Dear Bike Industry, Please Find Your Morals

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I was asked to remove the original photo and name of the woman in the below story by the woman. She doesn’t want to continue to be apart of the fight to make cycling a better place for women.

Last Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, I was awoken with the sounding of bells, chats and emails. You see a friend saw a female cyclist in need, knowing I would take up arms and fight the good fight he sought me out at o’dark:30 Seattle time. It would take a bystander woman to get things moving in the right direction.

A few years ago a woman was cheering on the sidelines of SSCXWC in her bikini. Well aware there were photographs taken, and shared. Let’s be honest…if I had a body like that, I would be on the sidelines in a bikini too. Fast forward to last Wednesday, the eve of Thanksgiving. Road Bike Review decided to make a caption contest out of this photo. Moving forward they did not MODERATE the comments, and when the subject of the photograph emailed and added her own comment – it was ignored/deleted.

I don’t need to remind you, I don’t mind scantily clad cycling women. Neither does the subject of the photograph. What I do mind is having a photo being used as a caption contest, with no moderation. Road Bike Review, this is how you want to draw in women to read your site? Let’s allow vulgar comments that border libel actions.

Learn more from the original email to OBRA after the young woman tried to reach out to Road Bike Review multiple times.

Earlier this morning (after being beat up on) the Facebook photo and “caption contest” was removed. I hope the bicycle industry media and marketing geniuses learn something from this. We live in a progressive world but do we need to make it any worse?

Photo credit: creativextreme.com

9 Comments

  • Ray Keener says:

    Dear BSG:

    You question the morals of the entire bike industry over this?

    All I can figure is that, by choosing such a sensational title, you were trying to grab attention for your own purposes.

    It worked on me, I must admit.

    And isn’t that the same thing RBR was trying to do with their photo contest?

    I won’t question your morals because you want more eyeballs on your blog.

    I hope you will be a bit more hesitant to do the same to others in the future.

    Admiringly and sincerely, Ray Keener

    • Bike Shop Girl says:

      Ray –

      Thanks for the quick comment! The noted story is something that happens often in the industry. Normally guys overstep their boundaries not understanding that even though girls are part of their “bro’s” that does not mean you can say the exact same jokes or use them as punching bags.

      The bicycle industry as a whole is missing their morals, is it a grabby title – sure but that’s writing. Is it a wrong title – no, not at all. Maybe it is due to being a guy in the industry. Not being a 18 year old “girl” at a bike shop, or a service manager being pushed aside by guy customers because they think you can’t wrench, maybe it’s going to shows and seeing tons of booth chicks that don’t know what a headset is or possibly how to ride a bike, maybe it is that Bicycle Retailer themselves endorsed booth babes that you aren’t seeing why morally the bicycle industry is lost.

  • James says:

    Poor judgement all around.

  • Rick Vosper says:

    Hi Ray, not to speak on her behalf, but I think Arleigh’s point is that she feels the RBR Caption Contest (and, more importantly, how it was handled by its Facebook moderators) is indicative of the industry’s morals as a whole.

    Would you agree? I don’t see a response to that point.

    Apparently the RBR management thought the behavior was way out of line, too, because they pulled the contest and issued personal apologies to Caroline.

    I’d even step up and suggest that the RBR owners and management– whom I’ve kn own for years– were every bit as horrified at these shenanigans as you or I might be if we discovered it among our own employees. hope you don’t mind me speaking for you on this.

    According to my women friends in the industry and my own limited experience managing employees in similar situations, this is *exactly* the kind of stuff that goes on in this industry every day whenever the adults have their backs turned.

    Which, I think, validates Arleigh’s point nicely.

  • Stack says:

    I just bought one of her hats

  • -b- says:

    @ stack, As I said on Twitter, Caroline is not a Stripper or a Hooker, she makes cycling caps in Oregon. What’s this is, also, aside from the industry is the AOL Way or Huffpo’ing of the web and ad revenue. Play to the lowest level for the trolls, it’s Bike Snob’s entire web presence, and if you can show impressions and hits, then bring out the T/A.

  • prolly says:

    I’m going to buy 20 of her hats now

  • dicky says:

    C’mon… the industry needs more women like Liz Hatch (http://bikeshopgirl.com/2011/06/the-bike-industry-needs-more-women-like-liz-hatch/), but the industry needs to find its morals?

    I have no stance on the issue BTW.

  • Caroline says:

    Hello. I would like to speak for myself here. Arleigh, I do appreciate you kicking into action, because I was floundering, unable to figure out how to reach the gentlemen at roadbikereview.com. It was a rough night, but thanks to your contacts it was smoothed over by noon the next day.

    Your blog post is fair; however, I think this particular case is a little more closed than you lead readers to believe. I have had gratifying communication with the founder (Francis) at roadbikereview.com/mtbr. He and another employee both wrote to me to apologize and we entered into a polite and professional dialog about the problem. I suggested they not put women up for review, or that if they do they at least moderate out lewd or cruel comments. Francis agrees that that specific photo was inappropriate fodder for a caption contest.

    On their own accord, roadbikereview.com is making more drastic changes. Apparently they will no longer be running podium girl photos on their sites (NOTE: I did not request this change – don’t blame me, blame the trolls!). They will also make contributors’ contact information more available on all their sites.

    I am not boycotting roadbikereview.com. They took responsibility, handled the problem decisively, and should look better for it.

    Also, thanks Rick Vosper – good comment.

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