Wingman bag keeps bike commuters' work clothes neat and wrinkle-free
Henty's Wingman bag keeps your suit neat even on the toughest bicycle commutes
Bicycle commuting is one of those things that sounds like a universally great idea up until you actually try it. Nothing will start the day off on the wrong foot like showing up 20 minutes late (you may not be in as good of shape as you thought), dripping in sweat and pothole water. But, hey, at least you get to brag about being green. The Henty Wingman aims to make the practice of bicycle commuting as great as the concept, by keeping your suit dry, free from sweat and road grit, and looking like it just popped out of the dry cleaning plastic.
Similar to the Suitpack and Suit Commute, the Wingman is a suit bag designed to meet the specific needs of bicycle commuters. The main suit pack rolls up and has recycled-PVC ribs that create a crease-free shell. A separate gym bag that stores inside the suit roll carries shoes, socks and accessories. The gym bag can, of course, be left home when not needed, or used on its own. A front pocket includes a padded laptop/tablet sleeve, which Henty says will be removable on future versions of the Wingman. The pack is carried by way of the adjustable, padded shoulder strap.
Henty built the Wingman for all types of cycling conditions. It includes reflective piping for increased visibility at night and a waterproof rain cover with reflective logo for inclement weather. It also has a webbing loop for attaching a bicycle light.
While bicycle commuting is the main focus of the Wingman design, Henty intends for the pack to be useful off the saddle, too. It built the bag to airline carry-on specifications, making it an easy way to transport a suit, laptop and other carry-on items on a flight. The fact that it splits into suit bag, gym bag and laptop sleeve means that it can be used for all kinds of gear-carrying needs.
Last we checked, the Suitpack and Suit Commute were still just projects with production hopes. The Wingman, on the other hand, is a purchasable reality. Henty launched it last year and has it for sale on its website for AUD$179.95 (about US$185). The company was on hand at the recent ISPO show, where it was nominated for a BrandNew Award, working toward securing further distribution.
About the Author
Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.
All articles by C.C. Weiss
Nothing will start the day off on the wrong foot like showing up 20 minutes late (you may not be in as good of shape as you thought), dripping in sweat and pothole water.
And still, a lot of people in Holland and Denmark commute by bike. How do they do it?
Do their employer provide rooms to change and possibly showers? Do they get to work in Friday wear all week?
Having a bag loosely strapped across your back (esp with the weight of a pair of shoes) isn't good for stability, and will cause the wearer to sweat more where the bag is in contact with your back.
Surely a more common-sense solution would be to make the bag system compatible with a rear carrier rack, maybe introducing crush-proofing- such as perhaps a slightly flexible roll-up mat, similar to a bamboo table mat, but built into the bag? The extra weight of the carrier would be compensated for by the extra stabiliy and lower centre of gravity of the load- especially during windy weather.
I can't comment on Danish roads (having never been there) but as for Holland- the country is extremely flat, and many local roads are biased towards walking and cycling. Also they have excellent arrangements for fully segregated cycle-paths as well as cycle friendly crossings of more major roads. Also, the Dutch tend to prefer old-fashioned heavy Dutch-style bikes, which tend to be pedalled along flat roads quite slowly- so their riders don't tend to get so sweaty!
I think bergamot has a good idea about a carry system. It looks too big to strap to the bike on its own but maybe with the right cargo rack.
Still, work commuters are likely to be carrying a backpack or messenger bag either way, so this doesn't add all that much. Looks like a good design.
For those of you that came by this article thinking of seriously commuting to work and looking for practical advice let me give you my last 3 years experience doing it. I live in the USA Midwest where it normally is in the 90-100's in the summer in 20's in the winter. I live in a fairly hilly area but my commute is only 10 miles. I ride a bike they call a hybrid with straight handle bars. I bought a Topeak MTX beamRack (V Type) with the panniers option installed and a Topeak MTX Trunk Bag DX to carry my work items. I carry a full set to work clothes rolled up before I leave in the morning (under shirt, dress shirt, socks, belt, dress shoes, slacks, and a small towel if it's a hot day) and they are never too wrinkled to go to a morning meeting in when I arrive. I should also say my job does not require a brief case, laptop, etc. to be dragged around with me nor a dress jacket. I average 14-16 mph (moderate pace for beginners and slow pace for road bikers) and have never needed a shower when I arrive. I am 220 lbs, 34 years old, 6'1" and am in moderate shape if I'm feeling in a forgiving mood. Best advice is don't be in a rush, the idea is not to win a race but to get to work safely without a car. After I arrive at work I take about 5 min to cool down before going inside. The odor of sweat comes from bacteria that breeds in the sweat over time. So dump what's left of your water bottle on your head, cool down so you're not making more sweat, dry off with the small towel and go change in a bathroom stall. My office is nice enough to provide showers but I NEVER need to use them. And believe me, the rude and crude guys I work with would not hesitate to tell me I smell. I admit the bike I commute with is not well suited for it. That's why I wear a cycling outfit and have to change. Want an even better way to commute? Buy a nice big, heavy, transportation bike. Wear your dress clothes if it's between 40 and 80 degrees and ride at 10-12 mph. Transportation bikes normally come with a chain guard to protect your pants and are a smooth comfortable sitting upright ride. Having a bit of a time getting up a hill? Stop! Rest a bit. Walk up it. It's really no big deal. Just ignore the road cyclists with their full cycling outfits whizzing by if that happens. They're out for another purpose and while a few are jerks the vast majority are just thrilled to see another cyclist joining in. My wife works in the same building as me and rides a transportation bike with her business clothes on including high heels. We take it slow, we arrive happy, and ready for a days work. And do us all a favor and learn how to ride in traffic. It's not common sense stuff and 90% of cyclist do it wrong. For instance DO NOT use side walks unless absolutely necessary and DO NOT ride up to the front of the line at stop lights or stop signs. Study after study proves this to be true for safe cycling in traffic and yet I see very experienced riders break these simple rules all the time.
Hopefully that's helpful in addition to just being a painful mess to read. Never was a good writer and I'm not about to start now! :)
@ Freyr Gunnar: +1 to bergamot69's comments, he's spot on from my research. Slow speeds, slow bikes, flat roads is how other countries cycle commute. They think our American road bikes are just silly to commute in and I have to agree. Transportation bikes are much better suited for the job.
Very cool concept. I recently encountered another design with a similar aim. I thought this design might solve some of the issues mentioned previously. The bag was on Kickstarter, so I am not sure where they are at with production but I thought it was worth a peak. tinyurl.com/bizbag
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