• Lance Armstrong (L), Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop (Getty Images, Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop)Source: Getty Images, Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop
Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop have terminated their US$314,000 police contract (A$440,000) amid the Black Lives Matter movement.
SBS Cycling Central

11 Aug 2020 - 12:53 PM 

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Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop, based in Austin, Texas and founded by Lance Armstrong, were 12 months into a contract with the City of Austin, whereby they supplied and repaired bicycles for the Austin Police Department.

They announced last week via Facebook and Instagram they were ending that arrangement, which Klax reports was worth US$314,000 over three years.

"In the context of the current evaluation of community policing in Austin, we have decided to no longer purchase, re-sell, and service police-issue Trek bikes and accessories under a City of Austin RFP the shop was previously awarded," Mellow Johnny's said in their open letter.

"It's difficult in these times to balance the needs of a business and a community. Our entire employee group was engaged in this dialogue and we delved deep into our community to understand how we could best do our part to keep our customers safe and this city moving in the right direction.

"These are certainly trying times and we understand people will object to any decision made along these lines.

"Businesses can no longer be non-participants in the communities they serve. We chose what we think will do the most to suture these divides and place our community on the right side of history.

"We have had to make these choices before when we felt companies whose products we sold put kids at schools at risk of violence. We lost sales due to this choice.

"We will live with the choices our customers make if they want to buy bikes and bike products somewhere else.

"We are committed to the city of Austin and the community of cyclists that we serve every day.

"We are not anti-police. We do believe our local police force will protect us from the very threats we are receiving right now.

Trek, the American company who manufacture the bicyles in question, have themselves condemned the use of their bikes by police against BLM protestors, calling it "abhorrent and vastly different from their intended use".

Another occasion Mellow Johnny's made a moral decision was in 2018, when they cut ties with cycling brands owned by Vista Outdoors, a large company with ties to gun manufacturing and gun sports.