Friday, December 19, 2008

Battle of the Bags at

So i got an email off the messenger list serve about a messenger bag vvote-off ....I'm actually really curious to see the results! I think there's a few companies missing (Pac, Bailey, freight, Under the Weather, just to name a few of the "bigger name" ones), but overall it should be interesting if enough people actually give their input. We're always glad to hear about things that people would like to change about our bags, or reasons why they prefer others. I think you actually have to register to vote - which is of course a bit of a deterrent - but if you have the time, go on there and put in your choice for 2009!

*btw, I'm abstaining from voting due to obvious conflicts of interest :)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Bzzzzzzzzzzz !

A little while ago I posted about how much skill R.E.Load as a whole has when it comes to custom graphics and applique. At the time I was missing proper photos from our newest graphics team member, Brie. Although she has been doing this for far less time that Carrie, Gerik, Ellie, Ingrid, or myself, she has been progressing at a very steady rate, and - as is the case with all of our best stitchers - has been developing styles and techniques of her own.

Brie made the above bag as a piece for the Compound Warehaus' November opening, which had a "Nightmare on Elm Street" theme.

Not having seen the flap work beforehand, I was pretty surprised to see the level of color layering and attention to detail on the bag. Not because I didnt expect great work from her; it's just that the artwork represented here is something that we normally dont have that many opportunities to do, since if this had been an actual customer order, the graphics charge would turn most people away. So, most of the time something that might have started with an idea like this would have been filtered down, with several layers of color eliminated, and a lot of detail simplified, in an effort to get the graphic down into a customer price range. But since this was for an art show, Brie had time to go as far as she wanted with the design.

I think one of the most impressive things here is that you really get the feeling of the "hair" on the body of the bee; it LOOKS like fuzz. Although it is a bit hard to translate through a computer screen, the body - as well as the honeycomb - are livened by appropriate texture, which is a style that is very difficult to pull off. You can see how many indivudually-colored sections are in just this part of the bag alone. This takes an extraordinary amount of planning and focus. And I think it speaks very well of the overall design that the graphic, color selection, and technique employed to create the image are all equally compelling.

Check out work from Brie, Carrie, Chika, Ellie, Gerik, Ingrid, Jean, and Ro on our flickr page!

Monday, December 01, 2008

The best blog posting I've ever read

This has nothing to do with bags, but it DOES have to do with music - and thus my music series - and the man who inspired me to start the series in the first place. Arguably the best producer ever to touch an MPC: J Dilla.

I was randomly skimming through the web looking for some new music and I came across this post from Questlove about one of his experiences with the late Detroit producer/mc....check it our here.

I've been putting off making another Dilla bag for the music series, but most likely I'll be making two of em a bit after the new year. One is going to be mine (the one pictured above is mine; I made that particular bag about two and a half years ago), and one will go up for auction, with the proceeds going to the J Dilla Foundation.

Keep posted!

Friday, November 07, 2008


What can I say; we're ecstatic to have this man in office. We made this bag for the Obama Alleycat in DC, which took place on November 1st.

Why We're Just Better Than Everybody Else

You know, we've been doing custom graphics bags for over ten years now. That's a good many years more than most of our competition. And it shows. Personally I don't like to toot my horn too much, but since these bags were made by Gerik and Carrie, respectively, I can technically give them props while keeping my own ego in check.

Here we have a pretty nice bag with a sabertooth tiger on it. Nice enough, you can tell, by this pic....but the true test of an applique stitcher is if their work still looks good as you get closer and closer to the bag. A lot of stitchers can make a what appears to be a nice image, but as you look closely, you can see how chunky and uneven the line work is, and - with enough experience - how flawed their original layout plan is. Layout and determining which layers go in which order is actually as important in applique work as stitching skill itself is. It's not even necessarily something that comes with experience per se; it's just innate in the stitcher's thought process. Yes, as a stitcher encounters more and more different types of images, they get a better feel for the proper technique in a given situation, but its not something that can really be "taught" or will definitely come with time.

Ok, we're a little closer now and still looking lovely.

Some more of the intricacies of the color layering are becoming apparent here.

Ok, so now you can fully see that the teeth and their shaded areas are in fact areas of tapered stitching rather than fabric cutouts. This painterly approach - which is mirrored throughout the body and feet of the lion - is a trademark style for Gerik's work, and allows him to pull off interpretations of detailed artwork far, far closer to the original idea than would be possible if he had to rely strictly on the classic technique of stitching over fabric using a static stitch width. It takes an amazing amount of control and knowledge of the machine to pull off work like this.

Carrie from Fabric Horse worked on this guy a little earlier this week. Basically, the same fundamentals that I spoke about with Gerik's bag apply here. This is, quite simply, work that a lot of other companies could not pull off this well.

