Love riding a bike to work or pedaling to the local coffee shop? Love it even more when you can do it in style? Check out these grassroots companies making cool bike gear, clothes and accessories for commuters and cruisers. Next time you pedal out the door may it be on a rig that's multi-functional and super swanky.
Chrome: Messenger Bag
Chrome first began crafting its Messenger Bag close to two decades ago in San Francisco. With a Juki sewing machine and a blend of Cordura fabric and military-grade truck tarpaulin the first commuter bag was born. These bags are hardy, durable and have a sturdy, ergonomic quick-release shoulder strap.
One of our favorite features is Chrome’s staple: that each bag’s strap is created with a salvaged seatbelt buckle. With additional bike commuter features, like daisy chain loops for attaching bike lights and an integrated tool pocket, this is a choice bag for zipping around the city, laptop in tow.
Green Guru: Cruiser Cooler Handlebar bag
uses gear waste—old and used bike tubes, banners, wetsuits, climbing rope, and PETE recycle plastic bottles—to make its gear. So sweet! The products are made in the company’s home stomping grounds of Boulder, Colo. A number of accessories are hand-sewn, but our top choice is the Cruiser Cooler Handlebar Bag.
The “missing glove compartment” for your bike, this weatherproof, 6-liter rectangular bag attaches to the frame with Velcro closures. Its made from recycled PETE fabrics, upcycled bike inner tubes and upcycled insulated mylar. The inner bag is insulated, so it can regulate temperature—either cool or hot—and even double as a lunchbox. Depending on the day, it fits a sweater, rain jacket, scarf, beanie, or sunglasses, and you’re good to go.
Rocky Mountain Holster
Park City, Utah resident Andrew Houston handcrafts every single Rocky Mountain Holster
, a 100 percent leather, holster-style drink holder for your bike. With fold-over snap-able leather straps these bike holsters can hang from the front of the handlebars or on the inside of a basket.
They’re customizable with stamps—usually Houston places a multi-flower pattern on the front face—and varying colors of leather including brown, black, and ebony. Oh yeah, they also double as a drink holster for our belt. Giddy up!
Known for its 1950s and 1960s inspired bike designs, which are so elegant and simplistic, we’re going to call out another cool item that is made by Linus. The company’s Farmers Basket with pet cushion (sold separately) is a rattan basket that is made in a cruiser-platform that’s perfect for bringing a small dog or pup along. And the durable, canvas-covered cushion provides creature comfort. Without your furry friend, the basket can also tote groceries or as Linus suggests, a “table lamp.”
As a two-wheel commuter and fashionable, business woman in the city, industrial designer Maria Boustead was having trouble finding a functional, versatile, yet stylish bag that she could take on her bike to her office and around town. So, she decided to make her own.
In 2009, Maria started her brand Po Campo
on the mean streets of Chicago. And what’s so awesome about Po Campo bags is that they’re across-the-board bike, travel, yoga and overnight totes. Plus, the company partners with organizations to benefit worthy causes. As of 2013, Po Campo teamed up with World Bicycle Relief to help supply new bikes for rural African communities.
Portland Design Works
Launched in 2008, this Oregon based company was inspired by its city’s cycling friendly surroundings, so it decided to venture into developing bicycle accessories for everyday cruising and commuting. The beautiful Payload rack makes our top 10 list with a streamlined profile and glowing, bamboo deck. It's a must-have piece of gear for bike commuters, and it looks pretty swanky too.
“Our products are designed by considering not only how to make what is already on the market better, but by becoming students of the details. We consider cost, efficiency, aesthetics, durability, and rebuildability. We also take fun into account, and at the end of the day that is why we are in this business.” –ridepdw.com
(Image courtesy of Cycleboredom)
Batman and beyond! Okay, you can laugh, but this US made biking cape is super functional and really quite fashion forward. The feature list goes on and on; the Cleverhood is waterproof, breathable, and has models with reflective thread. The hood is wide, yet doesn’t have a visually blocking brim. At the base of the neck and behind the hood, the cape features a loop for hanging a safety light. Plus, there are elastic thumb loops to secure the cape in the wind or while speeding away.
“The ‘hood is built for the demanding requirements of the urban lifestyle. That means strong, dependable zippers, smart features and heavy-duty water repelling. It has to have a look that’s distinctive without comprising to the elements. It’s a Cleverhood customer who takes the rain-or-shine approach to life.” –cleverhood.com
Based in San Francisco, this company calls on its customers to co-design, vote on and crowdfund products, pushing must-haves into reality in just a few weeks. Two Betabrand
items make our list, including the Reflective Button-up shirt, which provides optimal visibility when you’re cruising at night.
The selection has a queue of variations: men’s and women’s fits, long or short sleeve, a dress cut for the ladies, and graphite, wheat, or red-blue stripe colors. They also created a unisex infinity scarf, which can double as a nice piece of safety gear for bike commuters.
Betabrand: Take Two
The second item to make our list is the Pencil skirt. Yes ladies, it’s a professional looking skirt that’s made for biking while also complimenting step-above-casual dress codes. Graphic Designer Mickey Roxas collaborated with the brand to create this cruiser-friendly skirt offered in black and grey.
“The Bike to Work Skirt is a cute pencil skirt that I've upgraded with a reflective flag that pulls out of the back pocket for added visibility at night. Also, I included two zippers that run perpendicular to the hem of the skirt, allowing you to give it a wider base, which creates a larger range of motion — while keeping you properly covered.” –Betabrand.com
So, when you hop off of your bike just pull the zippers down and the skirt is re-fitted. Thanks, Mickey!
Woody’s Custom Wood Bicycle Fenders
Handmade by furniture builder Cody Davis, Woody’s Fenders
are absolutely stunning, durable, and sustainably built. Based in Bend, Oregon, Davis uses reclaimed woods from job projects to create a plethora of artistic custom fenders—even with matching chain guards and decks. Cody works with a variety of exotic wood including teak, bubinga, oak, cherry, walnut, maple, mahogany, and leopard. You can choose a flat or curved design. Plus, they’re made to last with stainless steel and brass mountain hardware. Whether it’s raining or not, we want these fenders on our bike!
Board By Design: The Bike All rack
For the end of the day, when we cruise home after work and play, we needed to add an eleventh-hour bonus: The Bike All rack
, made in Colorado. Designed and hand-carved by carpenter Brad Nelson, this intelligent and attractive design hangs like a work-of-art but is full of utility.
The wood rack provides helmet and messenger bag storage via two oblong hooks, and the upper shelf has an opening for a charging cord (which is perfect for a cell phone or iPod). Did we mention that the rack holds a bike, too? It suspends any style of bike with an opening for the saddle.
Are you bike commuter or urban cruiser? What cool bike gear do you use and love?