We took a trip to visit the Chrome Crew at our Chico California factory.
Every Chrome Customs Barrage, Citizen, and Mini Metro are made one-at-a-time, by hand in this factory by people who take a lot of pride in what they do and the products we make. We're stoked they do it so well. Build you own Chrome Customs Bag online or stop by one a Chrome Customs Station at any of our seven HUBs and say hello to your local Chrome Bag Maker.
We took a trip to visit the Chrome Crew at our Chico California factory.
What can be said about Palmer3000 that hasn't been said before? Sure, when you look into her eyes she can see straight into your soul, to your heart, and will proceed melt it like it's never been melted before. We all know that; it's common knowledge. There is something else that this 10 year old Basset possesses. A joie de vivre mixed with a healthy dose of apathy isn't something you see done with as much style and grace as Palmer manages to pull off, but there she is laying in an oil spot at a garage and genuinely happy to be there.
The NOA- Yalta is the newest addition to our Artist Series, and features the original artwork of Japanese, live-paint artist, NOA-. NOA- is as humble as he is talented. Typically using acrylic paint on canvas or wood, he's known for painting with a style that emulates Japanese line-making.
We joined NOA- in an Oakland warehouse where he painted a piece specifically for Chrome. The piece was inspired by the phrase "Kuro Mu" which sounds like Chrome and means Black Fog. We used the print to create our New Limited Edition NOA- Yalta.
Better than red wrapping paper and a giant bow, our Salvaged GI laundry bags make great holidays gift bags. We found them in a warehouse, cleaned them (twice), and overprinted them with our Winged-Lion. Simple, versatile, and re-usable, each bag is unique. Once they held laundry, their new use is delivering holiday cheer. Our Salvage Gift Bags let you give an awesome gift from Chrome inside an equally awesome holiday gift bag.
Salvage cotton, general-issue laundry bag
Drawstring top closure
Dimensions: 23” wide, 29” high
We built the first Warsaw—our iconic professional-grade messenger backpack—way back in 2003. The bag was designed to take shoulder-strap bags to the next level by offering messengers the ability to carry bigger loads with improved ergonomics. Messengers were stoked on the Warsaw, relying on it for everything; they earned a living, won races, and traveled across continents with their bag.
This year we decided it was time to remake the Warsaw. As much as bike messengering looks the same, a lot of things have changed since Billy Souphorse and the Godspeed crew got the first 10 Warsaw bags we made. When we made the Warsaw the focus had been shifting from delivering small items and mail, to larger documents and file boxes. Now the focus is shifting to meal delivery. Because the business of delivery is changing, we want the Warsaw II to be able to adapt.
We sat down with friends, employees, and messengers to remake the Warsaw. We added to our collective experience with veteran riders like Billy Souphorse and Squid Bolger. The Warsaw II is still based on the original, so it’s large enough to carry a file box. Even though the Warsaw II is deeper, it’s slim enough to split traffic. We removed the yoke—separating the shoulder straps helps to improve load carrying, stability, and comfort. The Warsaw II’s strap retention system keeps excess straps out of the way until you need to expand the bag. We simplified the organization to make it easier to find small stuff. We also added a tool pocket to the bottom of the bag, now tools are quick to find—and accessible separately—without digging through your cargo. The side pocket is there so give you quick access to mail and FedEx envelopes. We moved the ID holder so that the flap prevents rain from soaking it. Finally the stash pocket, it’s still there.
After multiple prototypes, we had a design which Squid, and crews across the country carried and worked with. After months of testing, the final version of the Warsaw II was approved. So after all the revisions, all the stories, and the decades of shared experience from riders and messengers, we’re ready to introduce the Warsaw II; a bag of epic capabilities for professional messengers.
Two iconic brands. Three unique bags.
We caught up with Tokyo's iconic Blue Lug bike shop Owner Toshihiro Ashikaga for a conversation about bike culture in Tokyo, the Blue Lug X Chrome bag collaboration, and why bikes, beer and girls are so damn important.
CHROME: What is the Blue Lug philosophy?
TOSHI: Our ultimate goal is to support the cycling community of Tokyo; we hope by doing this we make everyone’s cycling life a little better.
CHROME: What is unique about the shop and staff at Blue Lug?
TOSHI: It sounds kind of funny to say, but our staff at Blue Lug is really one big family. Most of our employees were once loyal customers who eventually joined our team. Whether they were local messengers, or just cycling enthusiasts they are all avidly devoted to the cycling scene and are completely in love with bicycles.
CHROME: How would you describe the bike culture and scene in Tokyo?
TOSHI: Bicycles have been an important part of life in Tokyo for a very long time, however the type of bicycle people ride has changed significantly in recent years. For example, several years ago, like in many other cities, track bikes became exceptionally popular. The track bike phenomenon created a demand for shops like Blue Lug that specialize in unique bicycles. And while track bikes are still popular in Tokyo, the influx of specialty bicycles has increased the local cycling scene’s awareness of the global bicycle culture. Today, people in Tokyo ride everything from fat bikes to cyclocross to mountain bikes, and there always seem to be a great amount of excitement surrounding anything new and unique.
CHROME: What is your favorite route to ride in Tokyo?
TOSHI: By far my favorite ride in Tokyo would have to be through Shinjuku just before dawn. I love this ride because during the day Shinjuku in one of the most densely populated places on the planet, which makes riding a bicycle there nearly impossible. At dawn, however, you are alone with your bicycle. The streets are silent and empty, and the air is cool. You can ride as fast as you like without hesitation, which delivers an overwhelming feeling of tranquility and freedom. In my opinion there’s nothing quite like that sensation, and I would recommend that ride to any bike lover who visits Tokyo.
