North St. Bags, Portland Design Works, Gracie’s Wrench – BikePortland

When most people think of Portland’s bike industry they think of bike shops. But this is only a small part of the local bicycle industrial complex. Here are some updates from one of the many bike businesses based in Portland…

North St. Story

The last of the North Saint bags.

We have been huge supporters of North Saint since the beginning. When founder Curtis Williams appeared at our BikeCraft event in 2009, it was clear that he had the right combination of passion and enthusiasm to take his business flying. These days North St. panniers are so ubiquitous that they’ve become Portland’s signature accessory.

Earlier this month the company launched a new line of upcycled bags with a clean original story. North Saint’s new Upcycle collection consists of tents and banners used at large endurance events. Using fabrics and materials donated by event organizer Lifetime and components manufacturer SRAM, they have added four new products to their lineup: a hip pack, a d-pack, a rental pannier and a “micro” pannier. North Saint says the new bags will save more than half a ton of waste from landfills this year. And like all North Saint products, they’re made right here in Portland! — (Learn more about NorthSt. Bags in our archives.)

Portland Design Works

Lunch bag (L) and BYOB light

Another local company I’ve enjoyed watching grow since founder Eric Olson moved to Portland in 2008 to set up shop at Portland Design Works. PDW has set itself apart in the crowded motorcycle accessory market by coming up with a proven range. Their Portland-inspired product designs are backed by a compelling combination of quality, value, form and function – and I’d say that even if they weren’t a Bike Portland advertiser!

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Somehow the brilliant minds at PDW are always coming up with new tidbits about products that make me think, “Wow, that’s an awesome idea!” Cases in point are their two new products: the Loot Bag ($95) and the BYOB Light ($79.99). The Loot bag is built to fit two of Wald’s most popular front cargo racks (if you know, you know) and it comes with all the design details you could want. The BYOB light is clever in that it’s somewhere between a typical battery-powered headlight and a fully powered generator light. It can be mounted on your fork for its rechargeable light vision, and it comes with an integrated USB cord that you can plug into any powerbank. — (Learn more about PDW in our archives.)

Gracie’s Ranch

(Photo: Gracie’s Ranch)

The only constant in our local bike industry is change. As some companies grow, others go. That’s sadly the case with Gracie’s Ranch, a bike-learning business started in 2007 by Portlander Tori Bortman. Tori’s welcoming approach to riding and maintenance lessons has helped hundreds of people become more confident around bikes (including me!). She also filled a great need in our community by teaching adults how to ride a bike. She also shared her secrets in her Riding Picks column she wrote for us in 2011.

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Now the darkness is on. In an email last week, she told her fans that she will be closing up shop at the end of this year.

“Gracie’s Ranch has had an impact on my own life and community beyond what I could have imagined,” Tori wrote. “At least three of my students have opened their own bike shops, many others have been empowered to take up cycling for life, I had the opportunity to publish my first book to help beginners, and now on There are hundreds. More new riders on two wheels than I had the honor and pure joy of teaching them to ride a bike for the first time.

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Join us in wishing Tori the best of luck in her new endeavor – Nursing School at OHSU!

Got local bike business news to share? Drop us a line and we’ll include it in the next round.


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