On a vacation to Europe in 2013, Chelsea Petrozzo noticed that the people elegantly bicycling along were then covering up their bicycle seats with plastic bags to protect them from the rain, sort of ruining the idyllic picture.
Her idea for a stylish, waterproof bike seat cover was born.
CitySeat is a padded cover meant to offer style and comfort all in one. It contours to the shape of the seat, allowing it to fit spin bikes, share bikes, and personal bikes.
While the company launched in October 2014, Ms. Petrozzo, a spinning enthusiast, spent the past few months doing a bit of a rebranding to take it to the next level. The new and improved product launched about two weeks ago. “We realized that although the original CitySeat provided style and protection from the elements, it didn’t provide comfort and locked us out of the spinning market, which really is our target audience,” she said.
A preschool teacher, the 27-year-old is spending the summer in East Hampton, where she is focused on the relaunch of CitySeat, created with the help of two product designer friends, Colin Touhey and Hal Ebbott.
CitySeat 2.0 offers removable padding so riders can choose whether they want the extra protection or just want to personalize their bikes. But in class, most people are looking for comfort. It’s not unusual to see bulky, black expandable gel seats in use, but Ms. Petrozzo said CitySeat is different because, “Ours is kind of like a Tempurpedic mattress. When you hit it down, it’s not hard like a gel seat, you kind of ease into it, which is nice. It’s kind of like an office chair.”
Whether it’s being used on a CityBike or a bike in class, the cover offers a protective barrier between the rider and the seat — after all, who wants to share a seat with all the sweaty riders before you? “For people who do worry about it, now there’s a solution,” she said. Constructed from a blend of stretchable, water-resistant fabric, it is designed to keep riders cool, clean, and comfortable, she said.
The seat folds up into a small pouch so it can easily be tossed into a purse or gym bag. “I wanted people not to have to think about it,” she said. It is also machine washable — just don’t put it in the dryer.
While CitySeat is manufactured in New Jersey, the patterns hail from Milan. CitySeat has expanded its options in its latest evolution. “We hope to have something for everyone,” she said.
All of the improvements to the line were made possible through a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo that ran from May to early July and raised $26,000. Part of the company’s goal is to promote alternative transportation and in the past it has partnered with bicycle shares in Washington, D.C., for example. “We’re not changing the world,” Ms. Petrozzo said with a laugh, “but when people have a little extra confidence on the bikes, hopefully people will be more willing to use them.”
Having grown up summering in East Hampton, where her parents still have a house, Ms. Petrozzo is excited to be selling her product in three East Hampton stores so far: Shoe-Inn (all eight stores in New York and New Jersey carry CitySeat), Lisa’s Lovely Organic Juice Bar, and Sunshine and Bluebirds. The covers are also sold online through CitySeat’s website, cityseat.com, and other websites, like Grommet. The price is $35.
“Our goal is to get into shops, a spin conglomerate, like SoulCycle or Flywheel,” Ms. Petrozzo said of her growing company. “We’re hoping to be the kind of go-to in terms of spin companies.”