After garnering the No. 1 slot in Bicycling magazine’s annual ranking of best cities for biking in 2010, Minneapolis made it known that it’s serious about cycling —enough so that some of us even pedal through the snow. The city has one of the highest percentages of bicycle commuters in the country; an impressive biking infrastructure that includes the unique 5.5-mile bicycle “freeway,” the Midtown Greenway; and a bicycle-sharing program, Nice Ride.
It’s no wonder Chrome Industries decided to open its newest store here, in a North Loop warehouse with high ceilings and exposed brick. The 20-year-old San Francisco–based brand is known for simple, functional bike gear built around the concepts of utility and mobility. While its durable, functional messenger bags and backpacks are tools of the trade for professional bicycle couriers and other hardcore wheelers, Chrome also has product lines geared toward commuters and recreational riders, with such features as reflective materials and built-in laptop sleeves. (Even though I’m definitely not planning to don spandex bike shorts anytime soon, I found myself drawn to a pair of tan urban work boots made with the same materials as the brand’s “bombproof bags.”) And thanks to truck-tarpaulin exteriors, roll-top closures, and waterproof materials, Chrome goods make commuting in harsh weather conditions possible—at least for the hardy souls willing to go up against them.
115 Washington Ave. N., Mpls.