Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Stayin' Alive, stayin' alive ... new Scotchlite strip is here

Just in time for Christmas 2010: the latest incarnation of the TCB now sports a life-saving scotchlite strip for safe travels in low light (like, way past your bedtime).
The strip is actually centered on neon orange grosgrain ribbon, which blends nicely with the screaming neon orange polyester. Caroline insists that she needs to sew 4 rows of stitching to do it right, when I was pretty sure the two outer ones would suffice, but hey, never argue with an expert!
Pair it with your blinky light on the elastic loop, and you're hot to trot in the darkest night (with your dark knight).
Of course, you can add even more life-saving bling to your TCB with iron-on Lightweights. I sell a starter sheet. You can stick them on your helmet, bike and other bling-starved accoutrements. The second shot below shows them applied to my original prototype TCB circa 2007 in a whimsical flower pattern:
The reason I don't sell it like this - men may object. So iron 'em on in whatever pattern you want yourself, OK?

Lightweights added to helmet and an original TCB from way back (no pockets)

Lightweights starter set
I recently did a special commission for some New York Cycle Club folks. Special Scotchlite jobs like this are a little involved but can be done:
Placing the 3M Scotchlite custom logo prior to heatpressing. 

Earlier version TCB didn't have the central Scotchlite strip

The price of the TCB with scotchlite strip will remain the same for 2010, as a special introductory offer. Buy a handy TCB, stay visible on the road, stylish at night (yes, it's reversible to black in case you missed that detail) and support the local economy.

Note: Remember that the TCB can also be used for walking and running. Runners can unclip the straps and cross them over the chest to make the bag sit closer and not flop around.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Night Riding: New scotchlite strip for 2011

UPDATE! New for 2011:

All TCB's now come with a 3M Scotchlite grosgrain strip down the center orange pocket, courtesy of my fabric supplier, Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics.  Now you can combine it with your blinky light + optional Lightweights reflectors and you're ready for the darkest night ...

Caroline Fu and I prepare to execute another run of TCB's, this time with the new reflective strip.
The orange pockets have to be just a leeeeetle wider to accommodate the 3/4" scothchlite strip.
The view from Caroline's shared workroom, her trusty industrial Juki sewing machine close at hand

A little note from Clay and Rob in the tech dept at 3M: 

"Highway standard ANSI 107 requires a minium RA of 330 (level 2) for their safety garments. If you are using the reflective material as a safety item, I would recommend keep the brightness above that value." 

I asked them to geek on a bit more: 

We take a brightness reading per ASTM standards.  Our silver (ie. what is seen on highway workers vests) has a typical brightness values of 500 ... 
The stripe I use as an RA of 500. 

The new bags will retail for $55 and $65, an increase of $5 to cover the cost of materials, Caroline's time and so forth. Yes, it's a little pricey to be making things in 'merica, but I thank you for supporting local talent, labor and materials. We'll get out of this mess yet!

Some non-3M tape sold in the NYC Garment District. I've been experimenting with these too. 

Up until now, I've been selling a starter sheet of the Lightweights reflectors that you can iron on yourself. They work nicely and last at least a few years, at which time you can put new ones over the old. Read about Lightweights here:

They also work great applied to your helmet, spokes etc:

Of course, as you can see above, you should hang a good blinky light off the provided elastic loop for even more visibility.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fashion Week: Put it in reverse and let's ride, please!

You can't tell a NYer how to look fashionable in Fashion Week - it's black and black.
It's Fashion Week (Sep 13-19) - everyone wants to be seen - so how come I couldn't convince Lynne to wear her TCB orange side out when biking?  

"I like it black!" she says, jumping on her folding bike after coming to my Chelsea Rec yoga class then eating a killer pad thai at Cafe Zemi. Looks like you can't take the black out of the NYer ... 

Fortunately, the little loop for the blinky light on the orange side is elastic and stretchy, and can be flipped over the lip of the bag to light up the black side, as she has done in the pic above.  But the bag was meant for stayin' alive, and that's what both the orange color + elastic loop for your blinky light + the optional Lightweights reflectors are for.  Read my TCB Night Visibility rant.

The Power of Two: I put all my stuff in an inner bag - a TCB in black mode - and pop it inside the larger TCB in orange mode. Then when you want it black you just whip out the inner bag and leave the larger one at home. When doubled up, you have extra cavities you can stuff things into. Of course this sounds like I'm trying to sell you two bags ... but all I can say is that's what *I* do and it works well. You have an an outer bag for the impromptu trip to Trader Joe's, which can be slung over handlbars or worn over the other on on your back - get my drift?

Speaking of Fashion Week, Benepe's Bike Blog featured a some cool cycle threads that would go great with my bag. It's written by journo and apparel designer Jennifer Benepe, who clearly knows what We Wheel Women Want - a decidedly un-matronly wardrobe for being seen in all the right places, please!

And for more bedtime surfing, take an Anna Wintour seat at my multimedia expose of the fascinating collaboration between Bike Friday and the NY designer Telfar Clemens in 2008.

Buy the TCB | TCB on Facebook

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The TCB gets 4 stars in!