Carrie made this bag right before the messenger world championships (which took place in Toronto earlier this fall). While the detail work is not as intense, the amount of color layering and preparation required is substantial. Doing this graphic without the artwork becoming a thick, chunky mess is very difficult.

Sometimes we just gotta let people know: our methods for putting graphics on your bags are NOT capable of being learned overnight. We are constantly working on new and better techniques so we can remain a few steps of the competition. Hopefully you'll agree!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

:: Biz Markie Commission Bag ::

A few months ago I was contacted by a customer in Canada about the possibility of doing a Biz Markie music series bag. I was excited, to say the least, because I absolutely love the music series in general, and understanding peoples' connections to their favorite musicians, I am completely open to fashioning bags of all sorts with inspiration from all genres of music. But I have to admit, I was even more excited on this particular occasion because the artist that they wanted on the bag was Biz Markie. Biz Markie's debut LP "Going Off" was actually the very first cassette tape I personally owned (along with Doug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew), and I instantly remembered being in 8th grade and hearing "Pickin' Boogers" for the first time. The year was '88 (yes I'm old).

Biz was the original clown of hip hop in my mind, and moreover I love the fact that his music references a time when you could listen to songs about simple going to the mall, or going to a party. When a video was basically filming you and your crew, beginning on a stoop and maybe ending in a park. His cut "Nobody Beats the Biz" is a classic no doubt, but especially for NYC kids it was extra nice because it parodied the "Wiz" electronics store chain's commercial jingle.

I can't go on without mentioning that Biz was part of The Juice Crew, a classic group of emcee's and dj's featuring himself, Marley Marl (one of the pioneers of hip hop in radio and production), Craig G, Roxanne Shante, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, Masta Ace, MC Shan, and others. Red Alert's weekly radio show was completely inundated with Juice Crew tracks, and "The Vapors" was maybe one of my favorites. Check out a young Marley and Kane...and also peep TJ Swan's fresh dipped gear. This was the era of suits, chains, Travel Fox, Troop, MCM, and Gucci and Louis Vouitton velour, and Biz represented it well.

The song that made him famous as far as the mainstream goes was "Just a Friend", a single from his sophomore release ("The Biz Never Sleeps") in 1989

Biz's future albums never again really reached the peaks of the first couple, but since then he has switched his focus to dj'ing and is actually extremely successful at it. Not to mention the various appearances on television on everything from kiddie shows (teaching the youngsters how to beat box) to VH1. Biz is definitely a living legend and I'm happy to have a Biz bag out there.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Phils Win; Erase 25+ Year Drought !!

I've lived in Philadelphia since 1992 (after moving here from my hometown of NYC for college), and I can honestly say I have never been in a city where the sports fans are anywhere near as insane and dedicated. I remember when I came to check the city out back in '92....the Phils had just won the pennant and there were literally POLICE OFFICERS going crazy and running around partying. Anyway, for those who are unaware, the City of Brotherly Love has gone over 25 years without a title of any sort in any of the four major sports (no, the Philadelphia Soul arena football team does not count).

That all ended a few days ago. The Phillies won the series and the town promptly exploded into a celebration the likes of which i have not seen since....well, since ever. Take the New Year's day Mummers parade and multiply it by maybe, oh i don't know, about FOUR, and you can get some sense of it. People were pouring out of their houses in South Philly. Kids were running around with homemade banners. Cars were leaning on the horns, with people hanging out of them cheering. Mind you this is what was taking place AWAY from Broad Street.

The above photo was taken on 6th and Greenwich. Sorry, but I only had my phone with me so the pics are all a bit blurry. Anyway, Greenwich is a tiny street and this is about a quarter of the people out on that corner.

Streams of people were converging on Broad Street from all directions. As we neared, the cheering was getting louder and louder; it was evident from blocks away that the scene was going to be ridiculous to say the least.

A parade of vehicles ranging from bikes to pickup trucks slowly rolled their way up Broad, mostly with passengers high-fiving people as they passed. Pretty much the police weren't trying to get involved unless somebody was assaulting someone or damaging property, so people were openly drinking from bottles and dancing around.

I'm not exaggerating when I say my hand was sore the next two days from slapping high fives with so many people, with so much vigor. Seeing kids, adults, and grandparents of all types, all celebrating together, clearly on top of the world, is something that is rarely seen in this city and was quite a welcome change.


Depot Cycle and Recycle Holds it Down

R.E.Load has a huge presence in Japan, and this is due in no small part to the support of Seiya Minato and his store, Depot. We've been working with them for about six or seven years now, and so when we heard that he was starting a brand new bicycle brand we went ahead and made him a new bag to showcase at the Cycle Mode bike expo.

