(bike culture not 4 sale)
so 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. a lot of the arguments seem to stem from the fact that the bikes are merely props to gain street-cred for Brooklyn Industries. I'll let Stache from Black Label Bicycle Club state his mind from a recent comment left on Bike Blog.
Black Label had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with putting tallbikes in store windows. Black Label would never commodify bike culture. In every event we have held or participated in, Black Label has encouraged the re-use of discarded goods. We have never sold a custom bicycle, nor will we ever. Instead we have openly shared design techniques, held welding workshops, and thrown kick-ass events for everyone, for free.
In everything we do we try to encourage active participation and the support of DIY ideas. These window displays are selling those principles without the actual work.
Its great that recycle a bicycle is getting donations. But why not show FUNCTIONING bikes that were recycled by kids and now are for sale? it would be great if the store fronts were turned into sales points for worked on bikes. INSTEAD, we have huge NON-WORKING bikes which probably will not be recycled when the displays get changed.
Reuse the excesses of society. Do It Yourself. Ride Safe.
-james stache, blbc ny
i have contacted Brooklyn Industries several times requesting some information about the tall bikes, but have been unable to get a response. i had hoped to hear directly from them about their intentions with this, but it would seem that they are simply riding over another subculture while trying to hock their new line of stuff. just recently people have reported that the windows of several Brooklyn Industries stores were tagged with some rather unflattering sentiments in acid-etch.
it's a shame really, since Brooklyn Industries has the advantage of being small enough and local enough to not make the same detached mistakes as multi-conglomerates like nike. but to do that does require a little bit of effort, and tossing a couple bucks toward Recycle-A-Bicycle hardly seems to make up for exploiting the recent boom and trendiness of bicycling.
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. they could have offered bike building workshops, donated more than a couple bucks to Recycle-A-Bicycle (it's 3% per bag pre-tax, in case you're curious), showcased bicycles built by the kids being taught at Recycle-A-Bicycle (even if they weren't ultra-cool tall bikes), etc. support it, don't just use it. . . ah, but that's not the way commerce works, now is it?
*UDPATE: so i went by the bedford ave store in williamsburg today (friday). the tall bikes have been removed. i spoke with someone who popped out of a parked suv while i was taking photos of the window. he pretty much reiterated what is on their website, how they are donating $2 to Recycle-A-Bicycle. When asked about the vandalism, his response was "Some people don't understand."
*UPDATE #2: Brooklyn Industries has posted a statement about this issue on their website. go check it out.
and relatedly, The New York Times reports "Police Chase Cyclists". there's a pretty interesting video here with some great footage of thugs-in-action at various Critical Mass rides. admittedly the article warrants a bit of a "duh, where ya been?" response. but if you don't live and ride in nyc, there is a good chance that this NY Times coverage is the first you've heard of the tactics employed by the nypd. the real questions is when are we going to find out how many thousands of tax-payers dollars have been wasted on this montly cat-n-mouse game? so if you don't like what you see happening, please let them know. to learn more and support the Critical Mass rider's legal defense at Bicycle Defense Fund. tonight is february's Critical Mass, should be interesting to see what goes down.
here's another lil' film made at Black Label's Bike Kill III. courtesy of The Dirty Jersey Choppers.
for this one, i am going to lay out a challenge. . . identify this mystery song. i don't know if this will turn out to be as difficult as i think it might, but we will see. leave your guesses in the comments.
• ? - Track 5
support eating bugs, buy music
Posted by Tod Seelie at 12:56 PM