Practical BaggageBy City Weekly Staff
Outdoors enthusiasts and fashion aficionados have likely already heard of Velo City Bags, a locally owned and operated business offering a broad range of options to those in the market for a sturdy, vegan product to store their stuff—including duffle bags, rucksacks, messenger bags, totes and more. If you haven't heard of them, you really have to check them out. A reliable, classic bag is a must-have, whether you're biking to work, walking to class or heading out on a hike.
"I started Velo City Bags in November of 2008," owner Nathan Larsen says. When Larsen first started making his bags, he was working out of his condo. "I was selling bags via a WordPress blog. People would contact me through email and I would send them a PayPal invoice. I didn't really know what I was doing, but it was amazing. I had people from all parts of the country buying bags through that shitty blog."
Since those humble beginnings, Larsen has expanded operations, but the small-business dedication to quality hasn't wavered. Each product is vegan and handmade right here in Salt Lake City, so you never have to wonder if what you're purchasing is ethical. "You can even come down to the shop and see the process firsthand," he says.
Velo City products are tough enough to survive Utah's harsh climate, with a sleek, polished aesthetic. Larsen loves the process of designing and building his creations. "I love it when a customer purchases a bag and they let me know how great the bag is working out for them," he says. "That makes me extremely happy and makes all the hard work I put into it totally worth it." Additionally, he sells wallets, beanies, belts and pedal straps.
His wife, Debbie, loves meeting new people at the company's various events around town, including the downtown farmer's market. "It's great connecting and seeing how much fun everyone has," she says.
In fact, if you're looking to connect with the local biking community and the folks at Velo City Bags, check out their annual urban cycling event, Velo Weekend, from Friday-Sunday, Oct. 21-23. Sponsored by various SLC businesses and institutions like the City Library, Vive Juicery, Blue Copper and more, the event promises three days of group rides, bike jousting, sprints and other biking activities, as well as social events like a meet-and-greet on Friday night. For more information, check out the event page on Facebook.