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A Preliminary Response from Specialized (more to come)
Marketing versus Advocacy is not an either or proposition; both components are
equally critical. The biggest difference is that our marketing efforts are
extremely visible (that is how marketing works…), however, the work we do on
the advocacy side is not nearly as visible to the average rider. We appreciate
the opportunity to talk about this because we’ve struggled to come up with
ways to let riders know about the work we do without boring them to death.
It’s easy to get people to watch a video of the Coastal Boys or Matty Hunter
shredding some trail but it’s not nearly as easy to get the word out about
things like sending our people to speak at IMBA summits, rallying our staff
and athletes to do trail work days, participating with organizations like the
BPSA to ensure a sustainable future for all types of cycling, etc. As critical
is all that stuff is, it just isn’t very sexy.
A company of our size and position in the industry has a huge responsibility
to be stewards of the cycling community, and it would be incredibly near-
sighted of us to aggressively market pedal-assist bikes without simultaneously
doing the work to ensure long-term sustainability. What good would it do us to
make a bunch of money over the next year or so selling pedal-assist bikes if
it meant jeopardizing access for all bikes, thereby negatively impacting
future sales? To prevent that sort of thing from happening, we are actively
involved in many facets of trail access and advocacy – some of our efforts are
specific to pedal-assist but many apply to cycling as a whole. We have been
big supporters of IMBA for many, many years and have heavily funded and worked
closely with them. We are also part of the BPSA, leading the charge towards a
sustainable future for the bicycle industry, doing a lot of work with them
specific to the challenges of pedal-assist. We have also undertaken a massive
effort to educate our retailer network in regard to making sure their
customers are clear on where these types of bikes can be ridden legally, as
well as providing tools for our retailers to work with local land management
agencies on safe and responsible solutions. Another organization we support is
People For Bikes, they do amazing work that benefits us all. We strongly
believe there is a place in our community for all types of riders and all
types of bikes, and we are doing everything within our power to ensure that
vision remains a reality for a long time to come.
– Sean Estes
This was also posted below the article. I still have specific questions for
Specialized that I hope to address directly with them.
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