Local business finds niche with cargo bike canopies

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Cargo bike canopy from Blaq Design-11

Jeremy Neal (L) and Paul Johnson of Blaq Design
at their shop on SE 11th and Division.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

You know the local bike industry is healthy when niches are created within niches. That seems to be what’s happening now in Portland’s thriving cargo bike scene. Made up of advocates, builders, retailers, and buyers, our local cargo bike industry is alive and well.

Blaq Design is just one local business riding the wave.

Paul Johnson and Jeremy Neal are the men behind Blaq. They moved to Portland from Ohio back in 2010 and have been gaining a strong foothold ever since by making both stock and custom messenger bags, backpacks and other products. By 2010, Portland’s cargo bike industry was already several years old and Johnson and Neal wasted no time getting involved with it. At the Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show that year, they debuted an innovative fabric cargo bin created through a collaboration with Joe Bike owner Joe Doebele.

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Planet X expands, settles into business in Portland

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Visit to Planet-X HQ-16

Planet X USA GM Michael Golinksi (left) and
sales/marketing guy Patrick Croasdaile.

In the last year-and-a-half, Planet X USA, has gone from boxes of bike frames stacked inside a skateboard half-pipe, to a 10,000 square foot warehouse with offices, a retail showroom, and $1 million in revenue. That’s a promising trajectory, and it shows that the future looks bright for the Portland-based arm of Planet X, a major bike brand founded in England over twenty years ago that has set up its North American headquarters on NE Hancock Street. Planet X is known for their online, consumer-direct business model, high-end triathlon bikes, private-labeled wheelsets and other components. The company also owns On-One and Titus Cycles, two brands with deep roots in the mountain bike world.

I visited their new space last week to see how they’re settling in.

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Ira Ryan and Tony Pereira team up to launch ‘Breadwinner Cycles’

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Breadwinner Cycles sneak peek-2

Introducing Breadwinner Cycles.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Ira Ryan and Tony Pereira, two of Portland’s most well known bicycle builders, are going all-in on a new company. The duo plan to formally launch Breadwinner Cycles at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Denver this weekend.

“We’re coming together to build more bikes for more people,” is how Pereira explained it when I got a sneak peek at the new line of bikes last week.

Breadwinner is more than just a new bike company, it’s the beginning of a new adventure for Pereira and Ryan. After spending over seven years (each) building up their own brands — Pereira Cycles and Ira Ryan Cycles both started in 2006 — the launch of Breadwinner as a standalone bike company marks a significant step in a new direction.

“This is definitely a huge leap for us,” Pereira said, as he and Ryan bantered over final details prior to loading up their new bikes in a truck and driving to Denver for the Big Show.

Far from just another custom bike brand, Pereira says their five-year plan is to establish a factory, hire welders, and make 1,000 bikes per year.

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Made in Portland: Cielo announces collaboration with Tanner Goods

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Cielo has partnered with Tanner.
-More photos below-
(Photos: King Cycle Group)

Following our reporting last month, Cielo has now officially announced a new line of bikes that will come with accessories made by Tanner Goods. Both companies are based in Portland and make their products just a few miles from each other.

Cielo, the bike brand created by Chris King and made in the Chris King Precision Components factory in Portland’s northwest industrial area, will offer a Cielo Tanner Goods Edition package on two of their frames: the Sportif Classic and the Cross Classic.

Here’s more from the official statement:

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Local builder roundup: A carbon ‘cross collaboration and a new builder

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Bike maker Joshua Bryant.
(Self portrait)

Welcome to the latest edition of our local builder roundup. With such a thriving crop of bike makers here in Portland, there’s always news to share about what they’re up to. Today we’ll share more on the continuing carbon influx and a new, emerging builder.


Introducing Joshua Bryant of Cycles J Bryant
In the last roundup we said goodbye to Mitch Pryor and his classicly-styled randonneuring bikes.

Today we introduce you to a new builder in a similar vein, Joshua Bryant (in a recent interview, Joshua actually named Pryor as one of his influences).

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With new products, Portland Design Works is hitting their stride

Visit to Portland Design Works-3

Company founder Erik Olson.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland,
unless noted otherwise)

After just four years in business, Portland Design Works has made a solid name for itself in the bike industry. It was September 2008 when we first shared that a young, former general manager at Planet Bike, Erik Olson, was leaving Wisconsin to start up a new company here in Portland. Olson came here specifically to allow his endeavor to feed off our rich and vibrant bike culture. A few months later he joined forces with fellow Planet Bike co-worker Dan Powell. And the rest, as they say, is history.

