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Industry Ticker: Chrome’s knife roll, PDW’s smart taillight, Breadwinner Cafe, and waterproof gloves from Showers Pass

Posted by on December 18th, 2017 at 10:53 am

Here’s our latest peek into the ever-changing landscape of people, places and products that make up Portland’s local bike industry…

Chef’s Knife Roll from Chrome Industries

(Photos: Chrome)

You probably know Chrome for their excellent bags and apparel, but did you know about their new knife roll? The Portland-based company that recently moved their headquarters to Portland (from San Francisco) teamed up with local celebrity chef Chris Cosentino (of Jackrabbit restaurant fame) to create this heavy-duty cooking implement carrier. This could take grilling-by-bike and summer BBQ’s during Pedalpalooza to the next level!

Here’s the official word from Chrome:

When we sat down to create a chef’s knife roll we called up Chris Cosentino first thing. A renowned chef with a passion for bikes and our neighbor in San Francisco with Cockscomb and now Portland with Jackrabbit, Chris worked with us to hone every detail, from pockets to pen-slots, of this knife roll. Built from the same 1050d nylon and heavy duty tarpaulin as our durable messenger bags, this is a chef’s knife roll designed for the everyday hard use of work in a kitchen.

— Made in Chico, California.
— $125
— Three utility pockets
— Fits 11 knives up to 17”
— Snap closure flaps for safety
— Cinch-down clip straps
— Pen slots
— Quick-access business card pocket
— Offset handle for blade/handle balance
— 9″ x 10″ (Rolled) / 19″ x 27.25″ (Open)

New “smart” Gravity tail light from Portland Design Works

It’s smart enough to know when you slow down.

Why hasn’t anyone done this sooner? The new Gravity tail light from PDW is an affordable and functional brake light for bikes. At just $40, this USB rechargeable beauty, “has a built-in accelerometer that detects deceleration or swerving and automatically changes it to a super bright 100 lumen solid beam.” That’s pretty smart.

Watch this video to see it in action:

Here’s the official word:

The Gravity Tail Light has a built-in accelerometer that detects deceleration or swerving and automatically changes to a super bright, solid beam to warn following traffic. To allow the accelerometer to calibrate, always install the Gravity on your bike before powering it on. Hold your bike still for 1 second after pressing the power button to complete the calibration.


— Automatic accelerometer brake light function shines 100 lumens bright
— 2 Modes (runtime): Solid – 20 lumens (12 hours), Flash – 80 lumens (30 hours)
— USB rechargeable li-polymer battery
— Weatherproof exterior for all season riding
— Includes brackets for seatpost and seatstay mounting
— Mounts vertically or horizontally
— Includes Micro USB recharging cord


The soon-to-be Breadwinner Cafe

Plans of the new cafe seen on Breadwinner’s Instagram feed.

The dynamic bike-building duo of Tony Pereira and Ira Ryan are about to take their Breadwinner Cycles business to another level with the opening of a new cafe! Located on Portland’s busiest bike street, the new Breadwinner Cafe on N Williams at Page (across from Metropolis Cycles) will have a very soft opening for friends and partners tomorrow (Tuesday, December 19th). The official opening will follow shortly. To get the inside scoop on what will certainly become one of the most popular ride meet-up spots and hangouts, follow BreadwinnerCafePDX on Instagram.

Shower Pass’ latest waterproof item

A bold photo. And they come in black too.

First they kept your body dry with their ubiquitous jackets. Then they moved onto hats and socks. Now Showers Pass has a new model of gloves that borrow their popular “Crosspoint” waterproof sock technology and we think this could be their biggest hit yet. The Crosspoint Waterproof Knit gloves ($45) are guaranteed “fully waterproof”. And unlike their other gloves, the Crosspoints are lightweight. That means you won’t overheat.

Here’s the official word:

Don’t let cold wet hands ruin your outdoor fun! We developed our Lightweight Waterproof Knit Gloves to solve the soggy digits problem and keep your hands dry while cycling, running, hiking and any outdoor adventuring in the rain. Our gloves are fully waterproof with 3 bonded layers: a wear resistant knit exterior that feels like a regular knit glove, a waterproof-breathable Artex membrane, and a Coolmax moisture-wicking antibacterial knit lining. Silicone print on the palm offers a better grip in wet conditions.

