This past weekend was chock full of cyclocross fun – Saturday saw the fan-favorite and super-fun Mansfield Hollow race in Connecticut and Sunday was the Minuteman Road club’s annual CX event at the Lancaster Fairgrounds in Massachusetts. Lots of driving, lots of racing, some crazy singlespeed efforts both days, but perhaps the coolest thing of all was discovering Linda Keough’s Re-tired gearbags© line of totes and messenger bags, sold out of the Keough Cyclocross Team van.
Post-race, I was at my truck fussing around and putting on some leggings when a friend walked by with the cutest green messenger bag. She burbled about how she’d just picked it (and the matching wallet) up from Linda’s pop-up shop, and that I simply had to go check out the wares on offer. I wish I’d taken a picture, but the bag Elaine scored was insane – a lime green printed canvas vertical messenger bag with pieces of tire rubber stitched across the front in a crazy quilt pattern that just worked. It was funky, functional, and cycling-centric in a quirky and offbeat way.
I literally ran over to the van where Linda was set up.
ZOMG, the selection. The colors. The cuteness.
Backstory. Here in New England cycling circles, the Keough family is somewhat legendary, and with five sons traveling the circuit and racing their bikes most weekends, mom Linda has been actively involved in all facets of the cycle of cycling life. But in spite of her key role in the operation and countless hours spent in support of the family team effort, her passion for art and making things with her hands never waned. Since 2004, partly to keep her sanity, she’d had a cottage industry crafting handmade pocketbooks. Then one day in 2009 the calamitous event of a flat tire on an expensive handmade tire proved to be serendipitous.
Why not figure out a way to use those discarded tires (and eventually, other bike parts) and incorporate them into her bags? After some creative powwowing with the boys, the first “Re-tired gearbag” featuring a piece of a bicycle tire as a handle launched the line. And the rest, as the old saw goes, is history.
I had such a hard time choosing, but this little wristlet bag, just big enough for my iPhone, some cash, cards, a lip gloss, and keys was perfect for when I don’t want to carry a full-blown messenger bag or other commitment to shouldering.
Each gearbag is made by hand with re-purposed bicycle tires and parts and is a one-of-a-kind work of art that puts the fun back in functional. The outer fabric is a ballistic nylon or heavy cotton canvas material that will stand up to the kind of abuse cyclists can dish out and still look fabulous. The bags can be easily wiped clean with a damp sponge and soapy water. The selection is dazzling, with so many colors to choose from, so you can mix and match anything in your wardrobe. The interior fabric is 100% cotton and is available in all sorts of cheery colors and fun designs.
Do yourself a favor and check out Linda’s website to see all the great designs, including the possibility of a commissioned bag you help design. Or look for the Keough Sprinter van at a race near you. You won’t be sorry.