From their headquarters just off the busy bikeway of N. Williams Ave, Portland Design Works has built a distinctive brand on a shoestring marketing budget. They’ve done it by doing creative projects (Circulus anyone?), by becoming part of the community, and of course by designing some very cool, distinctive and functional products.

Earlier this month I spent some time with Powell, Olson, and Sales Manager Kevin Murphy to chat about how business is going and to get a peek at their latest offerings.

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Conscious Commuter celebrates first batch of Portland-made frames

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The first frames off the production line.
(Photos: Conscious Commuter Corp.)

Last month we shared the story of Kinn Bikes, a new company that decided to make their frames right here in Portland. Now, another company has decided that Portland is the place to manufacture their bikes. Conscious Commuter Corporation, a company with offices downtown and in Los Angeles, just had a batch of 50 frames made at Zen Bicycle Manufacturing in North Portland.

We shared the launch of Conscious Commuter in June of 2011 and then caught up with them a few months later as they went public with their successful Kickstarter campaign (that raised over $25,000).

According to Bob Vander Woude, the company’s President and CEO, they were very close to producing the frames in China. “There were a lot of people in the industry telling us we had to manufacture in China or we wouldn’t be able to compete,” he told me via phone today. Vander Woude said they were all lined up for a trip to China to visit potential factories. “The more we thought about it,” he said, “It just really started resonating with our core principles,” Vander Woude said about the decision.

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Chris King gets White House invite to discuss U.S. job creation

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Chris King (far left) gave U.S. Dept. of
Commerce staffers a tour of his
manufacturing facility last year.
(Photo: Dylan Van Weelden)

Chris King, the founder of Portland-based Chris King Precision Components, has been invited the White House next week for a discussion about how American manufacturing can spur job creation.

According to company staff, the invite comes from the White House Business Council, which operates within the Department of Commerce. Back in August 2011, the Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale, visited Chris King’s manufacturing facility and apparently the visit left a big impression.

In a blog post after the visit, Asst. Sec. Lamb-Hale wrote that, “I learned how this small business is able to use forward-thinking, innovative and sustainable methods to become a leader in the production of high-end precision aluminum, steel and titanium bicycle components.” She also learned that King’s success is due in large part because exports to Europe and Asia make up 40 percent of their sales.

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In new video, Portland Design Works shows ‘Community Works’

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Screen grab from ‘Community Works’.
– Watch it below –

It’s rare that I’ll give Front Page space to a company’s in-house promo video; but I love the latest one from Portland Design Works.

The new video by talented filmmaker James Wilson (who has done loads of great work for local bike causes and companies), documents a few of PDW’s recent forays into community service. As you might recall from coverage here on BikePortland, PDW gave the new Ventura Pump Track a big financial boost and they also funded and hosted the very fun Rider Appreciation Day (RAD) on North Williams Avenue. The video also features company co-owner Dan Powell making PB&Js for participants in the weekly MTB Short Track races out at Portland International Raceway.

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Portlander launches ‘It’s in my heart’ cycling apparel brand

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Portland resident Chris Chapman has launched a new cycling apparel brand called, “It’s in my Heart“. The business is just getting off the ground; but Chapman, a former brand manager at Castelli/Sportful, says he’s already got orders flowing in from all of Portland’s major bike shops as well as the Made in Oregon store and REI.

Chapman has licensed the well-known heart artwork from Portlander Chris Bucci. Bucci is the man who became something of a local celebrity for his ubiquitous stickers and hats with a simple green heart inside an outline of the state of Oregon.

Chapman plans to take that design and use it to create jerseys, hats, socks and other cycling apparel items for all 50 states. He’s starting locally; but he’ll make a national launch at the Interbike trade show this fall.

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Knog unveils new waterproof, USB-powered ‘Blinder’ lights at Portland party

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Cyclone Bicycle Supply party (Knog product launch)-6

Blinders blinked in fishbowls
as party-goers milled about.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Leave it to Portland to throw a party for a new bike light.

A sneak peek at Knog’s new Blinder model attracted scores of bike shop owners and employees from around the region to a party in a cavernous art studio in northwest Portland Friday night. The shindig was hosted by Cyclone Bicycle Supply, a parts distributor based in Portland that supplies bike shops throughout the country.

Cyclone’s Director of Sales, John Byfield, said the party served a dual role — to introduce the Blinder and to say ‘thank you’ to the hundreds of bike dealers he serves. With a full spread of finger foods, plenty of free beer, and a DJ, Byfield expected a healthy turnout from the over 200 shops he’d invited from throughout the Pacific Northwest.

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