Bike Culture Cry Babies Get Pissed Over Commercialization


Culture Critic Bucky Turco points us to an article on Sucka Pants in which the author decries a Brooklyn store's use of "bike culture" in its store front windows and discusses the vandalism the store received by doing so. Call us jaded by years in the "we'll co-op anything for a buck" advertising industry but one does have to wonder why "bike culture" fanatics feel their culture is the only one that shouldn't get a commercial nod. The only reason a store, or any other retailer or brand for that matter, mimics a particular culture or trend is to make their offering relevant to the public. If no brand did that, every brand would still be stuck in the fifties imitating American Graffiti culture. No one wants their sacred culture commercialized but in a capitalist society, there's little chance a culture with any cred won't sooner or later be bitten by a brand desperate for commercial success. Oh, and by the way, roads were built for cars.

by Steve Hall    Feb-27-06   Click to Comment   
Topic: Opinion, Trends and Culture   

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That last sentence made my day. I had to tell someone.

Posted by: Doug on February 27, 2006 10:35 AM

As someone who is in marketing but also an avid cyclist and bicycle advocate I'm all for any advertising that includes bicycles as long as their use is positively and/or safely portrayed. Bikes as part of fashion is a very positive thing even though the safety element of these custom-made bikes is a little dubious. Whomever vandalized that store didn't know about or chose to ignore its commitment to provide city bicycle programs with 3% of all sales. Don't forget that during the transit strike, in the dead of winter, huge numbers of New Yorkers found that they could still get around by jumping on their bikes. Hopefully a lot of those people will continue to use that form of transportation on an ongoing basis.

Posted by: tomdog on February 27, 2006 11:14 AM

RE: Oh, and by the way, roads were built for cars.

You, my friend, are just the type of person who needs to read an essay of mine called "BICYCLIST TO CAR OWNERS: CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?" ( click the link in my name ).

Other than that I agree with you post. ;-D

Posted by: Kiril, The Cycling Dude on February 27, 2006 2:05 PM

The "counterculture" etching was boneheaded, destructive, and counterproductive indeed. The streets, however, were originally built for bicycles and they continue to be funded by and built for multiple users, not just car drivers. See How the bicycle put Detroit on two wheels. Even outside of this historical context, cycling is a superior way to get around in NYC.

Posted by: Fritz on February 27, 2006 3:35 PM

Fritz is right, the push for better roads initially came from cyclists. Beyond that needless polemic I agree with the rest of your post.

Any advertising that put's cycling in a good and positive (even commercial) context culturally is a good thing. On that point I have no time for the purists.

Posted by: Philip Gomes on February 28, 2006 5:51 AM

You were doing just great till that last line: “Oh, and by the way, roads were built for cars."

That is an ignorant a statement as the above-mentioned vandalism is an action.

Posted by: bigjonny on February 28, 2006 4:12 PM

While your last sentence doesn't make sense, bigjonny, I just seem to understand why people don't grasp the fact roads are really for cars. I'm not saying no biker should ever ride on a road or, as one commenter said, bikers had something to do with the creation of roads. I'm saying in current culture, it's understood that the roads are shared but their main purpose is for cars to travel on. How hard is that to understand. Besides my comment was mostly a joke to get all you purists in a twist.

Posted by: Steve Hall on February 28, 2006 4:48 PM

I think many cyclists are concerned that too many car drivers don't "understand that the roads are shared", and this accounts for the negativity of so many toward cyclists, and cycling.

As for your last line being meant as a joke:

Well, when you get shoved around, or yelled at with dirty names, by someone who also says that during an encounter, it doen not incline one to a fit of the giggles.

I hope you understand.

Oh, BTW, as for the twist...

I can't dance worth S***! ;-D

Posted by: Kiril, The Cycling Dude on March 1, 2006 4:10 PM

Dude . . . roads, way back in the day, we're actually built for cyclists. The American Wheelmen built the first roads for bikes, those ones with the big back wheel and little front one.

Posted by: DL Byron on March 19, 2006 11:40 AM

Well, we aren't back in the day anymore are we? As far as I know, roads, currently, are for cars.

Posted by: Steve Hall on March 19, 2006 3:30 PM

AND Bicycles, too....

( Good naturedly sticks tongue out... )

Posted by: Kiril, The Cycling Dude on March 28, 2006 1:40 PM

The conversation is about pay your own way, towards more surface transportation thru-put of freight. Bicycle operation is just that. Public health car is benefitted as well. How does that not sell huge in pratical America? Not so pratical any more? The cost of traffic delayed frieght begs a work around. Pierre Lallament 1865 Paris, France; the bicycle is born. The efficiency upon wheels where added to when the Micheaux brothers added a redundant steam power drive train in 1869. EZEE makes great affordable electric bikes. Carry cargo on your trip. Pick up other peoples trash. Sell it back to them. Don't always litter. Commodify that. For those who need more security of front wheel traction get a Piaggio MP3 scooter. Of feeling safe in traffic ride off road to hone bike english and take road motorcycle safty course(s).

Posted by: Jack B. Spence on November 13, 2007 12:24 AM