His brand is actually a collaboration with several other small track bike culture shops around Tokyo, and as such is appropriately named "Tomoni", which means "Together" in Japanese. Anyway, we can't wait to see what Tomoni has in store, and of course we'll be spreading photos around as we get them.

Seiya also sent me a very interesting picture of Shin - his shop manager - which I'd like to share with all of you. As Seiya is so fond of saying: "Hahahahahaha!!!!!"

See you in a few months, Shin-san!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Our First Commercial !!

We set out to film something to promote our new Midpacks, which were released about a month ago....this was shot and produced by Dustin Klein from Cadence and follows a bit of a typical day at our production studio in Philadelphia's Chinatown. Yes, both owners of R.E.Load are still directly involved in making bags, and we make them every day just for you guys (with a lot of help from the rest of our wonderful crew, of course). Set to the music of the best producer to ever touch an MPC: J Dilla (RIP). Track title is "Two Can Win".

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Billie Holiday Music Tribute Bag

Truth be told, this bag has been finished for a few weeks, but I've been putting off this posting for fear of doing a disservice to Holiday's legacy (or her other fans)...this is actually the first bag in my series that features an artist from an era completely prior to my lifetime. I grew up on Rakim, was around for all of Dilla and DOOM's releases, managed to catch most of Hancock's forays into fusion and beyond, and was even able to appreciate the godfather of soul in his later days. But Holiday - "Lady Day" - that seems like an entirely different realm to me. And while I absolutely love her voice and appreciate her story, I honestly feel that she deserves a better tribute than "I love this song, I remember listening to this album, etc." in this case I'm simply going to post a few songs read all about her from a more qualified source, check this out

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Sprint/Dash Models Available Now!!!

The Sprint and Dash models are our official entry into the "lightweight" messenger bag department. Pack cloth liners allow these bags to weigh in at a mere 1.75 lbs, and furthermore they can be packed up in minimal space as an "extra" bag for certain situations.

The Sprinter comes in at 16"w x 14"h x 7"d, while the Dash is 16"w x 12"h x 5.5"d. PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT THESE DIMENSIONS ARE TAKEN AT THE BASE OF THE BAG!!! Basically this is us treating the bag as a complete "box"; if we were to take the effective dimension of the flap width for an empty bag, the Sprinter would be 23" wide, while the Dash would be 21" wide.

The Sprint/Dash bags, while water-resistant, are NOT weatherproof like our other models. These bags are made primarily for two purposes:
1) for use as a secondary bag for those who already have big bags to use for messengering or whatever, and simply need a light comfortable bag for more "normal" use.
2) for use by individuals who are looking for a light, simple bag and won't necessarily be riding around in the rain for hours when the weather turns rough.

These bags are available right now, in over a dozen color ways, in the collections pages of our site!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

MF Doom Music Tribute Bag

Technically the first time I really heard MF DOOM (aka Daniel Dumile), it was in conjunction with another NYC group called 3rd Bass. His somewhat playful lyrics in 1989's "Gas Face" were followed up by "Peachfuzz", which was my introduction to the group KMD, consisting of DOOM (then known as Zev Love X), his brother Subroc, and a few revolving third members. After releasing a solid debut album in 1991, KMD was essentially shelved prior to their next release due to controversial cover art that their label would not approve. After a series of lengthy delays, the album was once again in production when in 1993, Subroc was tragically killed by an automobile. This pretty much marked the end of KMD.

To be completely honest, during the time when KMD's first album was released, I really wasn't checking for it. So, when i heard MF DOOM's 1999 debut "Doomsday" album, I was shocked when my friend told me "Yo, that's that dude from KMD". More shocking, however, was how gritty the production was and how crazy the rhyme patterns were. DOOM was taking things to a level I hadn't really heard before; taking chunks of stanza's and rhyming them together in an almost drunken, slurred flow that just sounded....perfect. Taken from from "Greenbacks":

It's funny how significance make a difference
Notice parables of three in every other inference
For instance
who wanna battle? On the real?
Choose your weapon: microphones, beats, or the wheels of steel

The thing is, he had this completely unique flow, which was paired with the most bargain-basement-sounding samples and drums, but the combination was just ridiculous. I mean, my friends and I used to literally make fun of how busted the drums were. But still, they were perfect in conjunction with the rest of the track.He sampled Sade for the album's title track. He sampled SCOOBY DOO (!!!) for "Hey!". He sampled Steely Dan for "Gas Drawls". The production was infectious. He rhymed slow. He rhymed quick. Literally - in a track titled "Tick, Tick...". And he wore a metal Doctor Doom mask while doing it(ok well technically its the mask from "Gladiator", but, you know). He was out of shape, and tended to show up at shows in a dirty wife beater with his wife next to the stage. He was losing his hair. At a time when Diddy seemed to be taking over hip hop, and artists were making huge videos with 80,000 lights and 50 dancers all wearing the same color, here comes this album that sounded like he might have made it in the bathroom. I had "Operation Doomsday" on tape, and I think I actually popped a tape and had to get it re-dubbed from a friend, I played it so much.

