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. First step was asking his mother-in-law if he could borrow her sewing machine.
THE BIRTH OF THE CLASSIC BIKE SUIT BAG
Soon after, a very rough version of the Classic Bike Suit Bag was born. It was the first garment bag that kept clothes pressed on their hangers and strapped to your bike rack. Craig knew he created a meaningful new way to bike commute and teamed up with longtime University pal, Ken MacLean to try their hand at 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.
“We’ve been the best keptbike commuting secret for a decade now.”
“We’ve been the best kept bike commuting secret for a decade now.” Ken told me in 2010, as I was being on-boarded into the company. “We have a cult classic type of a following with the riders that use the bag. We get multi-page emails with praise and critiques from very passionate commuters.” He continued. I was only a senior at University at the time.
I was VP of the University entrepreneurship group SIFE and already had some small business success starting and selling a small company at 23 years old. I loved riding bikes and was heading into a leadership development role in one of Canada’s largest corporations. I deeply believed in the movement that Ken and Craig had started. I wanted to build on it and bring that movement to the mainstream market.
GROWING TWO WHEEL GEAR
In 2010, I took over managing Two Wheel Gear. I handled everything from design and production to assembling each bag by hand in my basement. The online store, customer service and shipping was all managed on the side of a full time career. For local customers, I would take an extra suit bag on my back and make personal deliveries by bike at lunch.
I used the Classic in my own corporate commute for the next 3 years, testing it in every weather condition. I dreamt about what the company could achieve if I was able to dedicate all my time and inject the funding needed.
In 2012, I purchased the company from Ken and Craig. In January 2015, I left my career as commercial account manager, cashed out the money I had accumulated in my retirement savings plan and moved to Vancouver to start building Two Wheel Gear. We gathered all the feedback from our customers over the years and started building the suit bag that could bring the movement to the world stage. We now can say we make the best business commuter bag on the international market.
This year we are working with MEC, Canada’s largest and most trusted retailer of outdoor and cycling products, with stores across Canada. We now make our flagship product in a premier manufacturing facility in Vietnam alongside some of the world’s most recognized brands. We continue to be focused on creating the very best bags in the world for professional business commuters. We now also make bags for various commuter styles and are proud to have some of the classiest messenger bags ever to come off a bike and walk into the board room...and we are just getting started.
WE ARE JUST GETTING STARTED
We span multiple product categories (carry, travel, pannier) but our focus is straightforward and simple. We make it easy to ride bikes and look like a boss when you get there.
Have a good ride!
Two Wheel Gear
Vancouver, BC, Canada