Padded bike shorts may not be for everyone, but most women who ride casually around town or regularly hit the spin studios would probably appreciate the extra cushioning.
What if you could attach the same pad found in bike shorts directly to the saddle of your own bike, or a spin bike, or even a bike share bike for a softer ride and an added layer of protection? And what if the cover came in the kinds of fun prints that you love in the workout clothes you buy at your favorite fitness boutiques?
CitySeat has got you covered with a washable, waterproof layer of patterned fabric that comes with a removable pad. Creator Chelsea Petrozzo, 27, a pre-school teacher with an eye for fashion, a background in PR and a flair for marketing, sees CitySeat as the more stylish and convenient antidote to heavy, black gel seat covers.
Fashioned of a nylon and elastane blend, the CitySeat cover (seen in the Fractals pattern above) stretches over the contours of a bike saddle for a snug, secure fit. It also folds into itself to form a palm-size packet that tucks easily into a purse or gym bag for maximum convenience.
The entrepreneur’s initial inspiration for CitySeat came from a family trip to Switzerland in 2013. There, Petrozzo observed well-dressed city bicyclists – people who had put a lot of effort into what they were wearing — using plastic grocery sacks to cover their saddles.
With everyday cycling gaining popularity and bike share taking hold in New York City, Petrozzo enlisted her friends, product designers Colin Touhey and Hal Ebbott, as partners in creating a more stylish and practical alternative to plastic bag seat covers.
They launched the first CitySeats in 2014. But with the cover alone, Petrozzo says she felt she was missing a big part of the market – women who love spin classes. (Petrozzo is a devotee of Soul Cycle.) Thus, version 2.0, enhanced with the pad, launched over the summer and is taking off.
CitySeats are sold on the company’s website and at select retail outlets. The black packages that frame the lively patterns of the covers inside are being spotted everywhere from Shoe Inn footwear boutiques in the Hamptons to the gift bags that fashion designer (and a cyclist herself) Rebecca Minkoff is giving her models at NYC Fashion Week (below).
Why not distribute through bike shops?
“I see it more as a lifestyle brand,” Petrozzo says of her nascent business.
That direction dovetails with current fashion trends, also seen in the world of cycling apparel, toward stylish and functional clothing and accessories designed not only for working out, but also for the active daily lives of busy urbanites.
“Athleisurewear is becoming an accepted part of life,” Petrozzo says. “We want to get in on that.”
In adding comfort to the ride, the Brooklynite says she hopes to promote pedaling, making cycling more accessible, whether in the studio or on the street. Petrozzo’s company also helps support the local cycling community by donating a percentage sales to help buy helmets for youth who participate in the Earn-a-Bike Program sponsored by the not-for-profit Recycle-A-Bicycle in New York City.
While the current CitySeat styles, which are made of fabrics sourced from Milan, and sewn in the U.S., fit wider saddles, such as those found on cruiser, comfort, spin and bike share bikes, Petrozzo foresees offering a narrower version for racing-style saddles in the future: “The whole idea is to have a CitySeat for everyone.”
Petrozzo says it has been exciting to see her product in use at Soul Cycle. “You put all this energy and emotion into this,” she says of building her business. “To physically see someone walk into the studio and put a cover on is so validating.”
But she keeps it all in perspective, too.
“This won’t make you faster or stronger,” Petrozzo says. “But it will give you support and be cute and stylish.”
CitySeat Bicycle Seat Cover, $35
Photos: Product photos, CitySeat. Others, velojoy