It's in the bag
Francisco Chronicle, January 27, 2002
If you want to own the bag that bike messengers recommend, you'll have
to become one of them.
Messenger Erik Zo has been producing his own line of top-quality bags
for more than a decade, but the last thing he wants is to become a
commercial fashion sensation
"they're not for sale," he says. "Period."
While replicates can be found everyhere from Saks to the Gap, the
products real messengers use range from hard-to-find to
In addition to his Zo bag, Damon Votour has a BaileyWorks bag, made by
a small New Hampshire company.
On this particular Saturday, he's managed to fit a pager, cell phone,
keys, several small tools, some paperwork, a paperback (Steinbeck's "In
Dubious Battle"), a dictionary and a small wooden water buffalo
scavenged on Powell Street.
Almost magically, the bag barely bulges.
Bags from Timbuk2 designs are probably the easiest for the public to
buy, in part because the company is based in San Francisco.
While messengers [use bags] such as Timbuk 2 for their versatility and
reasonable price ($55-$85), the company also caters to the
fashion-conscious public with a "Build Your Bag" option that allows
color coordination. (For more information, visit www.timbuk2.com.)
Zo Bags are created for Erik Zo's friends in the bike messenger
industry. He doesn't take orders from strangers.
Zo makes the bags by hand and has his own custom label. The materials
are top-quality, although some are obtained before they go to the dump.
"Stretch nylon," Zo says, pointing to a looming Macy's billboard on
Powell Street. "The stuff they make the signs out of."
Messenger Joel Metz has a museum of bags at his apartment.
"This is my third bag, although I've never actually worn one out," Metz
says, pulling open the flap on one of his Zo Bags. "Some people wear
them into the ground. I'm sentimental."
Metz's current bag has patches all over it, from places the messenger
has traveled and bicycle organizations he likes.
"It's something that's on you all day long, so you end up personalizing
it," Metz says "It's kind of like a diary."