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Perhaps one of the largest pains in our neck (and our back) is the pack that we’re carrying all our crap in. (see that rhyme scheme?  Pure genius!)

Bad raps aside, for years the strain that backpacks put on your spinal column and the bad posture these packs promote have been a resounding issue. As an awesome bicycle delivery service in Portland, we certainly feel the pains of packs at times. I’m sure we’ve all felt it over a long commute. We wear the heavy backpack holding all of our daily day stuff like computers and pens, papers and maybe even a change of clothes. These things are all light by themselves, but combined they become a heavy burden to bear and put a great deal of pressure on the spine. Then to top things off, just when you didn’t think your spine could get any worse, your backpack keeps sloshing from side to side unnaturally contorting your back and the next thing you know you pop something in your back and are walking like an old person for a couple days. (Exaggerated scenario)

Well we have a solution that could rid the world of this issue. It’s time for you to be a true Portlander and “Get the Gear!” You may have already seen this somewhere before on the street, or even on television, and thought to yourself “What was that?  That was awesome!” Well we agree, so sit down and let us speak to you of the BackTpack, the “Anti-backpack”.

First off, here’s the deal. When we support a weight, we have a new center of gravity — the combination ofour body’s center of gravity plus the center of gravity of the weight we are supporting. When what we carry is balanced left-right or front-back, or is on top of the head, its center of gravity aligns vertically with ours.

However, if the weight is off-axis (in front, to one side, or behind), we must lean away from the load to keep our new center of gravity over our feet so that we don’t fall. Posture must change to accommodate the bag we carry, and the heavier the load, the more we must lean.

The BackTpack is designed to apply a balanced load on the vertical spine axis, prompting you to erect posture. In laymen’s terms, you can stand straight because the load is equally distributed to your sides. This bag will bring you harmony with gravity and restore balance (literally) to the cycleverse. For those with children, we needn’t remind you that with the upcoming school year, those backpacks are going to continue to fill up! Good posture begins at a young age. Taking the necessary precautions now could help to counteract serious problems for the future.

This marvel of human ergonomically correct ingenuity was designed by Marilyn Miller von Foerster as a remedy for poor posture and pain that comes with everyday backpack use for things like school, travel, commute, etc. Marilyn Miller von Foerster PT is a native of Salem.  She has been a physical therapist (clinician, researcher and educator) for 43 years. She trained at Duke University and received her undergrad from University of Oregon.  Her professional focus is back health and injury prevention.  She designed BackTpack because of her concern with the widespread use of backpacks which cause postural distortion and pain, especially in young people during the period of bone growth and development.  She also knows that a foundation of good posture is essential for solving our back pain epidemic.  BackTpack is a posture trainer.

“We feel that Portland Pedal Power is a Perfect Partner for BackTpack because of their commitment to sustainability and health and because of their outreach to those in the business community who share that commitment.  Together we are building a Movement starting with individual action that can transform our society to effectively address our major problems of energy, health, economy, climate change, and  national security.  “Think globally, act locally” is possible together individually.”

Watch for Portland Pedal Power cyclists promoting BackTpack at the following events:

  • 8-2 ~Thursday(First Thursday)
  • 8-12 ~Sunday  (Providence Bridge Pedal)
  • 8-25 ~ Saturday (Farmers Market)
  • 8-26 ~Sunday (SE Sunday Parkways

Oh, by the way, if you didn’t get that television reference earlier about BackTpack, we were referring to Portlandia, “Get the Gear!” Keep an eye out for the pink pack that they throw on. BackTpack is fixing posture one comedian at a time!

So if we, or Portlandia, have spurred your interest in proper posture and these corrective bags, you can find them in various countries, online, across the US or locally at any one of these select locations in Portland:

Fine Men’s Consignment
2235 NW Savier Street, Suite B
Portland, OR 97210
Phone: (503) 868-1204

Sage Family Chiropractic
Tom Ruhsam D.C. and Lisa Merrick
6655 S.W. Hampton St, Ste #120
Tigard, OR 97223
Phone: (503) 598-9291
[email protected]

NCNM Bookstore
National College of Natural Medicine
049 SW Porter Street
Portland, OR 97201
Phone: (503) 552-1532


2750 SW Cedar Hills Blvd
Beaverton, OR 97005
Phone: (503) 643-1088

7144 SW Hazelfern Rd.
Phone: (503) 624-4820