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Traffic Cone Bag 101


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What makes the TCB a traffic stopper?  
    Traffic Cone Bag by day: Brooklyn Bridge NYC

    The Traffic Cone Bag™ is an ultralight, squishable, 3-in-1 safety bag made for cyclists, walkers, travelers, skateboarders, starving architects and minimalist multi-functional freaks. Reversible and versatile, it's designed to keep you safe, visible and stylish on and off the bike.

    Designed and road tested by the Galfromdownunder—world bicycle adventurer and author of The Handsomest Man in Cuba—the "TCB" (for short) is loudly and proudly made by local talent in the New York Garment District. Read on to learn why the #1 customer comment is "I use it every day" and order yours here.

    VIDEO: About the TCB 


    David Lam of bfold.com demonstrates the original TCB circa 2009 (click here if you can't see the video). As of November 2010, the TCB was enhanced with a new 3M Scotchlite strip for better visibility at night.

    The TCB How-to

    The instruction card that comes with every TCB shows you how to go from bike to boardroom to bodega to ballroom … 

    TCB Facts & Features  

    • 2 sizes small (13" wide x 17" deep) and large (15" wide x 18" deep). Both can accommodate most laptops. Compare them here
    • 3 modes: 
      • Orange backpack mode makes you visible from a great distance when on the bike, walking or running (runners can cross straps over chest for  a no-bounce fit)
      • Black backpack (stealth) mode gives you a stylish stash off the bike
      • Musette mode is a compact little shoulder bag to match your little black dress
    • 2 water-bottle sized pockets for stowing keys, cellphone, glasses, portable keyboard or water bottles. Even that annoying wet mini-umbrella until you get home
    • Large black pocket holds a manila folder, trashy magazine, or the New York Times unfolded. Some cyclists use it to hold their Camel Back (hydration) bladder
    • Flat drawstring straps are more comfy than rope when overstuffing it like you shouldn't. Although one size fits most, you can extend the straps by clipping a couple of simple carabiners to the D-rings. Best of all, you can clip the bag to the back of a chair or barstool so it doesn't walk, like this
    • Scotchlite strip + loop for blinky light for visibility at night
    • Compressible like this, for stashing in a jersey pocket to pick up purchases on the way home
    • Helmet-sized main compartment. Take a look at what it can hold
    • Materials and construction ANSI-standard neon orange coated polyester, DWR (durable water resistent) 2.2oz black Taslan. 
    • CARE INSTRUCTIONS Handwash in cold water and hang to dry to prolong life of the water resistant coating. NOTE: The TCB is water resistant but not 100% waterproof or ballistic; it's a simple, soft bag designed for the 95% of the time you'll be out on the bike in fairly dry riding conditions

    Scotchlite strip and a loop for your own light keeps you visible at night


    Why I designed the TCB or:

    Who the heck needs another bag?

    In black backpack mode, you're ready for the fanciest shindig… 

    Stylin' out of the saddle: I designed the Traffic Cone Bag for the modern minimalist madame on wheels - although blokes like it too. As the former Bike Friday Customer Evangelist I was constantly asked about my bag, so I decided to make it available to others. It's based on a standard drawstring gym bag with extra thought for the safety-and-style-conscious cyclist.
    The Galfromdownunder

    TCB Customers in action 

    You can wear all the black and gray you like and stay visible in city traffic with a TCB

     

    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

    Steve does Florence with the TCB in stealth mode

     

    Musette mode: the lucky third of the 3-in-1 shapes. Slip your hand in the big black pocket, pull it inside out, and viola, it morphs into a small, neat shoulder bag for holding keys, wallet and your latest airport novel.

    I do a lot of bike commuting around Chicago. Have a little pannier that I put my off-the-bike riding clothes in. Now I can stuff my TCB into my pannier and then when I'm all professional looking after getting off the bike, I can use my TCB to carry my smartphone, work papers, billfold, etc. Thanks for a great invention.
    - Super cyclist Susan Reed

    Kate stashes War & Peace in her small TCB

    Stayin' alive, stayin' alive: cyclists on PAC Tour Arizona camps use the TCB to stay visible on the road and spottable by the sag wagon

    TCB History: peeps who made it possible 


    Thank you to...

    • Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics in Idaho, who stock and sell just the right fabrics for this product in quantities a small manufacturer can afford
    • Super seamstress Caroline Fu, who has a lot sexier things to sew than this bag. "Make local, buy local, that's sustainabilty!" she says.  Caroline Design Inc, Phone (917) 660-4673, Carolinefu32@gmail.com Read my story about Caroline on FastCompany.com
    • Apparel pro Chuck Krieger for some pithy NY garment district and construction advice
    • Heirloom Labels who let me order my signature labels in small quantities (50-100 or less)
    • This bag was originally inspired by Terry de Campo of Denver, who is never seen on the bike without his little drawstring bag
    • To "mountain man" Jeff Bryce, a guy who makes his own clothes and helped me build the original prototype

    TCB Development Timeline

    August 2012

    Feb 2012

    • New metal stud snap
    • 1" black reflective strip found to be generic and deficient, now using 5/8" genuine 3M Scotchlite strip on all TCB's 

    February 2011

    November 2010 

    March 2010

    Jan 2010

    • About 100 sold so far - maybe more? Via word of internet.
    • New Guy version now has 2 extra inches added to each strap, later reverted back - people aren't as big as I thought! 

    Dec 2009

    • Added Snap Source Snaps
    • Made black pockets 2" deeper to accommodate snap closure
    • Made Guyfromdownunder black pocket big enough for unrolled New York Times

    Nov 2009

    • Launched 15" wide Guyfromdownunder version, 3/4" nylon webbing straps
    • Switched to lighter, 2.2 Oz Black Supplex material
    • Switched to more water resistant, fade-resistant ANSI orange neon polyester material
    • Reinforced orange pocket center seam with backing material 
    • Hand-sew large back snap to black pocket on Guy bag
    • Increased orange pocket depth on both sizes

    June 2009

    • Added stitch in channel to restrict straps from twisting
    • Cauterized strap ends with flame before sewing to eliminate fraying
    • Switched to yellow embroidered "Galfromdownunder But Made In America" label.
    • Increased orange pocket width, double center seam for added strength
    • Added elastic loop on orange side for blinky light

    Jan 2009

    • Launched 13" wide Galfromdownunder version, 1/2" nylon webbing straps
    • 4.4 oz Black Taslan
    • Neon Orange Nylon Packcloth
    • Sewn by Caroline Fu Design, 265 West 37 St, 10th Floor, Suite 10W, Phone (917) 660-4673

    Jan 2007

    • Prototype, using triple layer XALT laminated orange/black from The Rain Shed, Corvallis. Like all good laminates they bubble and separate over time, therefore next prototype incorporates two separate layers sewn back to back.

    ORDER HERE



    Last updated: Feb 2019

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    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.

    +++

    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-F…

    TCB: Making the straps a leeeeetle bit longer

    A simple carabiner from any dollar store add length the straps. Buy a quality one from a camping store for extra strength. 
    In the spirit of K.I.S.S. I've tried to keep the straps of the TCB's One Size Fits Most.  And indeed they do. When the bag is laid flat and the top is opened completely, the strap lengths are cut as follows:

    Small TCB:  54" (or about 13" exposed length)
    Large TCB:  56" (or about 14" exposed length)

    It's better that they're a bit shorter than longer, because it's a real pain to make them shorter later (the join and strap anchoring stitches have to be in just the right place, ends cauterized with a flame and stitched etc etc - all by hand).

    But if you want to make them longer, it's simple. Buy an inexpensive, stylish black carabiner like the ones sold at the store I worked at*. Or you can get a real el cheapo kind from $2 stores.

    You simply insert the carabiner between the D-ring and snap hook at the bottom corner of each…

    Double Bagging: Why 2 Traffic Cone Bags are better than one

    A common-enough question about the reversibility of the Traffic Cone Bag comes from Becka Roolf in Salt Lake City via the TCB Facebook page:

    Hey Lynette, I love my TCB, but I never reverse it because I'd have to take everything out of it... I wonder if you could make a version that just has a flap of fabric on the outside (that rolls up, tucks away, velcros on to stay secure while bicycling?).

    Yes, Becka, this was indeed one of the prototype designs, which would be far easier and cheaper to do: sew a bright orange flap inside the big black pocket and somehow have it flop out and clip flat to provide a panel of visibility.

    The problem is that it tends to look ugly - like those safety triangles. Ugh. I'm all for safety, but not at the expense of style - at least for this product. One could simply pin a neon triangle inside the black pocket a safety pin and flop it out when the rubber hits the road (with another couple of safety pins).
    I like the bag to be all orange and visibly …