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'all...it'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 behind...so 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? Well...it 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.

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 messengers....stream 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.