These gloves are legit. I’ve used a pair for about a month now and they work great. Excellent grip and not bulky, with a nice balance of warmth/weather protection and breathability. Bring on the rain!

If your company has news or new products to share, please get in touch. We’d love to feature you in our next roundup.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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    Spiffy December 18, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    a “balance” of weather protection and breathability? so, not completely waterproof? either the water gets in or it doesn’t…

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      Kyle Banerjee December 18, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      I was a Gore-Tex product tester for 10 years. You absolutely can be fully waterproof and weatherproof while maintaining breathability. For example, if you wear a drysuit made of the stuff and go swimming, you will stay totally dry.

      I own thousands of dollars worth of waterproof/breathable gear, but I do not recommend waterproof gloves for cyclists. If you don’t do things right, water can run down your arms into your gloves and the same magic that keeps the water out will also hold it in. Also, waterproof gloves take longer to dry out.

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    Spiffy December 18, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    PDW gravity light is an awesome idea… wish they had this when I was still using portable lights…

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    wsbob December 18, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Shoot…I wrote a big note about the PDW light, and then did something to make it disappear. Mostly wanted to say, good idea for PDW to be working with accellerometers in their light designs. Other bike light manufacturers have been for years already, developing lights with this technology. Very much an evolutionary thing, it seems. Do a search for and check out Garmin(bike gallery and Perfomance have this brand.), Lumos (Bike Gallery stocks it), and Serfas(strong European brand, not sure who might have it locally.).

    Big weakness of bike lights today, I think, is that the area of illumination their lenses provide, continues to be quite small.The level of illumination can be very bright, but the area of illumination of the lens…talking about the lens itself rather than the beam it projects ahead…are mostly very small, like an inch to an inch an a half square. My headlight, just measured it, has a diameter of three-quarters of an inch. Bright enough, just small.

    New technology may be closer to it being possible to have a light with the illumination of current lights, that’s maybe two or three times that area of illumination, maybe up to 3″ by 3″ and still not weigh a ton or be an energy hog.

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    Buzz December 18, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    IMO, most bike lights are either too bright and/or poorly focused/aimed. I am not looking forward to following another cyclist rocking this new light, it looks like another offering in the too-bright category.

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      Kyle Banerjee December 18, 2017 at 2:14 pm

      It’s an interesting idea, but I wonder if the accelerometer actually improves safety.

      It’s logical to for the light to change when braking. But that’s not how people expect bike lights to behave. If they start staring at the light when it changes rather than realizing what it means, it might even distract some people or cause a target fixation effect.

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        wsbob December 19, 2017 at 1:55 pm

        “It’s an interesting idea, but I wonder if the accelerometer actually improves safety.

        It’s logical to for the light to change when braking. But that’s not how people expect bike lights to behave. …” banerjee

        I watched the PDW video. Except for its diminutive size, the brake light function on that light appears to me, similar to that of motor vehicle tail lights; standard illumination level for forwards movement, gets much brighter when brakes are applied. While an accelerometer activating the brighter light display, simply occurring with a slowing of the vehicle it’s mounted on, is not the same type activation as physically applying pressure to the brakes, it may be possible to incorporate it into designs that effectively accomplish the same associated display.

        A tail light for bikes that could very effectively convey to other road users when the person riding is braking, could be a great aid to improving the safety of biking on roads in traffic.

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      Al December 18, 2017 at 2:19 pm

      Agreed. I think the industry has been so focused on providing the most wattage, visibility and by association “safety” that they lost sight of the fact that in urban areas with OTHER cyclists, lights, both front and rear, start to impact other riders.

      I have a Sigma Sport Tail Blazer and have received feedback from other riders that the light is uncomfortably bright to follow. I have since modified to use it on my backpack rather than the bike which points the beam toward the sky. I’m probably losing some sight distance doing this but feel that since the body of the light illuminates, cars will still see me well enough.

      My front light, a Light & Motion Urban 350, has received numerous complaints from oncoming pedestrians and cyclists that it is too bright. I now cover the light with my hand approaching others. I saw a European light reviewed on Bike Portland recently that addressed this very issue, illumination of the path ahead without blinding others but can’t remember the brand name now.

