By Mary Murphy, UW News Lab/Special to CHS
Velo Bike Shop has closed after serving the Seattle bike community for 55 years. Ten years ago, it left Capitol Hill. The shop’s lease was up, and after serving the bike community for decades, owner Lloyd Tamura is retiring.
“Seattle had this huge bicycle renaissance in the ‘70s in the ‘80s, and Velo became a real institution on Capitol Hill,” Tom Fucoloro, founder of the Seattle Bike Blog, told CHS about the bittersweet milestone. “They will forever have a very solid place in bike history.”
Founded in 1968, Velo started its journey at an abandoned gas station in Madison Park, renting bikes for people to ride around the University of Washington, Lake Washington Boulevard, and the Arboretum.
The store became so popular that after some time, Velo was able to open up multiple locations in Capitol Hill, the University District, downtown, West Seattle, and later South Lake Union.
Happy Bike Everywhere Day: Friday May 19th is Bike Everywhere Day with events and stations lined up to greet riders across the city. Seattle Bike Blog has the 2023 BED map here.
In the ’90s, Lloyd took over the family store, and Velo Bikes consolidated into one location: its well-known storefront in Capitol Hill at 11th and Pine where it was open for 27 years.
Velo later made the move to the South Lake Union neighborhood in 2013, for reasons concerning their building’s lease and the growing property rental rates in Capitol Hill.
During the time of Velo’s move to South Lake Union in 2013, Seattle created a mass increase of biking infrastructure downtown. At the same time, companies like Amazon, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, and Google were booming in the South Lake Union neighborhood.
Velo Bike’s journey tells a broader story about the evolution of Capitol Hill and Seattle’s ever-changing biking culture. Continue reading