Saturday, December 26, 2009

We love you too, Back Alley Bikes

We can't say it like they do...

a recent blog post from one of our beloved the original here.

Bailey Works Messenger Bags

By backalleybikes

My XL Bailey Works SuperPro messenger bag is six years old and feels like a favorite hoodie. Over the course of my three year stint as a bike messenger, this bag hauled loads in excess of 60 lbs. more often than any bag should. A bag that can comfortably fit 8 reams of paper, extra clothing, bike tools, lunch, and coffee is a good bag. One that can keep all this stuff dry through a torrential downpour is a great bag.

I paid $150 for my bag in 2003. At the time it felt like a small fortune, but this bag has outlived several of my bicycles. My bag doesn’t endure the same abuse it once did, but it’s still there when I need it.

There are lots of messenger bags on the market, and most of them are very high quality and share a lot of the features of the Bailey bags, but in my experience the Baileys have the most bag for the buck, which is why we stock them. There’s lots of sizes and colors, and we always have a few at the shop.

Bailey Works Messenger Bags are excellent bags for the year-round cyclist. Waterproof, comfortable, voluminous, durable, American-made, and modestly priced, what’s not to love?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

WMD's in Action

Christmas is almost upon us, and the domestic cyclocross season wrapped up this past weekend with Nationals in Bend. Throughout the season, we had Whalemouth Duffels, affectionately known as WMD's, in action with both the Embrocation Cycling Journal and Richard Sachs cross teams.
The WMD is the perfect race day bag, holding your most important stuff, like... pants. Pants are good, we generally encourage folks to wear them, unless of course you are racing cyclocross.
The WMD is also the perfect platform to display your logo, or your mantra, as in the case of Richard Sachs' "ATMO", which is short for "according to my opinion". According to Richard, cross rules, and judging by the banner year that his team had, they did indeed rule.
Red bikes and red bags, it doesn't get much better than that.
So, the cross season is over, and the cycle begins anew, but you can buy your very own WMD, either from us, or the good folks at Embro, IF, or Richard Sachs. We'll pause to celebrate the holidays with friends and family, and then get back on the road to peddle our wares. In February we'll be at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Richmond.
If you do happen to see one of our WMD's or other bags lying around the lobby of a highway hotel somewhere down the road, fear not, they are harmless, probably just stuffed with pants.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

It's that time of year when we break out the Turkey Bag, pick our heads up from the sewing machines, and pause to give thanks for all that is before us.

As The Great Recession grinds on, the trepidation of Thanksgiving 2008 has given way to a firm resolve that real value and values will prevail. For us, that continues to be about making an honest, durable, and functional product right here in the United States. We'd all like business to be a bit more robust, but we can be thankful that we still have a loyal fan base and continue to attract new customers to our brand of ingeniously simple bags.

Thanks to all of our customers, suppliers and supporters; and here's to a joyous holiday season with family and friends.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Why Hello, Mr. Byrne!

Hello Nation,

We just did a big run of SuperPros for our friends and idols at Transportation Alternatives.
They are the largest and smartest of the big city bike and ped advocacy groups - a close working relationship with the city gives them wonderful influence. Instead of the city inventing policy on their own they have a very engaged and informed partner to work with. The Bloomberg administration several years ago worked to introduce a congestion pricing system to Manhattan (Read: Charge cars admission to drive downtown and reduce congestion and pollution). Trans Alt built that plan - it didn't pass, but it's not dead yet. We have been donating custom printed bags to them for four or five years now. They give them to volunteers and auction them off to raise funds.

David Byrne is also a fan of theirs (as we are of him). He just wrote a book, "Bicycle Dairies," full of his musings about riding in cities all over the world. Mr. Byrne is no Lycra-clad, heartbeat-monitor-wearing newbie to riding bikes. I understand his mount of choice to be an old English three speed (mine too). He seems a man who rides the same way a 12-year-old rides. BECAUSE IT IS SO FUN. Anyway, he helps out the Dept. of Transportation when he can and is also a big supporter of Transportation Alternatives.
So here we are. TA generated art work that took the book cover and put it onto our bag. We built a big run of them and they will go along to readings and book signings in other cities. The proceeds will support the work TA does. Everybody wins.

