There's no denying that once you've stepped off your bike and locked it up, carrying around a clunky helmet is annoying. NYC-based Mara Holmgren and Megan Kiefer—like so many designers—saw the problem and wanted to solve it. "About two years ago Megan was visiting friends in DC and noticed that one of them was casually carrying her helmet around as they went from place to place. Her friend biked everywhere, but had no refined way of carrying her helmet when she was off her bike," Holmgren tells CH. Just like that, Kiefer decided that she wanted to create a bag that offered a smart way to carry a helmet—without sacrificing any aesthetics. Soon she brought Homgren (a product designer) on board and just a few weeks and a business plan later, Kiefer and Homgren started prototyping what would become Henry Liz's bike helmet totes.
While—at first—they appear to be simple slouchy bags, the smarts are in the subtle yet clever design. Each tote bag has its own helmet pocket—a zippered section at the base of the bag which looks good with or without a helmet inside. The two compartments are separated by lining, making it easy to slip your helmet in and out, and keep the rest of your belongings in order. The Henry Liz team finalized two options for their first round of production: the waxed canvas Bedford and the leather Bowery are both convertible, from backpack to shoulder bag.
"The design process is such a minefield! We cruised through so many versions—literally mocking up concepts from duct tape and plastic bags—before settling on the core aesthetics of these totes," Holmgren says. "Shape and ease of use are our guiding lights, and everything springs naturally from them. These totes take the odd dimensions of a helmet and turn them into a positive—cradling your everyday essentials in the negative space while keeping easy access." With a genuine desire to encourage cyclists to stay safe and wear their helmets (rather than leaving them at home for convenience) this pair has found an simple, but appealing solution.
Currently crowd-funding on Kickstarter, Henry Liz are hoping to finance production, with bags expected to ship in September. A contribution of $159 will get you a Bedford bag, while $349 will result in the leather Bowery bag landing on your doorstep.
Images courtesy of Henry Liz