Saturday, September 26, 2009

Traffic Cone Bag (TM) in a New York state of mind


So far, TCB customers have sent along plenty of shots of the bag in orange mode, but few in black mode. So I thought I'd fill the void. This shot was taken in the lobby of the Standard Hotel, Chelsea, Manhattan. The dress is a Wolford Fatal tube - the perfect travelin' gal's glamor gear - imagine the leg one very black stocking for one very corpulent person, cut with scissors at the thigh and ankle, and that's pretty much the Wolford Fatale. As you can see, the TCB in black mode blends right in. It could (should?) be teamed with this getup in the 'musette' or 'little shoulder bag' mode.


"I used the musette mode when I went to the opera" ventured Melanie (above), last seen with her TCB helping out at the Bike Friday booth for Escape New York, Sep 2009 - watch for Lindsay Lauder talking about this security feature at 1:10 min into the movie on that link.

A whole new version will appear 1 October 2009: an inch wider all round, 2" deeper black pocket, 2" deeper orange dual pocket, 3/4" straps (were 1/2"), and a new ANSI orange more waterproof fabric.

Stand by, order from my store

Thursday, September 10, 2009

3-in-1 Reversible Traffic Cone Bag™ Customer Reviews

SEE ALL REVIEWS

Write your review in the Comments below. Or, you may prefer to post on the TCB Facebook Fan Page.

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Reviews prior to 2010:

September 10, 2009: Lynette,

The bag I won at your generous Weekday Cyclists raffle was so appreciated by Randy, when we recently biked from Lexington MA to (almost) Boston on their wonderful bike trails. She was so pleased with the design, workmanship, and usefulness. - Joseph


Lauren Hefferon, principal of multi-award-winning Friday Friendly bicycle tour company Cicilsmo Classico, says: Ciao Lynette. I have been loving your Galdown Under Napsack...whatever you call it. One of our backpacks was stolen and we needed another one to carry water and extra layers. Now I am using it to carry my laptop. I love the bright color!


April 14, 2009: Danny Chiang is a New York architect, Bike Friday owner and brevet aficionado - he likes the bag in "musette" mode. "It's a New York bag!" he declares. Shot in Chelsea's Senegalese-French cafe, Patisseries des Ambassades

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

TCB News for August 2009

Yep, guys like it to - Doug Faunt shows off his all-matching TCB look. Best thing is, if he decided to ditch the orange jacket, he'd still be seen ...

Hi TCB folks,

Bicycle bags are de rigueur, clearly! Take a look at this article

1. One of my Bike Friday customers, Angelo Zinna, would love to see a picture of a dog wearing, or being carried in, a TCB for his site: http://www.pleasefeedthedog.com/
http://www.pleasefeedthedog.com/
I told him I'd ask the folks who actually bought the bag, so if you can get your schnauzer's snout artfully noosed in the drawstring neck or carrying your stuff, be my guest! cc me too.

2. I have a handful of the current design remaining before switching to a new, more waterproof, ANSI standard material I've finally managed to source, thanks to Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics in Idaho. It's more the color of fresh squeeze orange juice - um, irradiated to high heaven. Although waterproof sounds "better". you have to remember you're trading off breathability. For wear against the body, its better that it's not like a plastic bag. Which is why I didn't got buy Ortlieb impermeable orange material or something ballistic like that.

3. I recommend getting a second one (and no, I'm not going to retire in Belize because you bought another one) - because when using it daily it's handy to have your stuff in the orange one, and slip the black one over it for dress use without emptying the stuff out. (Of course, you can always put your stuff in an inner bag too). This action creates another set of compartments, and you can use it as a spare bag in case you blow out at WholePayCheck, sorry, WholeFoods. If you want a second one I will sell it to you at 20% off, that's $40 not $50, just to be nice and since you already drank the Kool Aid.

4. The new ones will be ready in September. I will try to offer them at the same price even though the new fabric is more expensive. Any feedback as to improvements - please send them along. As long as they don't cost an arm and a leg I'll see what I can do - but this is Made in 'Merica. My sewing lady Caroline had to move to a smaller studio space because she could not pay the rent on her current Garment District office - so you really are giving someone a livelihood.

5. Improvements: I'm going to beg Caroline to cauterize the ends of the straps before they're joined so they don't fray. She didn't think this was necessary but I do. And also, to secure them with a black stitch or two to the channel so the join doesn't swing around to the openings at the sides. This improvement was done in the last batch, and is easily done with a needle and thread yourself if that's happening to yours. Ask me if you need advice on that.

6. Please post any comments you have at http://www.galfromdownunder.com/tcb/comments or write to me.

Stand by! Oh, yeah, buy it here.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

TCB Reviews: Grace Lichtenstein, Senior Cyclists


Grace Lichtenstein - cyclist, blogger and former NYT journo recently reviewed the TCB on her blog:

http://www.cyclingforboomers.com/search?q=traffic+cone+bag

Thank you Grace! You summed it up to a T(CB).

One aspect she didn't mention was its Made-in-Americaness, for which I am very proud. Here's why (for Fastcompany.com)

I'm starting to receive emails from spambots telling me that someone in China will make similar bags for $1.28 per one hundred - about 20 times cheaper than I get them made. Tempting? Not at all.

I may never get rich but I'm glad to be stimulating the local economy.

Grace wows 'em at the Hudson Guild

All about the TCB

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Traffic Cone Bag (TM) - "Happy Hour" Security feature


Here's another cool feature of the minimalist TCB design: SECURITY.

