Our Biggest Company Announcements! (Ever)

Hola Commuters!

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Halloween!

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to run a small bike bag company, I’m going to give you a little taste.

I’m also going to introduce you to a major new addition to our team, tell you about a 5 year goal we’ve finally accomplished, the jam that has put us in and how we plan to get out of it!

Read below (or watch the video) to hear about the company’s biggest (and some painful) announcements.

Get it from a mouth! (and a sneak peak of the 2020 Commute Backpack)

Announcement #1

An Outdoor Design Legend Joins Two Wheel Gear

Last year (Almost 1-year to the day), I met Greg Bass.

Two Wheel Gear designer Greg Bass holds up a bike bag
Greg Bass works on the first Two Wheel Gear prototypes of the new Top Tube Stash Bag and Commute Seat Pack coming in 2020

Greg is an industry vet. In fact, he is a FULL-ON legend in designing bike and outdoor gear over the last 20 years.

Greg spent 10 years as a senior designer at The North Face, creating legendary gear many of you have been enjoying in your outdoor pursuits. Often when we have been in Vancouver, Minneapolis or Ho Chi Minh City, Greg will point to someone wearing one of his packs and tell me the story behind it.

His list of industry colleagues runs deep. From designing gear with input from famous climbers like Alex Honnold (Free Solo – a must watch) and collaborating with his pal Jimmy Chin (Oscar winner for Free Solo), he is pretty much a celebrity in his own right. But you would never hear him brag about it.

Greg casually passes on his expertise like a wise Yoda of gear design. It was his passion for riding a bike that drew him to Two Wheel Gear (definitely not the promise of a monster paycheque).

In our first meeting he said, “In the future, more cars are not the answer. The streets are already crowded. If you want to get around quickly, riding a bike is the best way.”

Two Wheel Gear Designer - Greg Bass
Greg’s sweet moustache
(he doesn’t know we posted this)

Following his work with The North Face, Greg worked as the Director of Design and Production at Timbuk2 and then Specialized Bicycles. He created a lot of industry staples and taste making designs with collaborations with just about every cool club, company and organization you can think of.

When Greg met Two wheel gear

Our mutual buyer at MEC, Vince Beasse (still an important figure behind the scenes) is the conduit that brought Greg to Two Wheel Gear. I was busy selling Vince on Two Wheel Gear and Greg was busy selling Vince on Timbuk2.

Vince once told me, “Greg was the guy that re-invented Timbuk2 and made them awesome again.” (I took note)

Through a twist of fate, amazing timing and a little whining from me to Vince about the difficulty of keeping up as a homemade designer, Vince introduced me to Greg.

A bit of Backstory

Anyone that has been following the Two Wheel Gear progression, probably already knows our basement story.

Two Wheel Gear Basement Bike Bag Workshop
Here is the FFWD Version:

A small town kid with a background of working in a welding shop, becomes an enthusiastic bike commuter after moving to the big city (Calgary, Canada) to attend Mount Royal University.

He discovers an “underground club” in the office change room of people sharing gear and bike commuting tips. He starts designing and producing homemade bike suit bags in the basement and starts a brand for the office champions that bike to work.

He leaves his cushy corporate gig to move to Vancouver to launch Two Wheel Gear as a full time company.

Over 5 painstaking years, the product line is developed, some big wins occur (adding MEC as the major Canadian retailer) and the company sets up shop to create a category underserved in the outdoor market. He realizes, “There needs to be a brand that represents bike commuters around the world.”

Behind every great company is an even greater dad (More Backstory)

People think I am a trained industrial designer. But I’m not. I actually just learned how to make REALLY SOLID stuff from my dad.

I grew up in a welding shop building drilling rigs (I may have to fight some battles on this but I’ll save that for another post). But this is my truth.

The point of this is… I learned how to build QUALITY, long lasting stuff since I started working for my dad in grade 7. He would always say, “We don’t build drilling rigs. We build the Cadillac of drilling rigs.”

Hemsing Drilling - Butch Hemsing
My Dad in the middle *no coveralls (early 90’s)

I carry that quote with me to this day.

“We don’t build bike bags. We build the Cadillac of bike bags.”

Back to Greg

Two Wheel Gear - Greg Bass - Airplane Sketch of bike bag

Greg knows how to build the Cadillac of bike bags.

To be honest, I was nervous and a little shell shocked to meet and start working with Greg. I felt like a nobody. But I knew I needed help with Two Wheel Gear.

Working with Greg is like getting Wayne Gretzky to join your senior men’s hockey team. It’s a dream come true.

I wasn’t surprised that Greg had never heard of Two Wheel Gear before our first call.