So pretty much DOOM became part of a relatively short list of artists where I would buy a new release completely unheard, knowing that it would be good. And he has not disappointed to this very day. Spreading across a series of aliases, he has released work as DOOM, King Gheedorah, Viktor Vaughn (which actually I'm proud to say was partially recorded in Space 1026 in Philly, our first real production studio location and home of King Honey aka Max Lawrence), and one half of Madvillain (along with famed producer Madlib), as well as putting out about ten complete volumes of his own instrumentals and "special blends" (existing songs by other artists remixed over his own tracks). There's a complete re-working of Nas's Nastrodamus album entitled "Nastradoomus" (although as far as i know DOOM has nothing to do with this, it still made an album I had pretty much shelved into a new album worthy of listens).

Probably the best known of his works was his collaboration with the Stones Throw Records mainstay - the prolific Madlib- entitled "Madvillain". This album saw a lyricist at the peak of his craft, coupled with one of the hottest indy hip hop producers around, their resulting LP stayed in rotation worldwide for quite some time. I hadn't originally planned to use the cover as the template for this tribute bag, but as I scoured print and the internet for photos, it became increasingly evident that this would be one of the best representations possible. His mask is the most recognizable thing about him, and the dark, brooding setting (the bottom half of the mask is almost hidden) fits in well with the mood set in much of his music.

Without going too far with this, let me just say that DOOM remains one of my favorite lyricists of all time, and is actually one of the few people I'll still shell out a decent amount of money for to see at a show.Recently Madlib released a reworked version of the "Madvillain" album (aptly titled "Madvillainy 2: the Madlib Remixes) with completely new a testament to the longevity of DOOM's verses, the thing sounds fresh still. Snippets such as this and the Dilla Ghost Doom "Sniper Elite" single (DOOM completely destroys the late great Dilla's "Anti-American Graffiti" instrumental) have helped quell the anxiety for new material from the masked one, but more is always appreciated.....

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

:: Win Our Newest Bag Model !! ::

We're hosting a contest to name the newest model in the R.E.Load family! In response to the most frequently-asked questions we've faced over the past few years: "Can you make my bag with one of those straps with the buckle on 'em like (fill in other messenger bag company)?" and "I love your bags but they're heavy!", we are proud to introduce this sparkling new model.

Featuring pack cloth liners, a streamlined pocket construction, and a new split-strap design, this bag is the lightest thing to come out of R.E.Load since....well, really, since anything other than small accessories. The thing is crazy light. And while it might not necessarily be the end-all for all users*, it is an AWESOME bag for those who don't necessarily need to ride through rain, sleet, and snow and carry copy boxes while they do it. If you like organizational simplicity and tend to duck for cover when the sky turns black, this bag is for you.

Aside from this type of end user, there is a second demographic that this bag is designed for: people who already have a heavy-duty messenger bag that they use for work, commuting, etc., and just want a second, smaller bag for weekend outings, going to the store, whatever. Personally, this is where i think this bag shines. Just because you need a full-on Deluxe to messenger five days a week doesn't necessarily mean you want to be carrying that same Deluxe when you go to meet some friends at a barbeque.

In any case, this is what we've got planed for our new model, and furthermore, we're putting it out in two sizes: a large version that comes in a little bit under the dimensions of the current Civilian, and a small version that's roughly equivalent to the current Small Civilian, but with slight changes to the porportions.

What does this all mean to you? Well, although we have a few names in mind, we realize that we're still not in agreement of a really good name. Maybe you guys and girls out there can come up with something better! So, we're holding a contest - effective immediately - to see who can come up with some names for these brand new models.


- Email all entries to You can submit as many names as you want, and this can be done in one email. Don't forget that there are small and large versions! If you are submitting them for one or both, make it clear which version(s) you are submitting for. Be sure to include your full name, daytime phone #, and shipping address (This is strictly for prize distribution purposes and will not be used for any type of spam/mailing lists, we swear!). if you are the type to enjoy seeing your picture on websites, go ahead and attach a pic! If you win, we will run a pic along with your name!
- The contest is running up until 10am EST on Monday, September 8th. All submissions must be received by that time to be considered for contest entry.
- We will be announcing the winner(s) on our website, etc. by Friday, September 12th. If you are a winner, we will be contacting you directly to let you know.
- If your bag name is chosen as a winner, we will send you a version of the bag (color scheme is up to our own discretion, sorry) that you named absolutely free of charge! This applies to international as well as domestic contestants, so lets make this worldwide, shall we?
- R.E.Load employees and their family members are unfortunately exempt from this contest. You can make your own bags, guys......

ok people, lets do this!

