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Two Wheel Gear Garment Panniers – Carving out a NEW Niche Among Bike Commuters

by John Symon

June 20, 2016 (Vancouver, BC) – Vancouver-based Two Wheel Gear (TWG) specializes in helping bike commuters look chic when they arrive at the office; the company has developed garment bags that fit snugly onto bike racks. These garment bags are the flagship product of TWG which also sells panniers that are convertible into backpacks; messenger bags; and rain covers.

 ©  TWG
“TWG is a lifestyle brand for people riding bikes to work,” explains Reid Hemsing, President of TWG. “Many of our customers are professionals working in downtown business districts but living outside the core. They could be engineers, accountants, bureaucrats or whatever, but they are expected to dress well.”

Two Wheel Gear was started by Craig Coulombe and Ken MacLean of Calgary in 1999, but the company remained small for many years. Hemsing, a business student in entrepreneurship, was introduced to the two company founders by one of his professors.

“I was a keen young guy who thought that the garment bags were a good idea. After I met Craig and Ken, I began working with them and soon found doing everything to put out homemade garment bags. For a while, I had my own corporate career, biking in and out of Calgary’s business core. In my spare time, I was working with TWG’s small online store. I left that corporate job in 2014 to concentrate on TWG and moved the company to Vancouver. I used all the customer feedback I had received over years to redesign the bags & relaunch them.”

 ©  TWG
TWG scored a major distribution coup in getting their product into Mountain Equipment Coop, an outdoor retail giant in Canada, and is looking to build on that momentum. Some bike shops in Vancouver carry TWG gear, but elsewhere Hemsing is trying to drum up retailers. “I was in Toronto last week and visited 10 different retailers there. Many said the product looked interesting enough for them to want it in stores; a few said that customers were already asking for it in.”

When Hemsing flies on business, he takes the garment bag along. “If you don’t pack it too tightly, most airlines accept it as a carry-on bag.”

TWG says about 55% of online sales are to customers in the USA, but does not yet have retailers carrying their product there. Hemsing describes other big markets as the UK and Australia. In terms of demographics, he says about 75% of their customers are men, typically in the 35-54 age bracket.

After chatting with Hemsing it sounds like there is pent-up demand for the product. A common remark that he hears when customers discover Two Wheel Gear products say they “could have used one 20 years ago.”

The Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier starts at $249 ($189 US) while the Pannier Backpack Convertible begins at $149 ($119 US) with more products planned down the road – visit them on-line here.

Two Wheel Gear
Suite #604 – 318 Homer St.
Vancouver, BC
Canada V6B 1E8
(604) 559-1210

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