The Original "Messenger" Bag.


The De Martini Globe Canvas shoulder bag was used by NYC messengers long before any bag had been specifically designed for bicycle messengers. Originally produced for telephone pole lineman for easy access to their tools and equipment while they were way up in the air. Adapted by NYC bicycle messengers in the 1970's, and promptly copied by every company in every city that had bicycle messengers. All of todays messenger bag manufacturers owe a great debt to Frank De Martini.

When I was just a rookie bike messenger here in Philly in 1993 it seemed that everybody used these cheap PVC bags available at I Goldbergs when they were located at 9th and Chestnut. They were the cheapest crappiest ugliest bag possible, but everybody had one. My second bag was from McEnroe Brothers, from Boston I think. It was an alright bag, made from canvas with a truck tarp lining. The major flaw was the strap, no quick adjustment on the buckle. I then "upgraded" to the Timbuk 2 Tag Junky, the biggest bag they made. It seemed so slick and modern in comparison to the other bags I had carried. It really just turned out to be flimsy, my least favorite bag of the bunch. I still wont stock them in the shop because I feel that there are many better products available. Next I "discovered" these really simple canvas bags that ALL of the NYC messengers carried when I met them. A very understated design with a simple patch to identify the manufacturer. The bags always seemed to tell a story about where they had been and the things they had carried there. This was the De Martini Globe Canvas bag. I had heard tale of the wonderful old man that made them. My buddy Curtis at Via Bicycle had been carrying them in his shop in a variety of sizes and colors, I had to have one. It is like my favorite T-Shirt and Jeans from High School, just can't think about giving them up. As tattered and worn as it is, still a classic. This bag has traveled around the world with me on my back. I have had some very amazing bags after my De Martini, but none will ever replace it. I have an AWESOME custom Pac Ultimate Deluxe Oversize bag, which carried more than I'd like to remember. I had one of, if not the first, RE Load bag, and still have my East Coast Courier Champ bag from them. And I have a small collection of Bailey Works Super Pro bags and even a few backpacks. But none of them have been my pillow on so many buses, planes, floors and parks as that modest little yellow canvas bag.