I met the awesome Rebecca Minkoff last summer at a women’s reception and ride to welcome New York City’s bike share program. Fashion accessories for bicycling were part of the conversation over coffee and bagels at a downtown Manhattan bike shop that day. Now, the mega-popular designer’s enthusiasm for traveling on two wheels is reflected in the launch of a backpack for bike share fashionistas.

The new bags, sized to fit into the front racks of public bike share bikes, are billed by the company as “the ultimate sidekick for the girl-on-the-go,” ideal for carrying water bottle, laptop, cosmetics and other about-town essentials.

Daily Pedaling Goes Mainstream

I’ve reported recently on a growing array of products designed by entrepreneurs to enhance the bike share riding experience. But Rebecca Minkoff’s entry is particularly significant in presenting bicycling as mainstream — an ordinary part of daily living — rather than a fringe activity. The company markets an extensive line of handbags, apparel, shoes and accessories.

The new backpack is the first cycling-specific accessory to be introduced by a women’s fashion designer since Kate Spade launched a limited-edition line of structured purses to carry on bikes in 2011. Kate Spade collaborated at the time with New York City bike shop Adeline Adeline on a signature grass-green bicycle. (Levi’s, the most mainstream brand to sell apparel specifically for bicycle commuting, does not presently offer products designed for women.)

The world of fashion has been in overdrive in recent years in placing bicycles into a carefree lifestyle context. Bicycles are seen in advertising, editorial and display as symbols of healthy, happy and hip city living, drawing attention to and contributing to normalizing this transportation option. Programs like New York City’s Citi Bike deliver the kind of on-demand convenience and ease that appeal to busy women and hold the potential to encourage more of them to ride. Indeed, studies in several cities, including New York, have shown that women are signing up for bike share at rates that exceed embrace of private bikes.

Proceeds Benefit Safe Streets

Still, a significant barrier to attracting more women to cycling continues to be fear of riding in traffic. In an exclusive partnership with Bloomingdale’s, proceeds from sales of the bike share backpacks will benefit not-for-profit organizations that promote street and bicycling safety in New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago and San Francisco, reports WWD.com. In New York, the beneficiary is the Safe Streets Fund, a public-private partnership focused on reducing traffic injuries and fatalities through social marketing and education programs.

On-the-Go in Style

The lightweight, but durable backpacks, constructed of nylon with leather trim and silver hardware, come in black with blue stitching or grey with pink stitching. They feature a drawstring closure covered with a magnetic snap flap.

Rebecca Minkoff Bike Share Backpack Interior

The bags have adjustable padded straps for shoulder comfort and a carry handle for easy toting. The interior, lined in an exclusive black and white print, contains a zip pocket and multiple slip pockets.

The bags will debut at Bloomingdale’s on June 15, and Ms. Minkoff will make a celebratory in-store appearance at the flagship store on 59th Street in Manhattan on June 19. Also look for the bags in window displays. (The backpacks are up now on the Rebecca Minkoff site in grey and on the Bloomingdale’s site in both colors.)

Rebecca Minkoff Bike Share Bag, $195

Photos: Bloomingdale’s

 

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9 Responses to Rebecca Minkoff Bike Share Backpack Debuts

  1. Bike Pretty says:

    Accessories label Loeffler Randall makes a really beautiful satchel that doubles as a handlebar bag. The Rider bag was part of their debut collection in 2012. It’s seriously stunning and available in a lot of delicious colors.

    But I really wish people would stop suggesting back-packs as a stylish cycling solution. They are really great at trapping sweat against your back and wrinkling your clothes.

    A cross-body bag can hold just as much stuff, but allow for better air-circulation. Even better are bags that get the weight off your body and onto your bike. Fashionably, of course.

    • Susi says:

      Thanks Bike Pretty and all the readers who have commented. It’s great to hear these personal reflections. What’s most interesting to me about this bag is that it’s coming from a major fashion brand — which, as noted in the post, is significant in terms of promoting cycling as mainstream, notably to women. What are your thoughts? Do you anticipate that we will see more clothing and accessories for everyday cycling introduced by fashion designers?

  2. Jame says:

    I am no fan of backpacks. @bikepretty your comments make perfect sense. I categorically avoid backpacks, because as soon as I put one on, my perceived age drops 10-15 years and I am treated accordingly! I like some cross bodies and structured bags. I wish more bike accessories were less sporty and more polished.

  3. Vonetta says:

    I somewhat agree with Bike Pretty – but after riding my bike to yoga in the park last week, I’m considering getting a backpack because my crossbody doesn’t hold much and I don’t have a basket on my bike.

    And sometimes, a crossbody can weigh you down and just get in the way vs. a backpack.

  4. jen says:

    This is great, but even better would be an included pocket external pouch that can hold a helmet between rides!

  5. sandy says:

    totally agree with Bike Pretty! i was hoping to see a stylish crossbody that fits in the citibike basket securely, as its a pretty narrow basket.

    i have no need for a clunky backpack in citibike colors..

  6. Alex says:

    It’s a classy bag. I wish it came in bright colors, perhaps even reflective, to help protect the rider. Urban biking tips recommend white or fluorescent yellow as the most visible at night or day. Perhaps other designers (less conservative) can get in on this…something funky and glamorous but bike-smart. That’s the challenge, hey? Function and form please.

  7. Not very visible – better off with something simple like this (made in New York and 1/3 of the price) – also good for carrying the helmet – http://trafficconebag.com

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