      Finally, I would point out that, as a daily commuter, I find rechargeable lights very high maintenance because should I forget to plug them in immediately after the ride, they’re not always available for me the next ride especially now that both commutes are in the dark. I wish there were more offerings in lights that use AA or AAA batteries where I can pop a new battery set in just prior to riding or take extra batteries with me and swap out on the road if needed. Current rechargeable NiMH AA and AAA’s and LED technologies make respectable run times possible even for high output lights. I pack a spare light, PDW Dreadnought which does take 2 AA’s, as a backup due to the Urban’s need to recharge via USB port. The Tail Blazer takes 2 AAA’s so that’s nice and run times are quite long where only a weekly change of rechargeable batteries is needed, which also takes a lot less time than actually charging it.

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        Al December 18, 2017 at 11:30 pm

        I believe the light I’m thinking of was the B&M Ixon IQ but I can’t find the Bike Portland article now. The light has a road focused beam AND 4 AA batteries that can be recharged on board or swapped out. It appears that the light goes for about $100 US but getting one may be more effort as my standard suppliers for things bicycle like REI and BTD don’t carry this brand.

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        bendite December 19, 2017 at 12:41 pm

        Weird. I have a light and motion urban 500 and a Taz 1200 that I run on high all the time. I’ve never had a complaint. What I often get is a “nice light”.

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          Huey Lewis December 20, 2017 at 9:50 am

          That’s because those who encounter you can’t find you because all they see are spots and flashes. Takes a moment to regain their bearings and you’re long gone.

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    Dan A December 18, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    I’m curious how the PDW light compares to the Radbot 1000. They don’t list the lumens for the Radbot.

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    Joe Fortino December 18, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    showers pass gloves love except I broke the stitching on them 2 weeks into wearing, then lost that one while riding 🙁

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      Jeff P December 19, 2017 at 12:16 pm

      Anybody have any input as to dexterity with the gloves on? Interested in using them for things beyond cycling where dexterity, movement and finer motor skills are needed.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu December 18, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    For $40, the PDW light looks like one to try out – even without the brake light feature, that’s a good price for a rechargeable taillight that is adequately bright.

    I will be interested to see how drivers react to a bicycle with a brake light. Anyone have experience with that?

    I have lights on the ends of the handlebars of my commute bike that function as turn signals. Push a button and flashing yellow lights turn on, visible from front and rear. I don’t use the turn signal feature, because most drivers didn’t seem to recognize what they meant, at least they couldn’t figure it out quickly enough. It’s unusual to see a bicycle with turn signals!

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  • John Liu
    John Liu December 18, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    On overly bright bicycle headlights – this is a problem, just like cars with overly bright headlights.

    Most bike headlights don’t have a carefully shaped beam, they just put out a cone of light, so if the center of the beam is aimed at the road 30′ ahead of you, a lot of light is also going into the eyes of drivers and pedestrians and other cyclists. Also, some bike headlights are simply too bright – manufacturers have gotten into the “bigger is better” marketing.

    European generator system bike headlights, usually German made, do have a carefully shaped beam, with a sharp cutoff that keeps the light on the road and out of others’ eyes. Some are quite expensive but there are lower-end models that are around $50. They are designed for use with generator hubs; maybe they could be adapted to rechargeable batteries? If you look around, you can find older versions that use halogen bulbs, in used condition, for pretty cheap (I got mine free), and fit them with LED bulbs for about $10/ea.

    A couple of companies are selling front wheels with generator hubs, for about $100 online. These aren’t the best generator hubs, but by most reports they work fine. So, for around $110 to $200 you can have a front light that is always on, doesn’t need batteries or recharging, with a shaped beam that effectively illuminates the road without dazzling others.

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    Joe Fortino December 19, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    Jeff P
    Anybody have any input as to dexterity with the gloves on? Interested in using them for things beyond cycling where dexterity, movement and finer motor skills are needed.Recommended 0

    good finger tip control and not to bulky.

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    JBone December 19, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    IMHO, the lights aren’t the problem (except the flashy/strobe setting that I’ve never understood other than to conserve charge), it’s the angle position. Please point them down and not level or up.

    And the knife roll reminds me of a book I read years ago about alternate theory of OJ case; “OJ is Guilty, but Not of Murder”. Fascinating and plausible…I see its been made into a documentary

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