Maria Boustead, who delivered her first order of Po Campo bags to a Chicago bike shop in 2009, was among the first women entrepreneurs to create accessories for city cycling. So perhaps it’s fitting that she is introducing the first bike share bag designed to help riders carry their daily necessities with greater comfort and ease.
I anticipated, even before test-riding the Po Campo Ultimate Bike Share Bag last week, that it would reflect both the attention to detail that Maria has honed through countless iterations of her bag line and her unbridled enthusiasm for the new public transportation option that cities around the country, including New York City, are embracing with gusto.
Maria needs to close out her “stretch” goal on Kickstarter by Thursday, May 29. Click here to help get her over the top!
When the Divvy bike share system was introduced in her hometown of Chicago, Maria says she was inspired to create the new bag after observing that “most people carry their bags on their backs because the front rack doesn’t hold large items very well.”
As a bike share enthusiast and regular user myself, I find that the new, unisex Po Campo bag hits all the marks for improved convenience and a carefree ride. Countless thoughtful features — from the expandable capacity down to reflective details — make traveling by bicycle and then transitioning smoothly to the next activity of the day a breeze.
Constructed of heavy waxed canvas, the bag, which will be available initially in black, contains a polyurethane-coated polyester lining to keep belongings dry in sloppy weather. At a generous 18 in. wide by 12 ¼ in. high by 5 in. deep, the bag easily accommodated my 13-in. computer plus an iPad, multiple file folders and a product sample of a cycling skirt. The interior also contains plenty of pockets to keep essentials organized.
As regular readers of the site know, my personal bete noir is the tight Citi Bike bungee, with which I sometimes struggle. The Po Campo bag comes to the rescue with two vertically oriented elastic bands. I simply lifted the bag into my Citi Bike front rack, looped the bands around the pegs on the front, cinched them with toggles, and the bag was set for take-off. (Users of B-Cycle systems, which are equipped with baskets rather than racks, take note that two Velcro straps on the back of the Po Campo bag secure it to the basket rail.)
Another favorite feature of mine is the small pocket on the exterior. I’m always reaching for my iPhone to snap photos along my bike route; the pocket keeps it right where I need it for that moment when I’m stopped behind a biker guy who’s toting an adorable dog in his backpack. That pocket is also the location of an integrated key ring that makes it easy to keep track of a bike share membership fob.
Another cool feature is that the bag can be further expanded, say, to accommodate groceries, by unclipping D rings on either side.
When it’s time to dismount, the user can grab the carry handles or sling the bag over a shoulder using the strap that clips on with nickel-plated hardware. Pro tip: Be sure that the D-rings are unclipped; otherwise the bag will tend to tip when used with the strap.
When it comes to quality cycling products by women for women, my rallying cry is: “Hurray for women entrepreneurs!” who continue to focus their creativity on attracting more people to the pleasures and practical benefits of riding bicycles in cities.
Photos: Top, velojoy; bottom, @Po_Campo Instagram