Outside Business Journal

Black-owned outdoor business spotlight: R.E.Load

This Philadelphia-based company produces high-quality handmade bags for cyclists


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In honor of Black History Month, we’re spotlighting one Black-owned outdoor business per day.

Owners: Roland Burns and Ellie Lum

Year founded: 1998

What R.E.Load makes

Roland Burns and Ellie Lum launched R.E.Load over 20 years ago to design a better messenger bag. Today, they sell all types of cycling bags—basket, seat, and belted bags, as well as backpacks, saddlebags, and chain lock covers. All products are made by hand in Philadelphia. R.E.Load donates a percentage of sales from certain products, like the Lil Jawn Hip Pack, to a rotating selection of projects and groups that amplify Black cyclist voices.

What makes R.E. Load special in the outdoor industry?

Cyclists can customize their R.E.Load bag to fit their needs. Bags and accessories can be tailor-made based on features for organization, reflective options, and colorful or long-lasting materials. Even minute details such as the color of the thread can be selected. More notable, R.E.Load was the first company to offer personalized appliqué graphics on messenger bags and continues to be hailed as experts for this specialized service.

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