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YNOT’s Christina Mathew (left), Tony Mammoliti, Laura Mensinga and Tom Mosher.
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Have you ever wondered what happens in that odd double-decker shipping warehouse just south of St. Clair at 500 Keele?
Behind the door to unit 102 and up a flight of stairs, you'll find the studio of Toronto bike accessory outfit YNOT Cycle. There, on sewing machines with names like Bar-tack Obama, a team of four - Tom Mosher, Laura Mensinga, Christina Mathew and founder Tony Mammoliti (whom you might remember from our Gallant profile earlier this month) - stitch together colourful pieces of Cordura nylon into 23 different styles of bags and the company's staple pedal straps.
They're a long way from their back-alley beginnings a few years ago.
"In 2010, we cleared out a garage on Croft, bought a used sewing machine on Craigslist and started designing our own products," says Mammoliti. The company grew out of the city's fixed-gear subculture and disappointment with the accessory options available from companies south of the border. This year, YNOT will make almost 5,000 straps ($49.99 to $64.99, including one-of-a-kind sets riders can customize on ynotcycle.com) and ship them out to shops in Canada, the U.S., Europe and Asia.
"We rode the wave of the rise of fixed-gear bikes," says Mammoliti. "We started with a specialty product, but then the bike couriers started using our stuff, and now it's made it for the everyday cyclist."
YNOT bag options range from compact tool rolls with compartments for wrenches, a tire pressure gauge and mini-pump to oversized messenger carryalls with straps that have been perfected for riding comfort. New this spring is the Kassi, a two-tone tote that zips up and clips to your back rack like a pannier.
In T.O., you can find the line at stores like Urbane Cyclist (180 John, 416-979-9733, ucycle.com), Bateman's Bicycle Company (918 Bathurst, 416-538-2453, batemansbikeco.com), Sweet Pete's B-Side (517 Bloor West, 416-533-4225, sweetpetes.com) and, of course, Gallant (678 Bloor West, 416-572-2593, gallantbicycles.com).