Aug 172012
Hub and Bespoke: Worth a Bikespedition All Its Own

The center dress, made in Portland, reverses front to back for a high or low neckline and turns inside out to a heather gray.

The center dress, made in Portland, reverses front to back for a high or low neckline and turns inside out to a heather gray.

For someone dedicated to riding a bike and looking pretty much like every other busy, Outlook-calendar-flogged person hustling into a meeting—as opposed to standing out as the sweaty one in Spandex sausage casings—a trip to Hub and Bespoke in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle is a trip to the source, the wellspring, the manna, the muse, the… you get the idea.

Their site really doesn’t give you the full flavor of the types of products you’ll find there. They don’t sell online; when we first met owner Juliette told me her selection is aimed at the local demographic and weather conditions she knows well and she wanted to stick with that.

Bike-themed art and a Brompton folding bike hang out next to a big assortment of bike bags.

On the web you can check out some of the great local artists whose bike-themed works have hung there and see a few examples of their products, but you really just have to make the pilgrimage.

I’d been to the shrine last November on a trip to visit family, long before I knew I’d be moving to Seattle. I tried on the Outlier Tailored pants I’d identified as the best option in my long quest, got some eye-catching crocheted wool stockings in dark brown that I subsequently wore all winter with a variety of skirts, and chatted with Juliette, planning to return.

Last Saturday I got to head out for my first long bike ride in Seattle, after getting fleeting impressions of city riding in the first few days of the new job. Sweet Hubs has been checking out the routes so he navigated our way northward from our temporary abode in the heart of downtown.

With a couple of stops to get our bearings we climbed hills (inevitable!), just missed getting doored by a young man getting out of a taxi on First somewhere around University (who apologetically said, “My bad!”), used the bike lanes on Dexter Way (which feature an extra buffer strip between riders and the car lane), crossed the Fremont Bridge, and arrived safe and sound.

Boring black panniers need not apply: Part of the selection of bags, baskets, and other carriers at Hub and Bespoke.

The shop sits among others offering lots to explore that I’ll have to check out another day, from a vegan and gluten-free restaurant and the Theo’s Chocolate factory (with tours!) to places with original home décor, shoes, and other offerings that invite you to wander around the short blocks. We were on a trip with multiple stops that included other bike-y destinations like Dutch Bike Co. in Ballard so I didn’t linger this time.

Since Sweet Hubs would rather stay with our bikes than lock them up while we move out of eyeshot—an understandable caution prompted by the recent theft of his race bike—he hung around outside with laudable patience while I did some shopping. If this had been a full-on bikespedition with best bud Betsy, this post would be soooo much longer.

Not your daddy’s bike helmet: A selection of Nutcase helmets in vibrant colors and patterns. I think I want the blue one, lower right. And it would go with that blue dress….

Believe me, I’ll be back, since there’s no way I could try on everything and linger over the rack of Nutcase helmets to figure out which one flatters me most, knowing that he stood outside. Without complaint, mind you–this isn’t a dig at Hubs. I just don’t want to take advantage of my riding partner!

The clothing generally runs to what I think of as “Northwest sensible chic”: it’s timeless, it’s comfortable, it’s made of fabrics that will hold up over time, it isn’t ripped and trendy and quickly dated but instead can stay in your closet a long, long time and serve you well. A lot of regular clothes can serve you for riding if you choose with a careful eye, but the level of detail in these clothes–like the water-resistant fabric, slim pant legs that won’t attract chain grease, and girl-friendly crotch gusset in the Outlier Tailored pants–raises the bar.

While I couldn’t get to everything I did try on a reversible dress made in Portland that turns inside out and front to back for four different looks, with an easy-pedaling flared knee-length skirt; looked quickly at a couple of rain jackets that don’t look at all bike-y (I’m pretty sure I need to improve my rain-resistant bikewear selection); met Juliette’s business partner Alden and chatted about my new job at the Bicycle Alliance of Washington; and got the pants of my dreams at long last.

Of course, since they only had them in my size in slate gray I had to order them in black, too—the perfect excuse for going back soon. Very soon.

One of the nice “bespoke” touches: My pants were rolled up in brown paper and taped into a neat little sausage that tucked easily into my Po Campo Logan Tote. Not only that, but the tape and sticker peel off easily enough that I can reuse the paper, for an eco-friendly packaging approach.

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Your Turn

  • Is there a shop anything like this, anywhere near you?
  • If there were (I’m assuming most people in the U.S. have to say “no” to the first question), you’d shop there, right?


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Reader Comments

  1. Barb – Thank you so much for the positive words. It so encouraging to hear that we’ve got an approach that resonates!

    We look forward to getting more feedback from you directly.

    Your pants are on their way, so hope to see you soon 🙂

  2. Barb… finding Hub & Bespoke, when I first moved here over a year ago, was just like that for me too! I love the technology and utility of what Juliette has chosen to sell, but it is the style factor is such a bonus. It is great that you found her store right away! And, your piece is a great way to share the word. I’ll post this article link on my “This Biker Could Be You” Tumblr. Have another great weekend exploring this fun bike town…

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