Let’s go back to 2008. This was before the e-scooter craze, before bike share, before protected bike lanes. I was living in Chicago and biking to my design job most days, biking being my preferred mode of transit since living in Germany for a stint during college. My fellow city cyclists were more of the MAMIL or bike messenger variety, but I could see that slowly changing as more people tried it and liked it. Chicago, thanks to its flatness and its grid system – a calm residential street runs parallel to most busy thoroughfares – is naturally a bike-friendly city.
I was convinced that more people would get hooked on biking if they just gave it a try. It was good for the environment, provided exercise, and was kind to the wallet. More than anything, it made me feel free, strong and joyful, like a kid, which was honestly pretty addicting. I knew that the more people who biked, the better biking would be for everyone, so how could I introduce city biking to more people?
As an industrial designer, for better or worse, my solution to a problem is usually a new product. How to carry what you need on and off the bike with style and grace seemed a good place to start, and I’m super proud by how far our Po Campo bags have come over the years. Every year since 2009, we’ve been listening to our customers and improving our product, iteratively evolving the design to get them to the excellent product we have today.
Now here we are in 2020. Sometimes it feels like we have a long way to go as we struggle with Vision Zero and addressing inequities in our transportation system, but other times I’m blown away by how far we’ve come. In an interview on the blog Bike Fancy in 2011, I fantasized about having traffic signals with little bikes on them like I saw while living in Germany. I honestly didn’t think that would ever happen in the States, but they started showing up just a few years later. I don’t think I could’ve imagined the protected bike lanes that we enjoy today, let alone the wonder of large scale bike share in bustling cities like NYC. The new forms of “micro-mobility” like e-scooters and electric cargo bikes, that are hitting the streets are just a sign that the change in transportation is finally here to stay.
I’ve been waiting for this moment in time since I first hatched the idea for Po Campo!
I’m proud that Po Campo has been serving this community and its mobile lifestyle for the last decade and I’m glad we started off by focusing on arguably the most discerning customers: women bike commuters. These customers have justifiably heightened safety concerns, carry more with them day-to-day, and have added pressure to maintain a certain appearance level on and off the bike – and they were sorrowfully underserved by the bike industry. Focusing on these customers trained us to consider a much broader range of solutions for design problems, and also taught us how to really value our customers and their support, to think about our relationship and not just the sales transaction.
Now I feel ready to bring our product to more people. We’re opening the aperture a bit to bring more people into the fold, introducing non gendered product for anyone who loves color, good design, and, most importantly, being mobile in the bike lane.
In just a couple weeks, you’ll see how we’re bringing these changes to life. Here’s a hint: How you’ll be viewing this page will look a lot different. And everything in the store will be new too.
And this is just the beginning. As we move forward, we’ll continue to evolve into a more sustainable brand with all the functional details you love. We’re experts in the urban mobility lifestyle and see a ton of opportunity to stretch beyond just bags to include everything that one needs to live this lifestyle.
Thanks for coming along on the ride!