My Confession | Two Wheel Gear – Launch Blog #2

Two Wheel Gear - Female Commuter with Mini Messenger Handlebar Bag and Pannier Backpack Convertible

Hi again everybody! Welcome to Launch blog #2 and the lead up to your most amazing commuting season yet!

We will dive more into the new gear but first…I have a confession to make.

Introducing the Pannier Backpack PLUS+ and Mini Messenger Handlebar Bag

A Bike Commuter Confession

I wasn’t always a bike commuter. I wish I could say that I’ve been passionately riding a bike with chain grease flowing through my veins since the days I learned to walk, but this unfortunately just isn’t true. I used to drive everywhere. In the small Alberta town where I grew up, cycling just wasn’t a thing. No one rode bikes in town. You had to drive to get anywhere.

Sure, I had been mountain biking a few times and had a bike as kid but I still drove or rode the bus everywhere.

In 2009, I met Ken and Craig and their invention of the bike suit bag (I later renamed it “The Classic” to pay homage to it’s roots in our company).

I started working at a large corporate office downtown Calgary in 2010 shortly after I started taking the reigns of Two Wheel Gear (it was still a VERY small hobby business at the time). I started working on the website and took over building the bags in my basement workshop but I still wasn’t a true “bike commuter.”

One day I was sitting on my 45 minute bus ride home and gazing out the window dead to the world trying to ignore 3 rowdy passengers stinking of booze. I was tired and miserable.

Traffic was backed up longer than usual. As I stared blankly out the bus window, we started driving beside a very regular looking guy just cruising beside us on his bike. He was smiling ear-to-ear.

Right then, I thought, “What am I doing? I am such a loser sitting on this bus. It’s only about 12 km to the office and this bus ride is killing me!!!

Now I wish I could say the next day I had a complete transformation! But I actually procrastinated the rest of the week because in reality, I was a little intimidated.

That Sunday, I decided I would start by taking a practice ride to the office. I wanted to see the route without rush hour traffic, how long it would take and how tired I would be. Well, as you can see how it turned out. It was incredible!

With that test run under my belt, I started biking to work that Monday. It was a revelation and opened up a whole new perspective of the city I had never seen before. I discovered new parks and restaurants. Started noticing nature. I would smile, wave and interact with other cyclists and pedestrians. I had fresh air and I had freedom.

I started showing up to work with gusto and felt better than I had in a long time. I lost a little extra weight and started making friends with the other (mostly older) bike commuters at my office (which became a huge asset when I was later promoted to the commercial department).

Here is a quick look at those days (2012) when I would arrive at the bike parking lot at my office.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oDCki4nArs&w=560&h=315]

It became a fun ritual to talk about the ride in with my fellow office commuters in the morning change room. Our homemade bike suit bag would be hanging as I changed and I’d often be asked to start demoing the bag to a room full of half naked colleagues. I learned a lot from those chats and later came up with the idea for our Episode 1, “A Peak at What Your Packing.”

Over the next four years I gathered massive amounts of feedback on our flagship product and learned the inside of the bike commuting culture in the corporate world.

I was working full time as a commercial account manager and ran our little bike bag business in the moonlight. I started getting to know our customers well. I realized they were all a lot like me. We all start somewhere.

My love for building the brand and innovating on new bike gear continued to grow. In early 2014, I left my corporate career and started Two Wheel Gear as my full time gig.

Here is a quick little timeline on how this passion project became a brand.

Now I tell my intimate bike commuting origins because I know what it feels like to start. I probably made every excuse in the book at first. The weather was never quite right. I didn’t have the right clothes, or gear or bike. I always had some important meeting that day that meant, it was not a good day to bike.

But once I got over my own doubts and fears, I vowed to never feel trapped by that bus ride again…and you never have to either.

I believe anyone can become a bike commuter. Once you cross that first hump, you will kick yourself for not starting sooner (I think a lot of you reading this agree). There is wonderful magic in it.

Now I am the one riding next to the bus with a smile from ear-to-ear. If a little blue-collar prairie kid can change his stripes, so can you…and we can help!

Feedback from Launch Blog #1

Thank you to everyone that commented and sent us such great little emails after the first launch video! There is nothing that gets us more pumped than hearing about your experiences with our gear. Paul in Australia wrote to us and said:

“Just watched your 2019 range teaser video and enjoyed it. Can I congratulate you on bringing back the waxed canvas to the 2019 range. I have a garment pannier 2.0 in waxed canvas….The 2.0 is about to embark on its 4th year of service and still looks pretty close to what it looked like when it left Canada. The waxed canvas just looks great.”

