My Big Orange Bike; the Raleigh Retroglide

If you have been following my blog for awhile now you will know that last summer I suffered a strange shoulder injury that basically debilitated me. I was unable to do much of anything; possibly the worst part was that I could not ride my bicycle nor my motorcycle.

I could no longer bear any weight on my arms or shoulders. No more riding my beloved Kona mountain bike. No more riding my motorcycle.

I love riding a bicycle. I love the feeling of rolling along with the wind whistling by me.

Raleigh Retroglide

Seeing as I am still unable to bear any weight on my shoulders, I decided to get a different style of bike than my mountain bike; a bike that I can sit upright on and not have to ride while putting weight on my shoulders.

I bought a cruiser!! I call it my Raleigh Retroglide my Big Orange Cruiser.

Buying a new bike is an interesting experience these days. Of course before I bought a new bike I went online and did a bunch of research. I researched bicycle manufacturers, bicycle shops, and styles of bikes.

The bike manufacturer I settle on was Raleigh. And the style of bike I settled on was Raleigh’s Retroglide 7.

Next, decide which shop to purchase from. I did the thing where you can find a shop from the Raleigh webpage and narrowed it down to a couple shops – North Van, Langley, and East Vancouver.

Raleigh Retroglide

Once I had narrowed my search to three shops I looked at the shops’ Facebook pages. Any shop that allows customers to post comments and reviews on their Facebook page is doing something right in my opinion. And the comments on the Bikes For All FB page were overwhelmingly positive, nay, they were gushing with praise for the shop’s approach to business!

Off I went on a Sunday afternoon to visit Bikes for All on East 7th Ave in Vancouver.

Raleigh Retroglide

When I got to the shop I talked to sales people and discussed my situation. They listened to me and then made suggestions of a couple of other bike styles. They really made sure I was fully aware of what I was talking about!

The fact is, a Cruiser, a bike like the Raleigh Retroglide is a very unique ride. It is nothing like a mountain bike. And the staff at Bikes For All know their bikes and they know that a not everybody is going to like the ride of a Cruiser.

They pulled out a Hybrid bike and let me ride it around the neighbourhood. They pulled out a less-extreme cruiser style bike and let me ride it around the neighbourhood. They pulled out the Raleigh Retroglide 7 and let me ride it around the neighbourhood.

And you know, I liked the feeling of the hybrid. I liked the feeling of the other cruiser style bike. But I LOVED the feeling of the Raleigh Retroglide 7!!

Raleigh Retroglide

So I bought the Raleigh Retroglide 7 – my Big Orange Cruiser!!

And for the record, I have written this blog post with absolutely no compensation of any kind from Bikes For All.

 

 

 

 

 

The Joys of Online Shopping

As I have written about before, our household has embraced online shopping. When the kidlets need new swim suits, it is off to Amazon dot com. Once we bought a half wheel of parmigiano regianno from Amazon – yes, the Canada Post dude carried 20 lbs of parmesan cheese up the walk to our front door.

Costco is another retailer who has a fabulous online shopping experience. What have I bought from online shopping at Costco? Well, a thousand live ladybugs is one thing. And a massive bucket of laundry soap – why would I carry a 50 pound bucket of soap home when Costco will deliver it for free?

I have also previously confessed my passion for online shopping for handcrafted leather and waxed canvas bags and briefcases.

You can’t really go wrong with buying leather bags and briefcases online, especially if you are buying top quality gear such as Marlondo Leather, Bexar Goods, or Koch Leathers. That is in part because they have such great webpages or Facebook pages to communicate with you about their products, but also because there is a significant secondary market for leather briefcases. Who knew, right?

Sofa
Sofa

Another item that is great for online shopping is modern furniture. You can quickly and easily look at what brands and what styles of furniture the retailer has before going into the store and doing the real-life test of the furniture.

Once in store you can lounge on the couches and sit on the chairs. You can even lay down on the beds in store and fall asleep! You can’t do that when you are shopping online.

