Portland Design Works comes to life

Urban company started by two former Planet Bike employees

Planet Bike, the American bicycle commuting and advocacy-focused company based in Madison, Wisconsin, got its start because the founder, a former Trek employee, saw an opportunity. Now two former Planet Bike employees have launched Portland Design Works (PDW), a new brand of urban bicycle accessories with a focus on simple, beautiful design.

According to PDW founders Erik Olson and Dan Powell, the company's first two categories of product, grips and inflation, will begin shipping in mid-February. Cargo racks, tools, mini-pumps and fenders will be available by late spring. BikeRadar asked Powell about the new company and what prompted the duo to leave what many may view as a dream job with Planet Bike.

"Planet Bike is a great company with an admirable socially-conscious vision and a lot of momentum," Powell said. "Strangely it was because we were doing so well that we decided to leave and move across the country to the Northwest. We thought, 'Planet Bike is a success so our work here is done; let's try our hand at the emerging high-end urban market and try to do something good there as well.'

"We feel like we did have a good thing going, in fact they still have a great thing going at Planet Bike," he added. "It was mostly about moving on to that next challenge and living in a new place. And we're excited to continue the tradition of giving back profits to promote cycling."

PDW is still finalizing their national distribution lineup, but hopes to have their goods available nationwide by summer. Products will be available direct to bicycle shops in the city of Portland, and Powell and Olson will deliver the orders by bicycle.

When asked if the new company has plans to distribute internationally, Powell mentioned PDW already has distributors in Australia and Japan so products will be available in those countries in early March.  

"Hopefully we will be able to expand into other countries soon," he said. "The UK is certainly on our radar, so to speak."

According Powell, future plans include a "great little tool for removing bolt-on wheels and changing flats, front and rear racks with bamboo panels, and fenders made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled soda bottles. There is more… but the rest is top secret!"

PDW is also a member of 1% For the Planet, an alliance of businesses that donate at least one percent of their annual revenues to environmental organizations worldwide. Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard pioneered the concept.

"It has been a heck of a day so far for us," Powell added. "All of it pretty good. We've had a positive response to the website, and the products. Some samples of new items showed up, and things are really looking good on that front. And it is sunny today in Portland, so we have that going for us too!"

For more information, visit www.ridepdw.com.

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