But it wasn’t long before he loved the mission of the company and wanted to help.

“Greg is a bike guy.” Vince said to me. And he is one of the best.

Greg has joined Two Wheel Gear as Vice President of Design and Production.

Working with Greg is like getting Wayne Gretzky to join your senior men’s hockey team. It’s a dream come true.

Greg Steers and I pedal like hell

While Greg is the new master of our products I still take a lot of pride in adding simple, functional design thinking to the process. I say almost elementary things in our design meetings like, “why don’t we just sew those ends so the strap doesn’t slip out.” and “These pen slots need to be longer.”

With Greg at the helm, I know what we have been working on is truly world class. Over the last year, we have doubled down on our progress and started swinging for the fences.

Two Wheel Gear Design and Production Team hold up prototype samples
Reid, WJ and Greg working through pre-production samples

Two Wheel Gear has been endlessly trying to expand into the US market in a big way for 5 years now. But it has been difficult…Those big time partnerships don’t happen quickly or easily and I was once told that I was cursed for hitting a “home run” with MEC so early in the game.

But, this year with an expanded product lineup (5 new products launching), a growing team (seriously these guys are amazing) and Greg driving the product talk during our sales meetings.

I am beyond proud, excited and a little nervous about this…Ok here it comes!

Announcement #2

Two Wheel Gear is coming to REI in 2020!

REI Logo

This one is truly another dream come true. I literally researched, contacted, followed up, updated, re-followed up, re-updated and re-followed up again for 5 years before getting a meeting.

REI shares a lot of the same philosophies as Two Wheel Gear. They are known for quality. They stand behind their products, employees and important causes. They are all about sustainability (did you ever wonder where I came up with Green Friday?)…It was taking taking a page from REI’s leadership.

And they just happen to be making a bigger push for “riding your bike as transportation!” A place where we have been pushing for more than 10 years.

I don’t think we could have done it without Greg’s help. We are beyond excited! But it also comes with its share of stomach ulcers.

Announcement #3

we can’t do it without your help

That is why we will be launching a Kickstarter Campaign in late November to help us raise the funds to make our production leap happen and bring our gear to REI and bike enthusiasts around the world.

Click here to get on the Insider Email List – Get Early Bird Kickstarter Offers!

With 5 new products launching in 2020 we are sure to have something for every one of you commuters. With updates to the other proven gear you already know and love, including a new Modular Attachment System (M.A.S.) that combines several products from the new line for ultra efficient off-bike carry.

With Growth Comes Pain

Put quite simply, we don’t currently have the capital to scale into this new era of company growth.

Banks don’t like our type of our business (long lead times, capital intensive, they want Purchase Order Contracts that go 3 years into the future, which is impossible in the outdoor retail industry) and I’ve been turned down by a number at this point.

I hear it in my sleep. “You don’t have enough equity. You don’t have enough equity.”

I’ve also been turned down by a few private financiers. Again, mostly to do with not having long enough purchase orders spanning multiple years that guarantee their return. “Getting your foot in the door,” “online sales history”, and “future potential” doesn’t mean much here either.

But I’m so confident the new gear is so awesome and the opportunity with REI is so promising that I have started the process of selling my house to make it happen.

But I’m still not sure that it’s going to be enough.

That is why we are going back to our community and launching the new gear on Kickstarter. I was hesitant at first but I think it will be a win-win for everyone.

My dream is for everyone to look back and say, “I was part of that. I helped that company make it!” And of course….”I absolutely love my Two Wheel Gear”

Conclusion

We want the brand to represent you bike commuters that are making a positive impact on the world. And now, we are starting to get a platform to really make that happen.

So stay tuned. We have more big announcements leading up to launch day and will be rolling out the new products.

We can’t wait to show you everything we have been working on and put the power in your hands and on your bikes!

Until next time, ride safe out there!

Reid and the team at 2WG

Two Wheel Gear team in September of 2019
The new team behind Two Wheel Gear – 2019
From left: Josh, Greg, David, Tania, Hilary, Becka, Reid

–> Get the Early Bird Kickstarter Offers – Click to Join the list!

5 thoughts on “Our Biggest Company Announcements! (Ever)

  1. Good on you Reid , sounds like things are moving forward fast! What are you looking for in your kick start. Are you trying to sell your product are you selling shares how does an uncle help a favourite nephew out? Let me know . Cheers Reid

    Regards Blair

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Big fan of Two Wheel Gear. Enjoyed the instagrams of you and Greg. Seems that your market timing is finally meeting great preparation. Congrats on the big REI win. I am in for products and will support any request to build inventory or finance future growth.

    Liked by 1 person

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