Twenty years ago, Portland wasn’t yet known as a bicycle mecca, but Dave Guettler knew it was the right place and the right time to open his dream bicycle shop.
Guettler, who had spent his adult life working with bicycles, and was a partner in a successful chain of bike shops, had spent a long time planning what he saw as the ultimate bike store — one location with a large, carefully selected inventory and a staff of experts. “As a cycling enthusiast, I wanted to build the store from the perspective of an enthusiast,” Guettler says. “I wanted to give them a store they’d be really excited to walk into.”
A skilled woodworker, Guettler hand-built stylish wooden fixtures, a natural compliment to the bicycles’ modern material.
By creating a work environment that attracted an excellent staff, and by sharing profits with the employees, River City Bicycles has maintained a low employee turnover, and has built a reputation for customer service. Over the years, the staff has included national cycling champions, up-and-coming frame builders, and passionate community organizers.
We’ve been committed to the local cycling community, sponsoring local teams and clubs, giving to rides races and events (we’re the title sponsor of the Cross Crusade race series), and donating to organizations like Bikes to Rwanda and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. Our ongoing “Commute By Bike” campaign is one of Guettler’s personal passions, recognizing the combination of human and bicycle as “the perfect machine – the perfect motor”.
River City has also been an innovator. We developed the Reacharound fender bracket for road bikes without fender clearance. Our desire for a good collection of Portland bike rides became the Rubber to the Road guide books, and RubberToTheRoad.com. Our trendsetting Full Wood fenders have been featured several times in the national media.
“I am kind of surprised by what River City has turned into,” Guettler said, attributing the store’s success to “the community of people that work here and shop here.” “We haven’t really changed that much from that initial vision, except for the support that the community has given us.”