-Jon B.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Blowout Bag

Did you ever have one of those rides where nothing seems to go right from the get-go? I had one this past summer. It was the normal Saturday morning group ride, but this particular version started out cold, and got speedy in a hurry. It was clear from the start that this was going to be an aggressive morning, and I was riding a new bike, with new tires. Not just any new tires, but a pair of bright red Vittoria Open Corsa Evo CX's to match the red paint job on my new IF Factory Lightweight.

To shake off the morning chill, the pace went up quickly. After a few miles, someone stopped for a mechanical. While waiting, I debated taking off my wind jacket, but since it was still cool, and I knew we were about to hit a particularly fast descent, I left it on. I finally decided to shed the jacket, but only after the group started rolling again, and to avoid being dropped, I did a hasty job of stuffing it into my jersey pocket. You can guess the rest...

As soon as we hit the big descent, my rear wheel completely locked up, and I began to slide sideways down the hill in a drift worthy of Grand Theft Auto. You've been there... those milli-seconds ticking off in slow motion in your brain as you consider what the impact is going to feel like... the sound of metal skittering on asphalt, and the pain of your skin as it gets left on the road. You know that it is going to be bad, and all you can do is hope that nothing important gets snapped in the process.

And then suddenly, I came to a standing stop. I couldn't believe it... a complete lock-up at full speed and I was standing upright. I turned around to look for the cause and there was my jacket, firmly entangled in my rear brake. As I was taking stock of my bodily good fortune, and the damage to both jacket and bike, another rider rolled up and said, "dude, that was totally awesome, too bad no one was here to tape it, because that would be sick on YouTube."

The jacket was a total loss, which was no great shakes, since the pumpkin color was not my favorite, and remarkably the wheel was still perfectly true (yeah Mavic!), but the tire was a complete loss.

Normally I wouldn't lament the exchange of a $100 tire for the lack of any bodily damage, but like the Dude's rug, those tires really tied the bike together, and when I went to order a replacement, I learned that they were out of stock during a model transition. So now I was stuck with one expensive red tire that would be difficult to find a match for. I changed the tires to good old black, and moved on, but just couldn't discard the blown out rear. I figured that tire must have some seriously good karma.

I thought about what I could do with it, so I talked to Jon about making a belt out of it, or a bag strap. Given the Open Corsa's cotton casing, it was easy enough to cut off the bead and the width was a perfect match to stitch it to some strap webbing. Add in a little foam padding and some trim binding, and voila, a bag strap with a real story:
Mated to a silver 253 with a computer sleeve, and built up by Jan just in time for the Interbike trade show, it was quite a hit. I was stopped many times in the aisles of the convention center by admiring folks wanting to know where they could get one. Each time I just said that if they had a cotton casing tire with good karma, we'd be happy to turn it into a bag strap.
Stylish and comfortable... I feel invincible with this bag on my shoulder. Perhaps because it unconsciously causes me to periodically check my pockets.
Give us a shout if you have a lucky tire with a cotton casing that you'd like built into a bag for a modest charge. Ride on, or should I say, skid on?


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

BaileyWorks bags at the No. American Cycle Courier Championships

Hey folks, it's been a busy summer here and we've been quiet for too long. We thought a good place to restart is with some photos of hard working couriers and their personal BaileyWorks bags competing in the 2009 NACCC held in August right here in our backyard in Boston.
These fine photos come to us courtesy of Tyler at Independent Fabrication in Somerville. IF was a manifest stop in the NACCC work simulation race, and Tyler had his camera and photo studio set-up to capture the competitors along with their bikes and bags.

As you can see, these folks are the ultimate test of our craftsmanship and quality, putting their bags through rigorous real-world use every day. They also seem to prefer the more subdued colorways in the gray-scale range!

Even with the mono-chromatic colors, personalization and creativity abound.
This one is a personal favorite. Note the extra "Lookout!" warning written into the reflective strip. Speaking of lookout, be on the lookout for upcoming posts on special edition bags made from recycled banners, and a very special, limited edition bag featuring artwork from David Byrne of Talking Heads fame, to be purchased from, and benefit, Transportation Alternatives.