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February 26, 2006

Radical Cyclists show disapproval for Brooklyn Industries

I recently wrote a story about Brooklyn Industries, and its new venture with Recycle-A-Bicycle:

Here, and here.

Now something dispicable, and uncalled for, has happened to Brooklyn Industries in response to another of its efforts.

From the Blog, Sucka Pants:

"...Brooklyn Industries recently started displaying custom tall bikes in their store windows. the bikes are coupled with t-shirts depicting bicycle gears and biking slogans. they are made by one man who apparently collaborated with Brooklyn Industries to put the bikes in their stores throughout nyc. and they are also donating $2 from the sale of their large and medium messenger bags to Recycle-A-Bicycle. However, there has been some dissent about the blatant commercialization of this particular (and rather anti-commercial) subculture."

Well, excuuuuse them for being of a Capitalist bent when it comes to efforts at promoting bicycling!

The Blog shows 2 photographs of spray painted vandalism ( and one of the window before the attack ) including one slogan titled "Bike culture not 4 sale".

I wonder who took the photos, and how were they obtained?

Is this is an indication that the photographer, and even the recipient of the photos, knows who the vandals were?

If yes, are they going to report the vandals to the police?

While some feel it's weird to see Tall Bikes in the window of a clothing store they see the benefit to bicycling:

Tall bikes are going to be big this year with a feature length documentary coming out about Blacklabel, called B.I.K.E. There are two ways to look at this kind of marketing. One you can be stand-offish like when you see another Bushwick kid with a ulock in the back pocket of his tight black jeans riding a shiny new Bianchi fix gear and say, "damn another poser."

But really, in this town of "bike riding is a terrorist act" and cops willing to injure themselves on mopeds just to break up a friendly ride...I say anything bikes is good. That kid your dissing under your breathe is just one more biker on the street, one more kid who may make a tallbike and one more kid that will attend critical mass despite the helicopters flying overhead and the nypd chasing us like dogs.

Obviously Michael Green, of BikeBlog, supports CM, but this radicalism doesn't prevent him from seeing the good Brooklyn Industries is doing.

Check out this indignant response to the above by James Stache, of Black Label Bicycle Club, for anger over  a company that would "commodify bike culture".

Sucka Bike writes that the company is "exploiting the recent boom and trendiness of bicycling" by its activities:

each and every biker that heads out on the street everyday is a small victory. . . each one is a part-n-parcel of the whole. . . each cyclist is a comrade to everyone else who also chooses to deal with dangerous and reckless traffic (especially in a city that has overtly demonstrated it's indifference to the safety and general rights of cyclists). . . each rider on the road makes the city a slightly better place to ride by risking their own safety and increasing driver awareness. encouraging cycling is in everyone's best interest.

But that doesn't excuse blatant commodification of something that has come to symbolize part of the growing anti-consumerist sentiment. I think if Brooklyn Industries had put more thought and effort into this, it could have come off a lot better.

That 1st paragraph is nice, and I'm "down wit it" my Bicycle Homey, but you lose me with the 2nd one.

In the eyes of the Left, especially the Radical Left, anything that doesn't conform to their Socialist Worldview needs to be verbally, and even physically, trashed, until the miscreants see the error of their ways, and repent, or back down ( He writes an update: "So I went by the Bedford ave store in Williamsburg today (Friday). The tall bikes have been removed." ).

Read Suck-A-Pants piece, and the  great 1st  and 2nd, Anonymous comments in response ( among several other good ones ),  here.

I am a Bicyclist, and a Republican one at that! ;-D

I am angry about what some of these radical cycling "activists" ( From Critical Massers on down to the lesser brain-celled who toss acid on windows, and perform other types of vandalism ) are doing to the cycling cause.

People who ride bikes buy Books, T-shirts, Route Slip Holders, and Messenger Bags, among many other products ( I have future Capitalist notions along this line myself ). To call makers, and sellers, of such products "exploiters" ( Am I, therefore, an "exploiter" for  encouraging paid advertising, and making a profit from promoting cycling books on this Blog? ), and then going so far as to vandalize a storefront for having bikes and bike-related t-shirts in the window says much about the worldview of the attackers.

If you don't like Capitalism find another country to live in.

Of course, we all know you are too damn cowardly, too attached to the lifestyle you have in America, and too reliant on the Freedoms afforded you by living here, to do that don't we, Comrade?

A well deserved Tip of the Hat to Drew, of Commute-A-Blog, for this story.

February 26, 2006 in Cycling News Network | Permalink


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i took the photos in question. the lafayette store is just south of where i work, so i stopped by after work (before) and then the next day on my lunch break (after). it didn't take long for word to spread since so many people ride their bikes to work past these stores. i made a special trip to shoot the bedford location because it was reported that the vandalism there was a bit clearer with their message (bike culture not for sale). and that is where i also got to talk to the owner, although only briefly. i'm afraid this kind of kills your conjecture, it isn't nearly as interesting and interwoven as one might like to think.

I'd also like to reiterate (for what seems like is the millionth time lately) that i am not speaking about Brooklyn Industries use of bicycle imagery on their clothing, or their sale of messenger bags. The entire post is purely about the use of tall bikes as decoration and how Brooklyn Industries could have done things a little differently to avoid the anger that ended up on their storefront windows. if you'd like to give the whole thing a fair shake, why not include comments like:

"sucka pants said...
this may be redundant, but i just thought i would reiterate that i don't think the issue was so much the sale of bike-related merchandise as it was the use of tall bikes as a marketing ploy."

anyway, thank you for your input on the issue. that's why i posted about it in the first place, to hear what people think.

Posted by: Sucka | Feb 26, 2006 7:46:40 PM

Thanks for the explanation about the photos.

My questions were what any sensible person would ask, and I appreciate your response.

As for your "Fair Shake" comment:

The comment you think I should have included IS a fair viewpoint, but...

I get the feeling that it would not have mattered to many on the Left WHAT type of Bicycle was in the window.

The simple fact that their favorite mode of Transportation in the fight against the "Oppressive, oil-hungry, Capitalists" was being used to try to make a profit would have led to the same outcome.

Posted by: Kiril Kundurazieff | Feb 26, 2006 8:37:45 PM

The "commodization of bike culture" BWAHAHAHAHA. I mean big frikkin deal. There's a lot more to act on in this world than the use of "counterculture" symbols in the commercial realm.

Posted by: Fritz | Feb 27, 2006 11:07:40 AM

Shhh... not so loud!

A few more Liberals might come to their senses, like I did, and we can't have...

Oh, wait! What am I saying?

Where's my freakin' Mega-phone? ;-D

Posted by: Kiril Kundurazieff | Feb 27, 2006 11:41:47 AM

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