*there IS a reason our other models are heavy; in using pack cloth as opposed to vinyl-coated nylon you are getting a "water resistant" bag, NOT a "weatherproof" bag. Water resistant is defined as: "(of a fabric or garment) having a finish that resists the absorption of water." Let me tell you right now: if you get caught in a rainstorm using these new bags, your cargo will get damp. Basically, the water resistance of these - while significantly superior - is closest to that of most "mainstream" knapsacks (think Jansport, EastPak, etc.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Rolling Canvas Art Collective

Fuji Bicycles presents The Rolling Canvas Art Collective with Jinxed Philadelphia, and R.E.Load Baggage.

Created to celebrate the union of the art and urban bicycle cultures, the Rolling Canvas Art Collective will highlight and encourage the use of bicycles as a means of artistic expression.

These twenty-plus artists will recreate basic, fixed gear bicycles into one-of-a-kind representations of their creative methods ranging from sculpture and metal work, to street art and paint. The art installations will be auctioned off to the public, with each artist donating a portion of the proceeds to Neighborhood Bike Works of Philadelphia. One-of-a-kind artist bags made by R.E.Load Baggage will also be on display and for sale with a portion benefiting the Philadelphia Neighborhood Bike Works.

A public gallery opening and auction will be held on Friday night, August 1st, 7:00 PM at Media Bureau Gallery in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia. The exhibit is open to the public through the end of August.

A public online auction will begin on Monday, August 4th at 12 PM EST and run through Thursday, August 14th at 12 PM EST. Photos of the pieces and auction links will be posted online as they become available.

Featured Artists
Shane Jessup
Tim Diet
Michael Isaac Bushkin
Chris Yormick
Carrie Collins
Tristan Eaton
Leanne Biank
Adam Wallacavage
Paul Romano
Emily Glaubinger
Jake Henry
Ben Woodward
Joy LessPosh
Awesome Dudes Printing
Acid USA custom motorcycle painting
Greg "SP One" Lamarche
Eleanor Grosch
Darrin Rowland
Roland Burns
Ellie Lum
Gerik Forston
Dustin Klein
Miriam Singer

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby

Check out some VIMBY footage taken by Andrew Watson. This is the second year for this event and it looks to be growing by leaps and bounds!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Rakim - Music Tribute Series Bag #4

Rakim. The invincible microphone fiend. Regarded by some as the best lyricist ever to bless a mic. As part of the classic duo "Eric B. and Rakim", he most certainly helped revolutionize the rhyme game with the debut album "Paid in Full". Starting heavy right off the bat with all-time hit "I Ain't No Joke", and continuing with songs including "My Melody", the title track "Paid in Full", and "Move the Crowd", right there you have a grouping that includes some of the best hip hop songs ever put to wax.

It was the late 80's and I was in junior high, growing up in New York. Buying tapes (yes, audio cassettes; what) at The Wiz on 96th and Broadway; stuff like Biz Markie's "Going Off" and Doug E. Fresh's "Greatest Entertainer". Listening to DJ Red Alert spin on WBLS. Video Music Box with Ralph McDaniels. Rakim is right smack in the middle of this beautiful era of hip hop music. I remember watching videos and seeing Eric B. and Rakim with their ever-present chains and rings. Listening to Rakim's deep and rough voice. Eric always all stoic in the background, moving slowly.

Their follow up album - aptly titled "Follow the Leader" - boasts one of the most recognizable beats ever: "Microphone Fiend". It takes about 0.2 seconds of hearing those bells drop in to identify it. Anyway, this is also where Rakim lays down some of the most intense battle rhymes ever heard. Although for most, the remainder of the album might be a bit forgettable (I happen to love tracks like "To the Listeners" and "The R", but I doubt this is too common), between "Microphone Fiend" and the title track, you still have more than enough classic material.

The third Album, "Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em", continued with singles "The Ghetto", "Mahogany", and of course another title track.

Rakim ushered in a new breed of rhymers with his complex patterns and bold storytelling. Looking back, I'm not quite sure if I fully realized this at the time, but he was at least a decade ahead of most of his peers. For this tribute bag, I took a photo from this interview and surrounded him with money signs. Similar to the dollar bills that rained down behind him and Eric B. on their debut album cover.