MOVIE: Lindsay Lauder talks about the TCB security feature in the Escape New York Movie (at about 1:55 min in)


By unclipping one or both of the snaphooks, you can secure the bag to the leg or arm of your chair, so prevent swipe-and-grabs in bars or restaurants. Or, perhaps it enables you to keep the bag off the ground rather than swimming in spilled tequila and peanut shells (but at least it's washable). The same snaphooks are what enable you to sling it to the handlebars or elsewhere of your bike, stroller, wheelchair ...

Speaking of security, remember you can wear the bag with the black pocket against your back, thus protecting your stuff. 

STRAPS TOO SHORT? The bag is designed to be minimal, one size fits most - with no unnecessary clips or adjustments. If you're big across the chest and you find the straps a bit short, you can add an extender like a carabiner or two between the snap hook an the D-ring. One size fits most, but easily modified by readily available fittings - is the key to simplicity.

Comment on your TCB please!

Order a TCB from me here.

Night visibility: New loop for blinky light




I just returned from a Bike Friday speaking tour in Georgia, where a number of my TCB's were bought by local commuters.

From Sorella Cycling Club member Gwyneth Lodge, who hosted my Cuba talk:

I have loved the bag so far! I haven't actually used it on a bike yet, but have been carrying it around anyway as a cute casual bag. My city bike/bar bike is a fixed gear, and I just rode fixed for the first time last night at the velodrome. I'm confident I can handle fixed on the streets now, so I'll be back to my usual riding around town. That's what I really needed the bag for.


A new little feature for the June 2009 run: a little elastic loop to hold a blinky light. It doesn't sound like a big deal, but in this day and age of overfeaturing (like supersizing only in features, not calories), my aim is to keep things as minimal and as simple as possible. Everything you need, and nothing you don't.



The light I like to use with this bag is the one that's usually clipped onto the tool bag hanging off my bike seat. It's a Planet Bike SuperFlash, which has a brilliant strobe-like flash and is probably the most effective compact tail light on the market for the price (around $25). Clipped onto the loop, it lights up the whole bag like a sheet of orange. Of course if I really want to stay alive or when riding more serious distances at night, I use my DiNotte system that lights up the whole ROAD, but this is adequate for just getting about town - plus you can easily take the light with you.

Of course you can also use the optional Lightweights too - I have a small starter sets that you can buy with the bag. See the TCB page for more about that.

Minimalism is what I'm all about. I'm not a fan of bags with unnecessary bulk, zips, closures, patchwork, pockets you lose movie tickets in, unless I'm in the mood for bling then I'd probably go splurge on a Marc Jacobs beaded bowling ball bag. I don't particularly care that it's not made of recycled materials - I want a little bag that does the job I need - looks good with a suit or shorts, compressible, can tuck it under my arm, sling it over the bike, doesn't clash with anything. If a tool fits the purpose, you'll use it to death and save the environment anyway by not creating landfill because you won't be buying three different things that kind of do the one thing you want.

Thanks to Caroline Fu for pulling an overnighter to get these finished for my Georgia trip. "The bag is deceptive" she says. "it looks simple, but it takes a long time to sew because you have to finish it really nicely, and because it's a minimalist design, you can't hide bad stitching and alignment in patterns or folds." Read Caroline's story, and if you like her meticulous sewing on your TCB, give her a call and let her know. She's a lone rangerette, she'll be delighted: (212) 278-8830

Comment on your TCB please!
Order a TCB from me here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Traffic Cone Bag: Made in the Garment District, New York


After numerous false starts my Traffic Cone Bag has finally gotten a green light.


Traffic Cone Bag Central

Making it in NYC article on FastCompany.com

It's being made in the famous yet increasingly impoverished Garment District of New York City - at a non-sweatshop price.

"This use to be the fashion capital of America," said Caroline, who's made clothes for some big names in couture including Calvin Klein, Baby Phat and Tracey Reese.

Like many immigrants she worked her way up from scratch to supervising a large cutting room staff and knowing every computerized cutting machine in the business. Then she was laid off.

"The fashion companies shipped everything offshore, fired everyone - now look what's happened."

The "now look" she's referring to isn't the latest way to team a sarong with a business suit and get away with it.

Caroline (left) meets my mother (right) , a veteran of the clothing business herself,  having worked in women's retail fashion since she was 17. Small wonder I find myself working a casual gig at EMS
It's the slump in the clothing sector – the very people who are meant to buy those clothes – the American public – haven't got the money. According to Caroline, it's because companies are sending labor offshore, and rents are become luxury-condofied.

In a small, unluxe room in a rabbit warren of a building on 37th St, she sits among the bolts and bobbins of her trade, showing me photos of a dress she constructed for a first appearance by Hilary Clinton.

"I came here with no English and $300 in my pocket," she said. She waves away my probing for more "story".

"Every immigrant has a story," she says.

Caroline's quote is higher than it would be if made in quantity offshore. In fact, a friend of mine showed me a highly constructed bag he got through his bike club, complete with club logo "for $6.50".

"I'm pretty sure they were made in New Jersey," he said. We all conceded that if they were, someone poor seamstress was being paid in coffee and bagels.

If sweatshops still abound in the city, Caroline isn't spending time dwelling there.

"I just do my own business, do it the best I can, be honest, be reliable."



She also waves away my questions about how much my bag would cost if made in China, her home country.

"The best thing you can do for this country is to do what Obama says – buy local, get things made local," says Caroline. "Then people will have jobs, they will have money to buy food, clothes, make this economy more stable."

That sounds pretty logical. Did she read that somewhere? Caroline stabs her temple with a finger.

"No, I've just thought about this!"

She tells me she's making no money on my project – she wants to keep her talented understudy occupied and she likes to support personal creative endeavours.

"Work on your own ideas, you own business. You get a high paid job, you can lose it overnight. When you have your own business, your own good ideas, you can make your way."