Wingman bag keeps bike commuters' work clothes neat and wrinkle-free
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.
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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?
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!
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.
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.