The Solidarity Ride (and why it should matter to you)

The Solidarity Ride (and why it should matter to you)

By Barley Forsman

Jan. 17th, 2012

You may have heard some news about a potential “penny” ride to pay our legal debt of $1 to Specialized this weekend. While we believe our motives are pure, we think that it could send the wrong message.

Yeah, Specialized sued us, for a lot of different things. Yeah, we’ve spent our life savings defending ourselves. Yeah, we’ve been vindicated in a court of law. And yeah, we received a lot of great press in the process.

But this is not really about us.

Continue reading after the break…

It hit home for the first time that this was not about us immediately following the article in the San Jose Mercury News written by Howard Mintz. People were interested in what was happening and sincerely seemed to care what the outcome could be, or more importantly could mean. People we’ve never met were supporting us. Former Specialized employees, people from companies who had similar experiences, shop owners, journalists, people interested in the law, and lots and lots of great cyclists.

I’ve known for a long time that this is a great industry, but I had no idea how tightly knit it really is. The greatest thing is that it is driven by the little guy. The vast majority of cycling companies are small and family owned. The vast majority of bike shops are small and family owned. And the entire industry is driven by the cyclist – people from all walks of life with different reasons for riding a bicycle, but sharing an undeniable love for the experiences and benefits that it provides. The individual is more important than the group.

This is why we feel it is important that you share in our victory.

It is possible that some of the larger companies have forgotten where they came from and what is important, what it really means to be in this industry. It should be clear by now that the lawsuit was never about moral “principal”, right and wrong, or truth. This is about competition, plain and simple. Not the good kind of competition that inspires creativity and innovation within the industry, but the more devious kind of competition that is meant to cripple the competitor long before the gun goes off. It’s not really competition if we’re not allowed to compete.

Not only is this not fair or moral, it goes against the grain of what is great about this industry: the ability for anybody to come up with a better idea, make it, and offer it as an option for the cyclist. This is about your freedom to choose what is best for you. As a manufacturer you have a choice to create whatever you think is best, as a dealer you have the choice to sell whatever you think is best, and as a customer, you have a choice to buy whatever you think is best.

We don’t care what brand of bike you ride, or what brand of gear you have, only that you love to ride, and that you value your choice to decide what bike you want or what equipment you want.

As a symbol of our love for the sport, the industry, and the cycling community, we would like to host a Solidarity ride. It is open to everyone – the entire industry is invited. After all, when the dust settles, we are all in this together.

We will be planning the Solidarity ride very soon. It will probably be on a weekend, leaving from our warehouse in Cotati, CA, and it will probably be in the neighborhood of 100 miles, although we would like to have a few shorter options available as well.

Please stay tuned for more details to follow…

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8 thoughts on “The Solidarity Ride (and why it should matter to you)

  1. Keep me posted. I am figuring I will meet up with the ride on Canada Rd somewhere. Will we get a car ride back from Morgan Hill?

  2. You guys went through a lot. But the ride to Specialized to hand them a buck in pennies came off, with all due respect, as immature and petty. A “Solidarity” ride, leaving ‘them” out of it is a much better idea and shows you want to move on and beyond the pettiness that brough the lawsuit in the first place. Bravo.

  3. Lately, way-too-much emphasis has been placed on riding “charity events” in that there is now an inherent guilt factor if you don’t ride for a cause where money is handed over to a specific cause or entity. Conversely, I think this would be the very first ride held that is based on “principle” — the right of an individual to compete without all of the typical external stakeholders with their hands out (before the individual even gets to the starting line). Count me “in”.

  4. Hi Barley, Susan and Robert,

    Well I hope this clears your schedule again for more biking ideas, both off and on the long roads ahead. Best wishes for the New Year, and keep on riding those dragons, both paper and real!

    Brian C.
    Cupertino, CA

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