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A Convertible Tote To Offset Terrible Storage On Shared Bikes

Tote’s amazing.

The virtues of bike sharing are great—hop on when you need one, cruise to your destination, park it when you’re done, and forget about it. One of the challenges, however, is using one when you have bags in tow. The spartan racks on most bike shares are barely enough to hold something in place. Nomo Design has come up with a bag that slips over a rack, ensuring that your stuff doesn’t take a tumble as you pedal along.

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Designer Colin Owen came up with the prototype for XFR tote after a friend of his remarked that while she liked using Citi Bike, New York City’s bike share program, to get around town, the bikes posed a challenge for errands, like grocery shopping, since the racks are so insecure–they hold your bag in place with a couple bungee cords.

Owen and his design partner, Joe Urich, started with the size and silhouette of a standard brown paper bag, fabricated it out of ultra-durable 600D tarpaulin (the same material used on inflatable boats), and added a few different handles so that the tote could be worn as a messenger bag and backpack or slung over your shoulders or forearm. A clever sleeve integrated with the front panel fits over the top of the standard-issue racks found on bikes manufactured by Motivate—the maker of bike shares in New York, New Jersey, San Francisco, London, and Melbourne, to name a few. Like Mary Poppins’s carpetbag, the XFR tote has hidden capacity: an expanding, drawstring nylon skirt holds cargo that would ordinarily spill over the tote’s top and folds into the bag when it isn’t needed. A double-thick bottom layer strengthens the base and makes it rigid enough to sit flat.

There are no graphics or branding on the bag, which comes in black or orange—great for people who don’t want to be a walking billboard. Owen says that the material is easy to screen print and thinks that there’s potential to do custom branding for B2B bulk orders. “It makes sense for a company with a corporate bike-share membership—why not advertise their own branding and say they promote bike sharing, too?” Owen says.

Find the XFR tote on Kickstarter for $60; shipping is expected March 2016.

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About the author

Diana Budds is a New York–based writer covering design and the built environment.

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