Herbie Hancock - Music Tribute Series Bag #3

It's definitely been more than a minute since my last addition to this series, so I'm looking to gain some ground back by dropping two gems this month. The first is a tribute to one of my favorite jazz musicians of all time: Herbie Hancock.

Hancock came onto the scene as a member of the legendary Miles Davis' crew in the early sixties. While his record "Maiden Voyage" is one of his best known early works, one of my personal favorites is "Inventions and Dimensions", a much more experimental collection of songs that team Herbie up with Willie Bobo. The styles range across jazz and bossa nova. Hancock worked with several Blue Note musicians and continued on with Davis for many years, playing keyboards on classics such as "In a Silent Way" and "On the Corner".

Most know Hancock for his 1983 hit "Rockit", which was full of synthesizers, crazy sounds, and record scratches. While it is unfortunate that for some, this is the only connection to a lifetime of amazing work, it still stands as a decent - albeit very narrow - representation of his overall style. During the seventies, he helped revolutionize jazz fusion with his growing arsenal of funk synths. "Headhunters" and "Man Child" are both amazing in their own rights, but additionally have been sampled and used for some of the best hip hop to come out of the 90's era. I think Redman and Rockwilder must have sampled just about every song on "Man Child" for Red's debut album ("Whut? Thee Album") and follow-up ("Dare iz a Darkside"). 1976's "Secrets" is another oft-missed classic, and that record cover is actually the image i had hoped to use for the bag graphics. Unfortunately, the photo was too dark, but his huge afro and mutton chops are definitely from my favorite era in his musical timeline.

Although I can't honestly say Hancock's work in the 90's and beyond ranks among my favorites, his boatload of consistently amazing records and collaborations during the thirty years prior places him near the top of my list of favorites. I can listen to his albums on loop for an entire weekend. Check out a full discography here

Friday, May 02, 2008

Lost at Sea

Check out a piece that Lost at Sea did on our ten years in the biz!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April Fools Rewind

We're back to normal at this point, but man was the beginning of April hectic! I went to Japan for a few weeks in late March, and returned with only a week to go until the Fun Ride. I quickly gave up any preconceived ideas of actually recovering from jet lag, and continued with the preparations. Seiya and a crew from Depot showed up on Thursday, and along with the arrival or Ellie and Dustin from Seattle (Dustin was throwing the Fast Friday event on, um...Friday), the time for work was drawing to a close.

Luckily, the event went off without any trouble, and about 350 participants wove their way around the city doing random stupid things before arriving at the packed finish at Tattooed Mom's. When it was all said and done, Baba from Philly (by way of Yokohama, Japan) won as the best overall fun rider. Big thanks to all of our sponsors, Mom's, and of course all of our amazing volunteers.

Check out some photos on our flickr page!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Macaframa x R.E. Load x Cadence

Macaframa is busy working on their new video. Check out the trailer on their site! R.E. Load is helping them out. We like what they're doing.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Sweet Review From !!

Check out this review of our now-defunct backpack at stuff to hear!

Look for a new series of two-strap bags (featuring our Backpack, Midpack, and Minipack models in all their re-designed glory) later this summer!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

New Philly Store Hours

Our Philadelphia flagship store is going to be operating under a new schedule, effective immediately:

Monday: Closed
Tuesday: Appointment only*
Wednesday: Appointment only*
Thursday: 11-6
Friday: 11-6
Saturday: 12-6
Sunday: Closed

The basic premise is that this way we will be able to focus even more on designing and making new products and our existing orders. We will still of course be answering the phone on tuesdays and wednesdays. So, really, this only affects a small percentage of our Philly customers. For everybody else, all that will happen is that you'll notice we have a LOT more new and amazing things than ever before!

* Appointments can be set up for any time between noon and 7pm on tuesdays and wednesdays, but must be made with at least 24 hours notice. Please call 215-922-2018 if you need to set one up!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Philadelphia Pedal Cooperative

The Pedal Co-Op is a worker-run organization that offers environmentally friendly services to local businesses in Philadelphia such at recycling-by-bicycle. We currently use trailers that are attached to bicycles to transport compost to local gardens, recyclables to Blue Mountain Recycle (only single stream recycling center in Philadelphia), and the trash to the waste management facilities. The Pedal Co-Op’s aspiration is to diminish the caustic environmental impact that is threaded into the everyday modern life. We are dedicated to an ethical and sound business practice which promotes the fair and cooperative business ideology. Furthermore, we encourage the idea of a sustainable lifestyle.

Check out their website

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

TEN: The official R.E.Load Ten-year anniversary party!!!

Come out and celebrate with us! And make sure to bring your R.E.Load bag; we'll be setting up a photo booth for pictures!