CHROME: How did the collaboration with Chrome come about?
TOSHI: We have always loved Chrome bags and have carried them in our shops for years. Our appreciation of Chrome was only strengthened as we began to make our own bags and realized just how well made and designed they were. Chrome bags are stylish but also extremely functional, something that every bag maker is, or at least should be, envious of. To show our admiration we humbly offered to collaborate on a bag with Chrome and were honored when they accepted.
CHROME: What were the ideas and main inspiration behind the bag collaboration?
TOSHI: There are a few underlying themes with regards to design of the bag collaboration. The first and most obvious is the blue stitching, which is the official Blue Lug corporation color. The others theme, however, is a little less obvious. At the shop we always like to joke that the most important things in life are girls, bicycles, and beer, and we believe deep down everyone likely feels the same way. So, because we were a little hesitant, or perhaps shy, to say it directly we decided take a slightly more subtle approach and use a mirror image to express our love for girls, bicycles, and beer.
The Blue Lug bag collection is USA Made and comes in three iconic Chrome silhouettes; Sentinel, Sotnik, and Victor. Although developed exclusively for Blue Lug shops in Tokyo, we’ve released a small batch stateside in each of our Chrome Retail HUBs.
The Chrome Artist Series celebrates photographers, graphic designers, screen printers, and painters who inspire us. These collaborations are built in limited quantities and once they’re gone, they’re gone.
Each season Chrome drops a limited edition of our most popular bags. This year we’ve partnered with Chris Milliman – renowned cycling photographer. Chris is best known for photographing the cycling industry including world-wide Cyclocross events and Road Bike races.
This season’s Limited Edition Artist Series features four of Chris' iconic photographs: A local cyclocross race around an old castle in Belgium, the iconic industrial bridge structures overlooking the bike lanes of Chicago, a locals only watering hole of the same windy city, and the organized chaos of a bike shop. The inside of each bag includes an exclusive woven patch that references from old school photo processing.
ALL PRODUCTS MADE IN THE USA
• What were you inspirations for the photos that were chosen for the Chrome projects?
The photos are really different from each other, but they were all shot with the same thing in mind. I wanted to show the scenes with a graphic element. I was looking for a quiet, restrained mood, where the story wasn't obvious. In Chicago that was pretty easy, the city has so many converging lines and classic American structures. In Belgium it was a bit tougher, I had to integrate people into the photo more, which is never easy since they move more than buildings and bridges.
• What has been your inspiration in your work in general?
My overriding inspiration is to create images that are relentlessly honest. And for me that means trying not to repeat myself, mostly as it relates to what I shoot and to some degree how I shoot it. But at the same time, I think there's a balance for me between making honest images and maintaining a technical aspect to the shots. It's delicate, trying to maintain authenticity while also composing the images in a way that's pleasing to me. I guess you could say it doubles as an inspiration and a challenge.
• How did you get stated in photography?
My education was in writing, so I worked as an editor and writer before picking up a camera. I stumbled into shooting while on a writing assignment and it slowly developed from there. After a few years of learning what I thought I needed to know about photography, and not being totally satisfied with my progression, I knew I needed to pick either writing or photography. At the time shooting seemed much more interesting to me so I stopped writing and it was all in for shooting from that point on. I have no formal photo training, but had some important mentors and am always thirsty to learn more and get better.
• What do you enjoy the most about your line of work?
The best part about what I do is being able to have a creative outlet and working with other people who are doing things different than how I live. I've chosen to live in a small town in Northern New England. I love it, but it's pretty quiet and somewhat isolated, so going out working with a variety of clients in diverse locations around world keeps me going. I consider it a privilege to do what I do, I try not to take it for granted because I know it's really unique.
Built with the stability and protection of a work boot and the mobility and comfort of a sneaker, the 415 Urban Work Boot is perfect for work, bike, skate, and moto. Chrome's designers saw the need for a boot that was lightweight and brilliantly utilitarian (not heavy and clunky), and the 415 line delivers, whether you're on your feet all day or always on the run. The 415 (the area code of Chrome's San Francisco HQ) is designed for superior out-of-the box comfort and year-round survival in the city.
Built to last and offered in both waterproof-breathable STORM fabric and 1,000-Denier Cordura, the 415 features 100% vulcanized construction with a skid-resistant sole, a tight heel cup, and a slightly wider toe box for a better fit—and pain-free pedaling when you're on the bike. Other design highlights include a padded ankle collar, a reflective heel pull-loop for night visibility, and a low-profile design for great looks and easy toe-cage compatibility.
The STORM 415 combines Chrome's waterproof-breathable STORM technology with oiled full-grain leather, which weathers and distresses well over time while providing abrasion resistance and defense against the elements. Constructed with a breathable neoprene membrane that lets heat out while preventing water from getting in, the STORM 415 is a truly innovative work boot that outperforms any other in its class. With a comfortable, flexible, athletic fit, the STORM 415 is made to be worn all day, every day.
Like all Chrome footwear and apparel, the 415 Work Boot comes with a 365-day warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.
RETAIL AVAILABILITY: 3/5/13 in Chrome HUBS in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Portland—and online at chromeindustries.com.
Cordura 415 Urban Work Boot: $120
STORM 415 Urban Work Boot: $150
Chrome Industries makes bombproof bags, footwear, and apparel for people who live in and ride the city. Since 1995.