The TCB reviewed by the legendary Jim Langley, bicycle aficionado and all-round nice guy:

REVIEW of the TCB in

How much of a coup is this? Let me tell you - you're talking to a readership of 63,000 largely male, largely hardcore roadies, many of whom wouldn't carry so much as a spare tube let alone the air to fill it if they flatted mid-sprint.  RBR's resident mirthman Scott Martin ("Scott's Spin") wrote about this breed some time ago in his hilarious In the Bag piece. Excerpt:

*Minimalist*. Seat bag contains: ---1 tube with valve cap and stem nut removed to save weight ---1 tire iron ---1 glueless patch ---1 CO2 cartridge (or mini-pump not exceeding 2.5 inches in length) Motto: "Don't you know how much a hex wrench weighs?"
*Leech*. Seat bag contains: ---Nothing. Doesn't use seat bag. Ruins bike's "pro" look. Motto: "Thanks for the tube. I'll pay you back on the next ride." Read the rest
To address the "Not!" about limited capacity - both small and large bags comfortably hold a helmet. But it's not supposed to carry a life support system - just an errand-support system. You can actually put one inside the other and create even more "pocket space".

Quite a few of Lon Haldeman's PACTOUR riders now sport a TCB at Desert Camp. "We can spot 'em from the support van a mile away." 
But what about the times you're not in training, but simply heading out for a more leisurely spin or to get something?  What if you commute? And what about the many RoadBikeRideHER readers? Yes, there are hardcore roadie women to, but we women have lives off the bike - and we like stuff that is useful, unobtrusive, multifunctional, and uh, a little bit sexy, please.

The RBR editors, faithful to their cause, were initially leery of my little bag. Indeed, there are smaller, lighter, cheaper or completely free backpacks out there, usually with some ugly graphic on it and cords that cut into your shoulders. Yes there are ones that are orange. Yes there are ones that are black. Yes there are ones that are completely waterproof, even though statistically most people avoid intentionally riding in the rain. But not many of them do most of the above things so simply and stylishly.

The TCB is a minimalist, versatile little bag that screams "Share the road/path" when you want it to, and reverses to a stealth black when you don't (board meetings, red carpet functions).

It's handmade made by Caroline Fu in her tiny workshop in the NY Garment District rabbit warren, thus stimulating the local economy.

Read about Caroline on my post: New York, New York, If I can Make It There, I'll Not Make It Elsewhere

You can get Caroline to sew you a nice jacket like she did for Denzel Washington in An American Gangster, or a meticulously detailed dress like she did when she headed up Ralph Lauren's cutting room - before everything got outsourced to China and she and others lost their jobs. Call her on (917) 660-4673 (NYC).

Right: Guys like it too! Art Hellebusch from Kentucky with a TCB on PAC Tour Desert Camp 2010. Read about amazing Stage 4 cancer survivor Art here and here

Here's League of American Bicyclists Education Director Preston Tyree talking about his Traffic Cone "iBag":

And here's Ciclismo Classico founder Lauren Hefferon modeling it at 15 mph:

Remind yourself of how the TCB works by watching the original TrafficConeBag demo movie featuring's David Lam.

As you can see, there's a loop at the top for your blinky light for night riding, but if you add a sprinkling of the optional Lightweights reflectors in whatever trippy pattern you want you're good to be seen on the darkest night:

Thank you to reviewer and former Bicycling Magazine senior editor, Jim Langley, who must have convinced RBR it's What Wheel Women Want. Who is Jim Langley? The legendary bicycle aficionado and all-round nice guy:

Buy a TCB here

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Stayin' alive, stayin' alive: Lightweights Reflectors Starter Sheet

UPDATE! As of Nov 2010 the Traffic Cone Bag comes standard with this 3M Scotchlite Strip. But you can still add these reflectors for even more bling. Read on ..

For those who ride at night and want more visibility than their blinky light attached to the convenient elastic loop, I carry a small supply of Lightweights Reflector  'starter sets'.

These are unpackaged single sheets of 16 ovals that you can arrange however you like.

Here, I've used the entire sheet to make this flower pattern. You rub each down through its paper backing oval with a fingernail. Finally you peel off the paper backing, then dry iron briefly through a sheet of baking paper.

The Lightweights starter sheet I sell for $5. 
 I'm feeling generous and will probably throw in 2 sheets until I run out. 

Presto! Stayin' alive, stayin' alive ... Of course, you can attach them to the black side instead, but why would a minimalist metrosexual want to do that? They also go great on helmets, jackets and gloves.

You can sleuth for a special Gal discount code if you download the above instruction sheet.

Lightweights Corp donates a portion of the profits to charity, so you'll be supporting good causes all round, including your life!

Friday, March 12, 2010

TCB in Arizona

Stayin' alive, staying alive ... The TCB is proving popular at Arizona Desert Camp - 7th great year.
I sold almost everything I brought on Day 1.
Check out the shots of the Traffic Cone Bag on the TCB Facebook Fan Page

 Bill Donovan (above) and Bob Kenner (below) show this bag isn't just for da gals.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Stayin' alive in the Bahamas with the TCB

Someone's gotta do it! The traffic is nutty so my TCB gave me a sense of security, false or otherwise.
See Bike Friday in the Bahamas for the scoop.

Below, the TCB married with a hippy dippy string top, circa when-I-was-twenty-something. That's the beauty of a simple, black bag - dress it up or down as you need. Here, I believe I have a Timbuktu cellphone holder velcroed around the straps. The most common customer comment? "I use it every day."

I was also fortunate to meet the CEO of John Hardy jewelry and hear the story of how his baubles really are made with the greater good in mind. His company is the biggest foreign employer in Bali, structures labor so that mother and grandmothers can work from home and not have to pay for childcare, and pays workers a decent living wage. The idea being, stimulate the local economy while making a beautiful thing.
Read about it on my Galfromdownunder Upover blog.