San Francisco-based Timbuk2, known for its functional, customizable bike messenger bags, has come south, opening a new location on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, Calif.
Call it cycle chic. A floor-to-ceiling collage of the universal bike symbol is the first thing shoppers spot as they walk over a giant white crosswalk stencil at the 1410 Abbot Kinney Blvd. shop. Near the entrance, wire baskets hold bike manuals, how-to guides and street maps. Simple rectangular wall shelves and sleek countertops in the 680-square-foot space help keep the bags in full focus.
The carryalls feature the kind of design elements that two-wheeled commuters crave — sturdy straps and handles, compartments galore, waterproof flaps and a lifetime warranty.
There's a bike pump for travelers in need of a boost, and store manager Jared Fickel reports the store will soon host a no-cost bike-share program.
This is the company's second store in California (there are three others in the U.S., as well as one store in Toronto and one in Singapore). Former bike messenger Rob Honeycutt started the business in a garage in 1989, and the company now produces 70,000 bags a year in its Mission District factory.
"We love that, in some ways, Venice feels like an island like San Francisco," Fickel says of the choice to move into the neighborhood. "And it's a very cycling-centric community, so it seemed obvious."
Those familiar with the brand know to expect basic black, dark gray and navy messenger bags ranging from $60 to $200. There are also backpacks, panniers, totes and shoulder bags, all bearing the trademark swirl logo.
For shoppers who balk at the basic, there's an in-store customization station, complete with a touch-screen computer terminal and a wall full of vibrant fabric swatches from which to choose. Custom bags are manufactured in San Francisco and shipped to their DIY designers within five business days.
The brand caters to more than just the bike-lane set; it aims to be TSA-friendly and travel-savvy too. A handful of bags are designed to give airport security a flat, unobstructed view of travelers' laptops, eliminating the need to pull out tech gadgets during check-ins.