However, the fact is, not everything is well suited for online shopping. I spend more time returning shoes to the post office than my wife actually spends wearing shoes she purchases online.

If I ask why she doesn’t just buy “the right size” the first time I get that withering look. Apparently there is a unique language dedicated to shoe manufacturers – some fit “according to size” while others “fit large”. And others? Yes, some “fit small”.

The bottom line, we will continue to shop online for all sorts of things including leather bags, swim suits, and ladybugs. And yes, much to my chagrin, my wife will continue her online shopping for shoes.

 

Doing the Laundry … Or Not

I’ve got a confession to make – I do not wash my pants. I’ve got a closet full of dungarees (I love that word! It is so much more cool than “jeans”) and I rarely ever wash them.

Dungarees
Dungarees

That’s correct, I rarely ever wash my jeans.

Sure I have my “work jeans” for when I am going to be rolling around under the car or if I am doing yard work where I will get particularly dirty. My Carhartt bibs serve me well in that environment.

I also have a pair of Levi 501s that I call my “weekenders”. Those are the jeans I wear on Saturday and Sundays for hacking around the neighborhood with my family.

Last weekend I washed those jeans after 18 or 20 months of weekend wear. They had been soaked previously; that was when I first got them and wore them from wet until they dried on my body (that is not as uncomfortable a process as some imagine). However, last weekend was the first full cold water machine-wash that they have received.

As for my other jeans – the ones pictured hanging in my closet – most of them have ever been washed.

On Monday morning or Sunday evening I choose the pair of jeans I will wear for the coming week. I have nine pair (and another pair on their way) that I rotate through.

If I get a little spill on my jeans I will spot clean them. However, most of these jeans, other than the dark grey, the light grey, or the khaki twills, have never been inside a washing machine.

And the most amazing thing? You can’t tell that they have never been washed!! They do not look dirty and they certainly do not smell.

I did say that I have a new pair on the way. They are a pair of super heavy weight (16 ounce denim) dungarees from my friends at Gustin that I purchased before the Canadian dollar plunged in value next to the US dollar. I will post more about them once they arrive later this week.

Until then, keep on not washing your jeans!!

 

 

Selvedge Denim – What Is It?

Over the next few days I will be taking some time off to be with family and friends so I will not be posting as much about my adventures and such. Instead I will be sharing some really interesting readings from around the interweb.

Today’s reading is about selvedge denim – just what is selvedge denim? Read on to learn more –

Selvedge Denim
Gustin Button Fly

If you have even a passing interest in raw denim, you’ve probably heard the word Selvedge more than a few times. No, it doesn’t refer to someone who vends lettuce, selvedge refers to the way a textile has been woven.

You can spot selvedge denim by the tell-tale coloured lines that often run along the outseam of a pair of jeans, but what exactly does that mean?

To read more about selvedge denim, visit Heddels website where there is everything wonderful and amazing about denim and more.

My Crushed Leather Company Carry – Follow Up

As I said I would, I have now filmed a follow-up video review of the Crushed Leather Company Carry.

In this video I describe how during the making of this bag they could taper the nylon webbing that is used inside the shoulder strap and continues around the body of the bag.

After doing some research into the use of nylon webbing I have since learned that it is not possible to cut webbing without losing the desired structural integrity that the webbing provides. So, my suggestion in the video really doesn’t work.

Disclosure: The folks at the Crushed Leather Company sent this bag to me with the request that I return it to them once I have completed my review and I will be honouring that request. There was no financial or other form of compensation paid to me for this review and as always, editorial control of my blog remains with me. 

The Crushed Leather Company Carry

The folks behind the Crushed Leather Company sent me one of their bags to do a video review of and, well, I did.

I will likely be doing a follow-up video even though this video is a bit over 13 minutes long.

I have been mulling over my thoughts of the Carry since doing the review and I may add some more of my thoughts to another follow-up video of the Crushed Leather Company Carry.

