Take a Trip is the moniker of bag-maker Michael Bock from Bend, Oregon. Michael's bags, brand, and use of social media are engaging, lighthearted and fun. We spoke with Michael about how he got into the game and where he's headed. Buckle up.
Meet Michael Bock, the man behind the vibrant and colorful bicycle bag brand, Take a Trip. Based in Bend, Oregon, Michael hand sews each stem, saddle, frame, and basket bag with precision and care, ensuring that each one is a work of art. We here at Bike Gear Database are huge fans of Take a Trip and all that Michael is doing in the world of bike bags.
In an industry that is often serious and focused on minimalism, Take a Trip stands out with its playful use of bright colors and bold designs. Michael's bags not only serve a purpose but also add a pop of fun to any bikepacking setup.
My interactions with Michael have been just as fun and punchy as his bags. He is a true character in the best sense of the word, and his passion for his craft shines through in every stitch. If you're looking for a bag that not only functions beautifully but also brings a smile to your face, look no further than Take a Trip. We can't wait to hear more from Michael and learn about the inspiration behind his creations.
My love for bikes began back in 2012 when I started commuting. Whenever I'd roll up to school, I'd feel disappointed that I had to stop riding. That's when I started noticing all the bicycle messengers in Seattle and eventually snagged a full-time gig as one. After three years, I knew that messengering wasn't a long-term gig for me, but I still wanted to stay involved in the bike world. So, I took on an apprenticeship in frame building, thinking that might be my calling. But as it turns out, I fell in love with sewing and that became my focus.
For a while, I was making bags under a different name while I honed my skills and figured out what I really wanted to create. I wanted to break into the bicycle bag market with a fun brand that was all about creating solid products with a playful visual style. I am concerned with aesthetics as much as performance but wanted to keep things light and fun.
A lot of my creative ideas stem from free association and just letting my thoughts flow. When I was brainstorming for names for my brand, Take a Trip popped into my head. I really like the versatility of the name, as it can mean different things to different people. It can evoke a certain visual style, suggest how the products will be used, or convey a certain vibe. It's a name that can be interpreted in a lot of different ways, which is what I love about it. And it all started from just letting my thoughts wander and see where they would take me.
Some of the designs I'm most proud of are all centered around Wald baskets. The funny thing is, I'd never actually used one until I came up with the To Go Box. I've been on a lot of cargo bikes and used flat racks, which have some of the same problems. They're great for hauling boxes and big cargo, but not so great for small stuff like keys, wallets, and phones.
The Wald 137/139 is a great platform to build around. The baskets themselves have been made to the same specs for decades. This allows me to build features and functions in a very specific way knowing that they will fit any 137/139 regardless of when they were made. Since I started designing products built for Wald baskets, I've developed a soft spot for them. I appreciate how a basket can immediately change the vibe of a bike while adding tons of function.
I have a passion for assembling color combinations and palettes in my designs. Despite my personal preference for earthy tones, I am consistently drawn to bold and vibrant hues. My source of inspiration for colors is diverse and comes from various aspects of my life, including emotions, nature, movies, music, toys, and numerous other unexpected sources. I am constantly on the lookout for new and unique ways to bring color into my work.
There are too many to list! The Swift Pannier/Backpack I was gifted in 2013 was probably the first time I fell in love with a bike bag. I am drawn to makers and brands that have a unique POV. A few that come to mind are Bike Crud, Trash Messenger Bags, and Rambler Bags.
I have a few bikes. My primary ride is an early 2000s Gary Fisher I scored at the Seattle Bike Swap. It's got some retro mtb bling, a rigid Soma fork, a Cetma rack, and a basket. It's been a mainstay for commuting, gravel, and some touring. I also have a Bullitt cargo bike. I used it for messenger work but have since done a handful of tours including Chicago-NYC and Seattle to the Gorge. I also built a display around the Bullitt that I use for Take a Trip when we do events. The last bike I've held onto is a Ritchey P-29er in the classic Red White and Blue Team Ritchey fade. It's been great for the local trails around Bend.
One of the best parts of living in Bend is the access to great riding. We are lucky to have The Dirty Freehub local to us, they are a non-profit that researches and compiles gravel routes. Some of my favorite routes from them are The Green Ridge Lookout, Alpacka, and Water & Lava. When visiting a larger city, I always take the opportunity to blast around town on a bike. To me, there's nothing quite like riding, navigating, and learning a dense city on 2 wheels.
I'm plotting a change to releasing product drops instead of making every bag to order through my webshop. This will allow me to continuously release new colorways, reduce lead times, and enable me to better control my time. I'm also working on an educational sub-brand to help share knowledge with others who want to make their own gear.
In the past few months, I have been drawn towards designing bags that are more visual than functionally driven. I have a handful of ideas would like to explore that have 1 foot in the bicycle world and 1 foot outside of it. The Rug Tote bag is an example of that. It's a very visual tote bag that's great for any situation but has considerations about how it would be used on a bike.