiasts. (Photo: CHS)

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.

“I don’t want to get into the turn and burn motive of a bike shop,” he said. “It’s about getting the community involved, change people’s minds about biking.”Evernote Camera Roll 20140130 133047

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.

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11 thoughts on “Seattle Bicycle Collective more than Capitol Hill’s only bike shop

  1. Pingback: CHS: Capitol Hill’s Seattle Bicycle Collective is small, but fills a big bike shop need | Seattle Bike Blog

  2. Reading the article one would think Velo was relocated into outer space (1.1 miles away), I got very excited to walk by the sign but there are plenty of options.

    • I know what you mean about Velo *only* being 1.1 mile away, but when I’ve got a sick (as in not well) bike and need some place close to take it in the Bike Collective or 20/20 are best for me in that the BC is only 3 blocks away and 20/20 is 7 blocks away.

  3. Pingback: Latest Shop News |

  4. I really do want to support this endeavour but there are things going against it such as that his “hours” are not regular and in order to get something done you need to call him on his mobile (if that works which sometimes that does not even work.) I get what he’s trying to do but really he has a lot on his plate besides his bicycle business. I can sympathize that he’s got his own personal concerns (taking care of his kid etc) but realities are that I’m more inclined to seek out 20/20 who I know will be there (albeit with varying open hours depending on the time of year.) I hope he can make a go of it though if it were me I’d be sort of depressed working in a claustrophobic space with no outside light, but maybe that’s just me.