As the founder of Bikers for Autism (BFA), I wanted to incorporate my passion for motorcycles into the journey of raising funds and building acceptance and inclusion in support for individuals and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). When you combine that with our motto – Look Bad, Do Good – it meant we needed the right apparel.
It was through our extended family at Cotton Canvas where I first learned of Tough Duck’s Quilt Lined Vest. Joel Hersey and Jason Flynn, Cotton Canvas’ owners helped source/produce high quality apparel for our branded charitable clothing and suggested it would be a good fit. They were right!
We decided to introduce the vest to our audience at the inaugural 2018 Born Free Motorcycle Show in Silverado, California. We set up a booth to sell our apparel and to start conversations. Instead of flying, we rode out from Vancouver, Canada. This was my first time personally trying on the vest and I quickly fell in love with it. Its Hearty, warm, duck cotton outer layer protects you from the elements. Strong brass zippers, tons of pockets and stretchy panels on the sides make the vest versatile and practical for riders. The long cut in the back and just the overall look of the vest has a funny way of making you feel sharp AF.
4,000 km’s later on that one trip alone, I definitely put the vest through the ringer. The Californian sun, Mohave Desert winds, flash rainstorms in Idaho and back up through the jagged rock faces of The Cascade Mountain Range in the Pacific Northwest. The more oil and dirt that got on the vest, the better it got.
That July, I met Mr. Gavin Rich. A man with a genuine smile and great handshake. You can tell almost everything you need to know about a man from his eyes and his handshake. I didn’t know at the time that I was in fact speaking with the 3rd generation owner of Tough Duck. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel like I was being vetted a bit about my involvement with BFA and the legitimacy of what we do and who we do it for. But to his credit, turns out Gavin’s interest in our cause hits close to home by having a son with ASD. Since that handshake, Tough Duck has been closely involved with our cause as well as my personal life.
Our BFA x Tough Duck collaboration vest is our top selling garment. The addition of “Spark The Conversation” embroidery on the left front shoulder carries with it a message of strength, solidarity and support. Subtly making noise and raising awareness surrounding ASD everywhere I go. It doesn’t matter if I’m riding, camping, hiking, taking a roadside dirt nap or even just heading out to grab a coffee in the morning. The vest is always catching eyes and speaking to someone. Equally important, the proceeds generated from sales of the vest go directly toward funding programs and supporting families and individuals living with ASD. Which makes me even more excited for the two additional collaborative pieces we have in the works.
To me Tough Duck isn’t just clothing, it’s a canvas that’s helped me define the personality of my life’s work and has collectively allowed us as a charitable cause to have a positive effect on the lives of people we meet along the way.
It’s an honor to be a part of the Tough Duck family.