Friday, March 7th
Diplo's Mad Decent Mausoleum
531 North 12th st
Featuring Rock Tits, Immediate, and Strawberry Mansion on the wheels of steel
Video by Stemspot
Photography by Julius Reeves
9pm - 2am
$5 entry
Sponsored by R.E.Load, Philadelphia Brewing Company, Bicycle Revolutions, Bicycle Therapy, Via Bikes, Monster Energy Drinks, Depot Cycle and Recycle, and Cadence clothing.

We'll be doing a raffle for some of our brand new 10th Anniversary bags, as well as a bunch of general giveaways throughout the night. In other words, for a couple extra bucks you can win huge prizes!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

8th Annual R.E.Load April Fools Fun Ride !!!

Ok, y''s about that time of year again. The annual April Fool's Fun Ride - one of the largest and most fun-packed events of the year - is coming back to Philly for it's eighth straight iteration. It's hard to think of ways to improve this massive bike fest; last year drew a record 350+ riders. Still, if you don't think ahead, you get left we've got some new plans and a whole lotta prizes in store for this year.

It's going to go down on Saturday, April 12th. We're still ironing out some of the details, but most likely we'll be doing "day of" registration at R.E.load headquarters, starting at 1pm, with the race going off at 3pm at an undisclosed location.

This year we will be bringing back all of our wonderful, long-time sponsors, including: Pabst, Kryptonite, Outlaw Print co., Fabric Horse, Level, Cadence, Built in Pittsburgh, and Firehouse Bikes. We're in the midst of securing a brand new frame or two from a well-known local company, and Ro might just be giving away one of his older keirin frames as well. Not to mention the fact that, as the main event sponsor, R.E.Load will be giving away an amount of bags and accessories that would usually be reserved for only the largest of championship races.

That's not all, though! We're also working on a tie-in with Pabst, which, if everything goes as planned, will result in the weekend doubling as the release party for a brand new Pabst x R.E.Load bag! We'll be giving away a couple of these - the very first ones that will be released - at the awards ceremony, assuming the project goes through.

"Daaamn....that sounds like a great weekend!" Yeah. But wait, wouldn't it be great if there was something to do on that Sunday after the race? Something really really special, that usually doesn't happen around here? turns out, there is. I don't want to give away too much of it right now until the final details are worked out, but rest assured, it's gonna be something on the same level as the April Fools Ride itself. People are definitely going to want to come out for Sunday as well. More on that later...

So, as far as the race: for the first time ever, we will be doing pre-registration. This is a no-brainer, given the general chaos that ensued at last year's registration. So, if you are planning on racing - and you KNOW you are - then do yourself and everybody involved a favor. Pre-register. That way, you get a discounted entry fee, you are GUARANTEED a free, full-color event tee shirt (in your preferred size, even!), and you can avoid waiting an hour to sign up for the event. All you have to do is go sign up on the website, and we'll have a nifty rider package all ready for you to pick up on the day of the event. Simple! To pre-register, click here. Be forewarned: if you do not pre-register by April 2nd, you will have to pay $10 to enter the race (instead of $5). You will not be guaranteed a tee shirt...and if you do get one, you might have to take a size large when you're really a size small. You will have to wait on a very long line for a very long time before the event. You will also have to deal with our registration volunteers, who will be hating on you for not registering online and making them do extra work on the day of the event. To make a long story short, you will lose, lose, lose. So please, for the love of god, register early.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Introducing: Jean Lee

Jean is one of the most talented & hardworking people I've ever worked beside. She's worked at R.E. Load since winter of 2005 as a bag stitcher & then moved onto design & stitch applique graphics, coming up with really inventive designs which she never fails to impress us with.
Jean was born in Taipei, Taiwan in 1982, then move to Eugene, at the age of 8. She speaks 4 languages (Taiwanese, Mandarin, Japanese, and English) . Damn. I guess that explains her double-major in Industrial Design & Japanese Linguistics that she received at the University of Washington.
How did I find Jean Lee? She joined up forces with business partner & fellow R.E. Load artist, Chika Eustace. They co-own Chikabird Inc. , which is a design medium that they use to produce RandL wallets & accessories made out of the scraps of R.E. Load Bags! They are also currently designing a new line of wallets & t-shirts.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Friday, February 08, 2008

Ten Years in the Game....

Ten years. One decade. That's certainly a long time! Well, we're awfully proud to be able to say that R.E.load is now ten years old! When we made our first bags, we weren't even really planning on starting a company. Slowly but surely, as we got more and more requests to make bags for our fellow Philly messengers, we realized that we might actually be at the beginning of something real. The above picture was taken from our first actual photo shoot, which took place in the winter of 1999. At that point, believe it or not, we were just starting to get into the graphics element of customization.

