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Everyone loves messengers

Funny how the world works.

Just yesterday I met with the local Portland bike messenger crew about their upcoming event (I'm writing a story on it for Dirt Rag). During our conversation we talked about how the bike industry is so enamored with the messenger scene.

My take is that as the major brands in the bike biz become more and more corporate and lacking in soul, the purity and hardcore edge of the messenger lifestyle become that much more attractive.

Now this morning, I see this over at AdRants, "Lincoln Goes For Bike Messenger Street Cred Without Permission." This is a very sad attempt by Lincoln to connect with a younger crowd. I hope the messengers featured in the ad can find some good legal representation.

I can't stand it when automakers use bikes to help sell cars...even though the marketing side of me understands why it's so effective. In my opinion, our society's obsession with cars and the resulting traffic, pollution, accidents, etc... that they cause, is the single largest deterrent to getting more people on bikes.

In a perfect world, the bike industry wouldn't have to be so reliant on the huge amount of money that automakers pump into our industry in the form of big, expensive, full-page ads in our magazines or as titles sponsors of our teams and events. It would be interesting to do a study to find what percentage of sponsorship and advertising dollars in the bike industry are from automakers.

Obviously cars have helped our sport grow (how else would we get to all the races?) but it just seems strange to me that from an advocacy standpoint cars are our biggest enemy...but then we all love them when they give us money.


At 12:28 PM, May 25, 2005, Blogger Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

Car vs bike; I've been in that equation literally and figuratively too many times it seems.

There was a period of 6-7 years where I didn't have a license because I was totally committed to riding my bike. For training and economic reasons, I didn't need or want a car. Sadly, the year I bought a car again is the year my racing went straight down the crapper and the body fat started climbing.

Professionally speaking, it is a real tough issue. Look at race and team sponsorships, just as you say, lots of automakers involved. I just keep waiting for a cigarette maker to sponsor a pro team or event (if it hasn't already happened). Hey, look at all the alcohol sponsors out there. Even Krystal, the maker of the diminutive square hamburger, sponsors a pro/am team. Once Krispy Kreme steps up, I'm out of retirement.

The cycling industry is hamstrung by a lack of money and not too many wealthy benefactors. It would be great to believe we could simply turn our backs on the companies that don't fit into our advocacy beliefs (and admittedly, some people do), but that would limit an already tiny pool of potential monetary contributors. What's that race in Georgia called? Oh, yeah, the Dodge Tour de Georgia. Great race and a great stage for American cycling in this country. I'd be willing to bet that without Dodge's money, it wouldn't exist.

As for Messenger chic... I love courier bags! I probably have 5 or 6 of them, to my wife's chagrin.

Tim Jackson
Brand Manager
Masi Bicycles

At 1:48 PM, May 25, 2005, Blogger fixedgear said...

I guess those messengers don't get a chance to read the NYT too much, since this ad campaign has been around for months.


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