Designer bike bags that don’t compromise on style

One of the perks of New York City is that you can choose to walk, cycle, or take the train to virtually anywhere in the five boroughs. Automotive culture does not dominate in this bubbling field. I started cycling to and from work about four years ago with the intention of being more aware of my carbon footprint and getting some exercise in between my busy schedule – not to mention that the New York subway system is not the most reliable or pleasurable experience. With the new routine, I had to rethink what I was wearing – including the flared pants, which often get caught in the chain of the bike – as well as the bag I chose for cycling.

On two wheels or not, I didn’t want to compromise style for function, especially since most of the time I attend business events and meetings. I just had to get creative on the design and size of the bag depending on where I was heading. Half the week when I go to the office I have my laptop with me so my backpack preference is for cycling. But on days when I jump between appointments and a work lunch, I default with a shoulder bag or fanny pack as they are quite compact and I usually don’t like carrying around a lot.

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If you’re curious about cycling for your next commute, the Citi NYC Communal Bike comes with a front basket that fits any reasonably sized bag. But if you’re more serious about cycling as a mode of transportation, check out the different types of designer bags below that will surely tick the boxes for style and function.

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Backpack

I’ve been looking at this Prada nylon backpack for decades – first time as a wide-eyed teenager in the ’90s and again when I first started biking around town. The medium size comfortably fits my MacBookPro, a wallet, and a few other mini essentials, making this a great investment bag that I know I’ll use for years to come. The backpack is ideal for those days when you have more to lug around; Just be sure to tighten the straps so they sit snug against your back and don’t bounce back and forth with each press of the pedal.

Belt bag

Once trendy, now a mainstay, the belt bag comes in a variety of designs, fabrics and colors beyond the ubiquitous black. Some can be worn as a sling, providing easy access to grab your phone at a red light; while others can be worn around the waist. For the latter, I would recommend adjusting the part of the bag towards the back so that it does not interfere with your movements on the bike.

Shoulder bag

The shoulder bag is certainly the most striking and abundant option of the bunch. The trick here is to make sure the strap isn’t too long. I tend to wear a shoulder bag for shorter trips and on days when my schedule is less busy.

Bicycle bag

I couldn’t write a story about cycling without including saddlebags. They might not be designer handbags like the ones included above, but if you really plan on riding a bike wherever you go, a saddlebag is in your near future. A saddlebag attaches to the bike, usually at the rear, allowing for a stable balance with the extra weight. There are even some that work as both a laptop bag and a satchel, just detach them and clip them over your shoulder. The options are endless.

Melodie Jeng / Getty Images