Once we figured out what we wanted to do as far as the bags, there were two lingering questions. What do we call the company? And what should our logo be? The answer to the first question came through a series of conversations between Ellie, myself, and a number of friends. We wanted a name that was also descriptive of the function of the bags themselves. What do we use them for? What do we do all day with them? At the time we were both of consciousness led from making deliveries to dropping/picking up to....LOAD And RELOAD!!! And what a coincidence that the first two letter in "reload" are the first initials of the two founders: Roland and Ellie. Anyway, as far as the second concern - the logo - our friend and dispatcher (Marcus Tenaglia) came up with the above design, which was silkscreened onto all of our bags for a while. If you still have one of these, hang on to it...the only existing bags that are older than these are the ones we did with hand-screened pieces of liner scraps sewn onto the flaps.

We've moved around quite a bit in our lifetime...all in all, R.E.Load has existed in eleven different locations between Philadelphia, Washington state, and San Francisco. Kinda crazy. Anyway, this is where it all started....above is the little spare room in 19XX Green st. where our first bags were made. The patterns were made from cardboard cut out of the sides of bike boxes. We'd buy a couple of yards of materials at a time, based on our current orders. What you see in that picture represents the entirety of R.E.Load's raw goods at the time.

This was our first flyer...we only made one size, which was pretty close to our current Courier model. And we boasted amazing custom options like color choices for the bases and flaps :)

We spent our first couple of years sourcing materials and expanding on our basic bag design. Slowly we also began to get into the more creative side of the bags, working on applique and alternative materials. Our big break came in 2000, when the CMWC - which was slated to be held in Boston, but had to be re-worked due to conflict with the municipality (the short story is basically the city of Boston was anti-messenger) - was moved to Philly. The Boston organizers came down with only a few months left, and together with the Philadelphia Bicycle Messenger Association (which we also had a hand in creating along with several other individuals, most notably Wendy Fallin, who was the main component) we threw the biggest messenger event of the year. A slew of couriers from all over the globe flocked to our city and bought bags, which made their way back across the globe and without a doubt sparked interest in R.E.Load that otherwise would have taken years to develop had things gone any other way.

This was our first website. As was (and for the most part, still is) the case with our design and promotion, we have been lucky to have friends and family with loads of talent and a profound desire to help us out. T-shirts, business cards, catalogs, and all kinds of promotions have been conducted by the people that believe in us. This site was created by my sister.

Our second website has been temporarily placed back up on the internet just so you can see where we were in 1999. Check it out here.

Needless to say, we've gone through countless changes in the handful of years that followed. Ellie moved back out to her native west coast, yet we remained committed to maintaining R.E.Load as a unified, bi-coastal operation. We continued to press forward and acquired newer and stronger materials whenever possible. We worked and worked on our applique skills until we could truly call ourselves masters, and continue to refine our techniques...something that has been extremely critical, since we basically, unwittingly, have set a standard that now essentially requires any new messenger bag company to offer similar level of customization to ours. So, in order to remain ahead of the curve, we have to keep building on our years of extra experience.

If you took a second to check out the old website, you might have noticed that there's one glaring difference between our current bags and our originals. Back in 1998, when we started all of this, we made our bags with heavy duty canvas exteriors. A lot of this was in tribute to Globe Canvas and their original DeMartini messenger bags. Canvas remained our material of choice until about 2001, when when for a number of reasons, we decided to switch to cordura. Even at that early time in our company, we were used to making upgrades when we found better materials and hardware. But this wasn't so much of an upgrade as a “switch”. Canvas was soft and capable of breaking in in a way that no synthetic ever could. Cordura was lighter (especially in the rain!), much better against abrasion, and came in exponentially more colors. In the end, we chose cordura, but canvas will always and forever have a place in our hearts.

So when we started talking about making a special run of bags for our tenth anniversary, it was pretty much a no-brainer that the best way to honor our heritage would be to reintroduce a limited line of canvas bags. While we were at it, we decided to bring back another small detail that has been sorely missed by many: our original 2.5” logo. In a special silver color way, no less! Along with orange stitching – which used to be the only color choice; we wanted to use contrast stitching at all times to showcase the fact that we weren't afraid let people see how well the bags were stitched – double outside pockets, a messenger pad, and a ballistic base, the end result is a timeless classic that mixes the best of the old with the best of the new. In other words, the perfect symbol of ten years of R.E.Load.

We sincerely appreciate all of the people who have made our amazing journey possible, and hope that these special bags will still be as classic as ever when year number twenty rolls around. Our tenth anniversary limited run will be available in March, and will consist of Small Civilian, Civilian, and Deluxe models with all-black exteriors and model-specific liner colors. For more information, please visit our website.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008