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Local company makes tote bag for front basket of Biketown bikes

Posted by on August 8th, 2016 at 3:19 pm

North St Bags bike share tote -1.jpg

North St.’s new “Townie Tote” model. It also comes in dark grey.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

In just the latest sign that Portland has gone head-over-heels for bike share, a local company has added a Biketown-specific bag to their product line.

Southeast Portland-based North St. Bags has adapted their “Tabor Tote” model to fit snugly into the front rack of a Biketown bike. The new “Townie Tote” comes in two colors familiar to Biketown users: dark grey and Nike orange. Other features in the new, Biketown-edition Tabor Tote are an internal zippered pocket, reflective side tabs, and an optional set of straps that will attach the bag to the rack. The bag has a 25-liter capacity and is made from 1000 denier Cordura nylon.

North St.’s new tote will sell for $45 (the straps are an extra $10). Kevin Murphy, the company’s product marketing manager, said the bag will be available soon on the company’s website. They’re showing it off to Biketown staffers today and they hope to make it available direct from the website. Murphy says he’s heard grumblings from local bike shops about the loss of business due to Biketown, so he thinks offering the Townie Tote might be one way for shops to draw bike share customers in.

Murphy also said since the Biketown racks are similar on all the bike share systems that use bikes made by Social Bicycles, they can easily work with other cities as well.

Is this the first in a long line of products to complement the emerging “bike share lifestyle” market? Which company will be next to capitalize on this new transit system that has taken Portland by storm?

Here are a few more images:

North St Bags bike share tote -2.jpg


North St Bags bike share tote -3.jpg

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Optional straps with buttons can tether the bag to the rack so it doesn’t pop out when you hit a pothole.
North St Bags bike share tote -6.jpg

North St Bags bike share tote -7.jpg

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Curtis Williams launched North St. in his home in 2009 using a sewing machine he bought off Craigslist. Today his company has grown to eight employees and his bags are sold by over 60 dealers and distributors around the globe. All of their products are made in a 1,200 square foot space just off of Southeast Clinton at 23rd that includes a retail store, offices, and a full production facility. Check out the rest of their offerings at

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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  • Patrick Mok August 8, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    If anyone got some weird project. North st is pretty awesome

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  • Redhippie August 8, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    I’m curious. How are the local bike businesses adversely affected? Lower bike rentals? Any interesting stories out there?

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    • 9watts August 8, 2016 at 5:14 pm

      I had the same question.
      Not so long ago the bikeshare hype was all about the positive spillover expected from going down this path.

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      • Ali Corbin August 8, 2016 at 8:03 pm

        I also was surprised to hear that local bike businesses were being affected. Are people renting bikes instead of buying them? I’d be more likely to suspect a drop in revenue for the car-sharing companies and Trimet.

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        • Scott Mizée August 8, 2016 at 8:37 pm

          I am also curious to hear more specifics about what Murphy was referring to when he said, “Murphy says he’s heard grumblings from local bike shops about the loss of business due to Biketown, so he thinks offering the Townie Tote might be one way for shops to draw bike share customers in.”

          Jonathan, do you have a story coming on this?

          or did I miss one?

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          • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 9, 2016 at 9:50 am

            it’s safe to say that when the city provides 1,000 “free” bikes that come with free maintenance 24/7 that people who sell bikes and sell bike maintenance might be concerned. And of course we know some bike rental shops are especially not super excited about it. this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Bike share is competition for existing players in the bike using market. I think that’s a good thing! And i have a feeling that ZERO local bike shop owners will say anything on the record because they know it’d be bad for business to criticize something that so many people loove. And yes,I’ll consider a story on it. Thanks.

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            • RH August 9, 2016 at 10:16 am

              I’ve probably spent $400 on bike repairs this year…$80 this past weekend on new brake pads. An annual bikeshare membership is starting to look very tempting as 95% of my trips start and end in the Bike share service area.

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              • Paul Cole August 9, 2016 at 11:17 am

                $80 this past weekend on new brake pads.

                Just curious. Is this for one bike? What kind of brake pads are you using. I’ve been paying around $20 (labor + pads) at a few different shops around town.

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              • RH August 9, 2016 at 2:12 pm

                Just one bike…a 2 year old simple $500 aluminum Cannondale with disk brakes. $20 per pair of brake pads x 2 + $20 labor + $20 for new brake cable. I spent $80 on new tires a few months ago (Schwalbe Marathons) and I still get flat tires. I just have bad luck with this kind of stuff. Not having to worry about maintenance would be a really nice thing for me!