A lot of you just dropped me a quick email to say hi and that you love the look of the new gear! THANK YOU! That means a lot!

I cracked up after the first launch when Derek wrote:

“Will you please stop making better products? …If your products weren’t so good, I would be really mad at you. As it is, I just have to congratulate you on your successful startup. You do good work!”

Quick Recap of Launch Video #1

Ok, in launch video #1, I showed you the debut of the Pannier Backpack PLUS+ and Mini Messenger Handlebar Bag (raw and unedited). This is how it all went down.

the Evolution of the PLUS+

After combing reviews and emails over the last two years I showed you the 3 main points you wanted to see for improvement on the regular pannier backpack. Here they are:

  1. Capacity limitations
  2. Laptop access challenges
  3. Mounting system restrictions

I showed you what I pack in my daily pannier backpack and how the regular sized version can fit right inside the main compartment of the PLUS+. We went over the new separated laptop pocket that solves those laptop access issues. Then I introduced the Kompakt Rail mounting system that mounts to just about any rear rack (even oversized and Ebikes) and adjusts with a button.

the birth of the Mini Messenger Handlebar Bag

Then the video ventured to front of the bike. You got the world premier (humour us here : ) of the Mini Messenger Handlebar Bag. Instead of packing a suit or laptop we created a new exciting addition to your weekend rides or more minimized commuting setup.

Quick overview on the bag:

  • Quick release (one-button) handlebar attachment (included with purchase)
  • Turns into a small messenger sling bag
  • Waterproof materials with rain cover (included)
  • Perfect for taking the commuting essentials like a phone, wallet, keys, notebook, iPad, snack, tools and a couple of beverages. It can actually fit 10 cans of beer (…I mean sparkling water!)

A little further down the bike path

Soon we will be giving you all the gory details and showing you a behind-the-scenes video from the BC Bike Show where we first debuted the new gear to real life humans!

We will also show you what life is like using the new gear and will be sending a very special offer to all you Insiders! So stay tuned to your inboxes (you can still join the INSIDER mailing list here)!

As always, WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU! Please leave us a comment on the blog or our social media. We want to hear your questions! This is more of a community than a company. Without you bike commuters, we wouldn’t have any gear to make, so be sure to let us know what your thinking.

You already know that life is amazing on a bike! But it’s even better when you have the right gear!

Until next time. Have a good ride!

A much younger Reid and his homemade bike suit bag 1.0 after a “mini tsunami’ in 2012

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  1. Great story and fun read! You’ve come a long way since then!

  2. Thanks so much for checking it out Chin! It is a true basement story! I really appreciate the friendly nod!

  3. Reid,
    You continue to make Two Wheel Gear an amazing success story. Couldn’t be prouder to be a part of your story! Keep it up. Craig – Two Wheel Gear version 1.0 (Those old pictures are classic).

    1. The big man himself! Thanks Craig! Those photos are treasured classics! I certainly appreciate the kind words. You are critical to this story! đź‘Š

  4. Thanks for the great story – it’s important for people remotely interested in cycling that we all started somewhere.

    The inspiration was just what I needed to stay positive that my recently stolen commuter may yet turn up!

    1. Absolutely Anders! Thanks for commenting and checking out the story! So sorry to hear about your stolen bike! There is nothing more frustrating and disappointing. I had a similar experience when I was touring around my visiting family to Vancouver. We took a quick stop by the Two Wheel Gear office and because it was only a quick stop, I just zipped all 4 of our bikes together with a cable lock. We were gone for less than 5 minutes but returned to a sliced cable lock and my daily commuter stolen…and that was the second time I’ve had a bike stolen. Bikes become such a part of everyday life that it really feels like a part of you has been taken away. I know the feeling well and absolutely hope that your bike turns up! All the best of luck with the search and getting back on the horse (even if unfortunately it happens to be a new one!)

      1. No worries – it’s sad that I’m getting used to the issue, as it’s the 2nd theft I’ve had in 3 years.

        That said, the VPD were amazing and managed to reconnect it back to me mostly unharmed!

        1. Wow! Amazing Anders! Good news story! Did you have it registered with Project 529 that helps identify stolen bikes?

  5. Cool story, inspiring! The discovery of your city once you hop on the saddle is second to none. All the sense pop! Cheers.

    1. Thanks David! Couldn’t agree more! And you do such a wonderful job at capturing this perspective with your amazing photography! Anyone out there sifting through comments should check out David’s work at http://www.davidniddrie.com/

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