THE STORY OF TWO WHEEL GEAR™ AND THE FIRST BICYCLE SUIT BAG
Craig Coulombe started working downtown Calgary, AB as a geophysicist. He was wearing starched white dress shirts and dress pants to the office but grew tired of pulling out a wrinkled set in the locker room. He was ahead of the trend for office bike commuting and there were few options to transport clothes. Backpacks made his back sweat and were cramped. Panniers at that time were nothing more than open sacks for dumping everything in one place. He decided to make his own way. The first step was asking his mother-in-law if he could borrow her sewing machine.
THE CLASSIC BIKE SUIT BAG
In 1999, a very rough looking Classic Bike Suit Bag was born and It was the first garment bag that kept clothes pressed on their hangers and strapped to the bike rack. Craig knew he created a meaningful new way to bike commute and teamed up with longtime University pal, Ken MacLean to start selling the bags. For years, the Classic was sewn one by one in Calgary and assembled with hand rivets for a growing number of commuter cyclists around the world.
Craig and Ken with the Classic Bike Suit Bag in 2005
“We’ve been the best kept bike commuting secret for a decade now.” Ken said in 2010. “We have a special following with the riders and fans that use the bag. We get multi-page emails with praise and critiques from very passionate commuters.”
“We’ve been the best kept bike commutingsecret for a decade now.” - Ken MacLean
MAKING THE CLASSIC 2.0
In 2010, Reid Hemsing took over managing Two Wheel Gear as a graduating Entrepreneurship student. He deeply believed in the movement that Ken and Craig had started and wanted to bring it to the mainstream. He went to work handling everything from design to assembling each bag by hand in the basement. The online store, customer service and shipping was all managed on the side of a full time career. For local customers, Reid would take an extra suit bag on his downtown commute and make bike deliveries at lunch.
He used the Classic in his own corporate commute for the next 3 years, testing it in every weather condition and dreamt about what the company could achieve if he could inject the funding and time needed. In 2012, Reid purchased the company from Ken and Craig. In early 2014, he left his corporate position and moved to Vancouver to start building Two Wheel Gear and the Classic 2.0.
"We gathered all the feedback from our customers over the years and started buildingthe product that could bring the movement to the world stage. We spent years in emaildiscussions with some extremely passionate commuters to make the best business commuterbag on the market." - Reid Hemsing
In 2015, Two Wheel Gear started working with MEC, Canada’s largest and most trusted retailer of outdoor and cycling products. With new products launching in spring 2016 and the strong growth happening in urban cycling (especially to work) in North America, there is a lot to look forward to. "The focus is to create the very best bags in the world for professional business commuters, to keep innovating with new commuting bags and to make it extremely easy to bike to work. We span multiple product categories (carry, travel, pannier) but our focus is straightforward and simple. We design and manufacture bags that go seamlessly from the bike to the board room."