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              • Middle of the Road guy August 10, 2016 at 10:34 pm

                Thanks for the clarification. $80 for rim pads would have been exorbitant even for pads specific to carbon wheels.

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            • Ray Atkinson August 9, 2016 at 11:13 am

              Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Do you have any thoughts about how Biketown is doing with Spinlister? I have been renting out 2 bikes (I own 3 bikes) through Spinlister and have still been receiving rental requests even after Biketown launched. Also, does Spinlister still plan to launch a private bike share system in Portland?

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. August 9, 2016 at 11:21 am

                Spinlister is still a thing? I signed up for the private bike share beta when it was announced and have heard exactly nothing about it from them since.

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            • Beth August 10, 2016 at 2:51 pm

              It’s safe to say that when Portland opened its 70th bike shop, existing bike businesses should’ve already been nervous, and not about some “burgeoning” rental market.

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          • wsbob August 9, 2016 at 3:25 pm

            I wonder if shops alluded to are grumbling about business actually lost to people switching from personal bikes, over to bikeshare…or if they’re grumbling simply about an as yet unfounded prospect of losing business to bike share.

            The bike share bikes are cute and convenient, but from what I hear, also very heavy. For much in the way of mileage and climbing, they don’t seem to me to be a ride that people used to high performance lightweight bikes, touring style, hybrids, as well as racing style bikes, would find worth giving up a personal bike for. Even basic cruiser bikes weigh lots less, if the figure of 60lbs for bike share is correct.

            I do wish more businesses would do more to allow people to bring personal bikes into stores and other business. Doing so, I think, would help encourage more people’s use of bikes for travel, both personal bikes and bike share bikes.

            Wait two or three years to see in Portland, how people’s enthusiasm for bike share bikes goes, after the bikes have some patina, and people have some longer term familiarity riding the bikes. It’s then that what preference of bike option over the other there is, may be more clear, and also, whether the system is resulting in loss of business to bike shops.

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    • Kyle Banerjee August 9, 2016 at 5:24 am

      It seems too early to be able to determine impact on local businesses. If I lived in the service area, had a commute within the service area, and lived in a small apartment, I could imagine using bikeshare as a substitute for owning my own bike as well as accessories like pumps, lights, panniers, etc. But that’s quite a few ifs.

      Also, people who use bikeshare will not need consumables such as tubes when using the service.

      However, if more people ride bikes or start using their own bikes more, demand at local shops would increase.

      Given that relatively few people have even tried these yet, I find it hard to believe that any change in business could be attributed to bikeshare yet, though I suppose a few very specific areas such as PSU where you have a lot of students coming in from the outside might see a bigger impact.

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. August 8, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    This looks great! Any way to attach a shoulder strap to make it easier to carry off-bike?

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  • SE August 8, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    >>this new transit system that has taken Portland by storm

    maybe DT , but have never seen one in my E.County travels, and we may still be in Portland ?

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  • devograd August 8, 2016 at 8:21 pm


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  • wsbob August 8, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    North’s bag design looks swell in the BikeTown bike’s basket. Softens and adds some sophistication to the bikes’ appearance. Good thinking for the company’s designers to include some reflective material into the design.

    For both a practical purpose, and higher visibility, switch out the white straps, which will likely get dirty and ugly, fast…for darker colored straps, maybe orange, same as the bag, with reflective material on their top sides. The reflective material can come in a silver color, which would be visually similar to the white. Can get dirty too, but I think, easier to clean up than the white synthetic material straps.

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    • GlowBoy August 11, 2016 at 10:56 am

      I agree about the straps. A darker gray would show a lot less grime and still work with the color scheme.

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  • K'Tesh August 9, 2016 at 12:30 am

    I won a North St bag last year as part of the See and Be Seen ride. I brought it with me to China, and it’s currently on my bike right now.

    Great products!

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  • peejay August 9, 2016 at 5:56 am

    If you’re thinking of buying the first one, you can forget it, as that one is already in my hands, to be given as a gift to my sweetie.

    OK, well, if you’re my sweetie, you will have the first one. In which case, stop reading; it’s a surprise.

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  • Mike Sanders August 9, 2016 at 7:47 am

    Score one for American ingenuity! Plus, that orange color should work great at night.

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  • Doug Klotz August 9, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Local manufacturers can react quickly to local needs. Good job, Curtis and North St.!

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  • Pedal PT August 9, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Great work Curtis + NORTH St- Awesome idea!

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