Disclosure: the folks at Crushed Leather Company sent this bag to me so I could do a review of it with the understanding that I will be returning it to them within 15 days of receiving it. No financial or other incentive was offered to me for this review.

The Bond & Knight Giveaway

Some time ago I did a YouTube video review of a couple Bond & Knight wallets, this origami-style Passport wallet included. Now, as I promised in my YouTube video, I am giving away this beautiful wallet!


A little review about this wallet – in short, it is gorgeous. Ultra-precise cuts and folds with NO stitching! It is made in England from one piece of Italian leather and is based on a design from the 1940s with creative folds and tucks giving it a very slim appearance and feel.


Other than the bi-fold wallet that I purchased from A Simple Leather Belt Co, a wallet made from English Bridle leather, I have not yet held a wallet with such fine and beautiful construction as this Bond & Knight Passport Wallet.

All that being said, seeing as this wallet was sent to me to do a review of, and I have now done so, I would like to pass this gem of a wallet on to one of my readers. Perhaps to you?

To enter this giveaway of a Bond & Knight Passport Wallet, in the comment section of this blog post

  • write a comment with the type of wallet you are carrying now
  • AND a whole number between one (1) and two hundred (200).

The Fine Print –

If two people enter with the same number, and that number is the winner, the first person to have entered will be the winner.

If there is no exact match, the next closest number, higher or lower, will be the winner.

I will use a random number generator to find the winning number.

One entry per email address please.

This giveaway closes at 6pm PST on Friday, November 6th 2015.

The winner of the wallet is required to pay for the cost of shipping the wallet in its pretty little box to their mailing address.

That is it! Play fair, have fun and good luck!

Bond & Knight Origami-Style Wallets

Some time ago the folks at Bond & Knight, independent British leather designers specialising in handmade, bespoke leathergoods sent me a couple beautiful leather wallets to have a look at.

I really liked the quality of the leather and the very unique craftsmanship that went into creating these wallets so I did a video review to share with you my observations about these wallets.

I will be arranging a giveaway of these Bond & Knight wallets in the coming days so stay tuned or even better, click on that little “Follow” thingy that pops up in the lower right-hand corner of the screen so that you can get an email from me with any new blog posts that I write.

Disclosure: Bond & Knight provided NO financial incentive or other reward for this blog post and as always, editorial control remains with me.

MiBelle Custom Leatherworx

Wayne Higgins, the very creative owner/operator of MiBelle Custom Leatherworx (based in Dartmouth Nova Scotia!) stopped in to see me while he was on a cross-Canada tour.


After visiting with me for some time he left me with a couple very lovely wallets and a belt. One of the wallets is a 4 slot vertical card wallet – made of kangaroo leather. Kangaroo leather is one of the strongest leathers available to work with and yet the wallet he made is incredibly soft and almost waxy to the touch. Very cool.


Another plus to the kangaroo leather wallet is the very rich leather scent.

The main outside piece of leather is quite thick and the inner leather used for the card slots is a thinner leather making it have a substantial feel to it while keeping a relatively thin profile.

Some have commented on the size of the logo on the outside front of the wallet. It is larger than I like but because it is burned into the leather it is not obtrusive nor too obvious.

Something I really admire about Wayne’s work is the stitching he does. On this wallet I had to search with a magnifying glass to see where he started and finished his stitching. It is, simply put, top quality stitching.


The same things apply to the Horween Leather Passport holder Wayne gave me – perfect stitching, perfect edging, and a wonderfully waxy feeling leather.

Simply put, Wayne Higgins at MiBelle Custom Leatherworx makes wonderful little wallets. And, stay tuned – I will be organizing a giveaway of the Horween Leather Passport wallet very soon!!

Bexar Goods Porter Satchel Follow Up Video

After looking back at the video review of the Bexar Goods Porter Satchel that I recently completed, I realized that I had not talked about how much the bag will hold. So I filmed a follow up review to discuss that. Here it is –