Nondescript. That’s how I would describe the entrance to Alton Lane. The showroom itself is reminiscent of some of the greatest hidden treasures in New York City that aren’t located on Madison Ave, but rather three flights up in what would otherwise appear to be office space or a warehouse.I have to say, I had envisioned Alton Lane as an Etro meets Brooks Brothers type of place. To some extent it was, but it is authentic and unique in all the right ways. I was impressed from the moment I stepped foot through the door. The suits and shirts are neatly displayed against the walls as an illustration of some of your options. At first glance you could think that the sea of navy and gray is no different than anything you may find at other stores specializing in custom suiting. A closer look reveals that Alton Lane has set themselves apart from all the others. Let’s start with the body imaging technology that identifies your exact measurements. Now let’s add a glass of scotch poured from the showroom bar. Technology and scotch? The only thing missing was video games, and I’m sure if you asked they’d consider plugging them into their giant TV that adorns the wall. There are countless fabrics from which to choose and every aspect of your suit is tailored to your taste, including the lining, piping, stitching color, and buttons (at no extra charge).What I loved the most about AL was their approachability and affordability. Their basic suits start at around $550 and their custom shirts start around $79. Did I mention that is for a custom suit and a custom shirt? Like the suits, every aspect of the shirts can be customized as well…at no extra charge. The prices are based on fabric only and they have thousands from which to choose.I learned about every aspect of the tailoring and customization process from Cameron, who manages the AL NYC showroom. He was down to earth, exceptionally friendly, and patiently responded to my endless stream of questions. What impressed me the most was his knowledge of the suit itself. Did you know that pocket flaps historically were always tucked in and it wasn’t until a member of the Royal Family wore his out that the fashion trend took hold and is maintained to this day? Cameron shared that bit of history with me as well as many others. I appreciated his confidence and respect for the Alton Lane product and it was obvious he loves what he does for a living and even more so, who he works for. How could he not? The owner may have been one of the nicest people I have talked to at a social event in DC in a very long time. The irony is that it wasn’t until we wrapped up our nearly 45-minute-long exchange about hiking and camping and fishing in the West that I even realized he was THE owner, Peyton Jenkins. He was by far one of the most well dressed persons in the room so that should have been my first clue, but he was so personable and down to earth I never thought for a second that he may have been the owner. This approachability and friendliness was found throughout the room, which is not something you’d expect to find at a showroom that specializes in custom suiting for men.
In anticipation of pool season, let’s brush up on the dos and don’ts of pool etiquette:
Do wear appropriate clothing. Gents, you’re not going to play water polo or lounge on the shores of the Riviera. LEAVE the Speedos at home, and frankly, leave it at the store. To be honest, this rule also applies to the ladies. The whole saying, “a little goes along way” applies to make-up not pool wear. Find an appropriate suit and a classy cover-up. Think Calypso rather than WetSeal.
Do wear clothing that fits. Board shorts are great, but find a length that fits you. Above the knee is your target length. If you’re brave, go for the 4” trunks but that’s a good length to stop unless you’re Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte. Make sure you have a fun pair of shades and the right shoe-thing. Hiking sandals are not pool shoes. Ever.
Do prep. As they say, the devil’s in the detail. Personal maintenance is not just for the ladies. Gents, spend a few minutes in front of the mirror fine tuning the things you may be overlooking. How are your feet, are they pool ready? Did you grow a fur coat over the winter months? Are your eyebrows two separate entities? These are things that should be addressed before you make your beach bod debut at the pool.
Do wear protection. This is a good rule for many aspects of life, but in this instance we’re talking about protection against harmful UV rays. Sun damage can not only lead to skin cancer but it makes wrinkles. Despite what you may think, it’s not just women that get wrinkles from the sun. Plus, nothing screams “rookie” more than looking like a lobster.
Do have fun. Drinks are great by the pool, just don’t be the guy who passes out and gets laughed at.
Follow these simple rules and your pool season should go without a hitch.
We’re going Volcano Boarding:
Bigfoot Volcano Boarding is finally booked, and I can’t wait to go. But I have to. Since David is racing in KMD Challenge Copenhagen in August, we decided that going to Nicaragua during training season would be ridiculous. There’s also that slight chance that he may get hurt before. I mean, it is a volcano. Nicaragua therefore will have to wait until October.
What’s Volcano Boarding exactly? Here it is in their words:
Volcano boarding is an extreme thrill-seeking kind of sport created by an equally extreme, Australian thrill seeker, Daryn Webb, Bigfoot Hostel’s original owner. After Daryn opened Bigfoot in 2004, he began to cultivate the sport.
Daryn and his crew endured a fair share of trial and error, testing everything from picnic tables to mattresses until they arrived to a sit-down, wooden toboggan, made of metal and Formica-reinforced plywood. The adventure sport was born!
Volcano boarding was a world first. León became the only place in the world you could slide down the side of an active volcano. By 2009, Bigfoot Volcano Boarding sent 10,000 boarders down Cerro Negro. Today, over 15,000 people have sled down its slope at up to 90km/hr!
CNN named Bigfoot’s Volcano Boarding Tour as #2 on the “Thrill seekers bucket list: 50 things to do before you die.”
In León, Volcano boarding is more than a sport. Volcano boarding has not only given travelers an attention-gripping story to tell, but it’s also become a part of the culture here in León. The tours have resulted in hundreds of jobs available to locals, a popular activity for young people to enjoy, and a way to raise awareness for local projects in the communities.
A sport culture that supports the local economy - double WIN! I’m really looking forward to this trip. If you’ve gone to Nicaragua before, or have actually volcano boarded - I’d love to hear from you. We’ll be there for about ten days so ideas for places to visit, things to do - would be great.