A few years ago, in an attempt to expand their outdoor market, a large umbrella corporation, based in Utah, purchased a number of cycling companies based in California. This news was anything but private. In fact, many cycling news sources covered the purchase and the information has always been public. The people working at these companies had no control over this move and since it happened, there has been all kinds of upheaval at each brand. It marked a sea change for everyone involved.
Since the latest school shooting in Parkland, Florida, there has been an outcry towards a few brands we all know quite well and their parent corporation. This company owns manufacturers of both bolt-action hunting ammo and rifles, along with various other outdoor brands. Most importantly, in this particular scenario, is also a supporter of the NRA. In attempts to vote with their dollars, various members of the cycling community have called for a boycott of all the brands associated with this parent company.
So what does this have to do with the Radavist? A lot actually, and we’ll get to that shortly, but first, these brands under the boycott have been a part of the Radavist long before they were sold off to this Utah-based umbrella corporation. Personally, I would consider many of the people who work at these companies to be good friends of mine, who truly love cycling and are aiming to make the best products on the market. They’ve used their spare time and energy to work with trail stewards, increase awareness and access for women in the industry, and other actions that without this current boycott, I wouldn’t even have to mention because doing good isn’t about patting yourself on the back.
It’s a sticky situation. I have nothing against responsible gun owners. I grew up hunting, have friends that hunt and respect everyone’s second amendment rights, along with their first amendment rights. You can’t mute people, or delete comments, or try to sweep this issue under the rug. I’ve remained silent on this matter for the past few weeks because honestly, I didn’t know how to talk about it and I’ve been trying to figure out how to address this boycott and your concerns as readers. Not to mention in the past I’ve dealt with unproductive and negative reactions when trying to tackle complicated issues online. But this is important, to myself and you, so here’s my take on this whole thing.
People are angry, I’ve received emails from readers and fans, saying they will never visit the site again, as long as ads are present from those companies. The question I would pose back to these people is similar to what someone who has a terminal disease faces. You can absolutely kill the disease by killing the host, right? The goal isn’t outright death to these bike companies, it’s evolution and change. No companies of this size, especially those owned by a larger entity, can pivot immediately. The smart thing with a boycott here is to send a message to facilitate change, right? Not to destroy the company, its work, and the lives of the people trying to do the right thing from within. People’s position of all or nothing cannot exist for the majority of people on Earth.
The majority of the individuals who work at these cycling companies do not love the NRA, they do not love school shootings and honestly, they’re all taking this very seriously. They do not enjoy the position they are in and are scared for their jobs, their well being, their families, and the future of the thing that they’ve given their blood, sweat and tears to make great. All their combined efforts have made these brands what they are and boycotting them only hurts the local bike shops, the brand reps, and the cycling industry as a whole. Keep in mind, the percentage of sales combined from all these brands, under the umbrella company is so minuscule that a boycott, in any capacity of them, will barely cause the host to flinch. The only way to stun the host is to go after the ammo and firearm market, whose total sales are responsible for the corporation’s well being. These other brands are just there for diversity’s sake.
As a business, with bills, and contributors to pay. I cannot remove ads, not this late in the year. If I did, it would be the end of the Radavist. As a friend of the people who work at these brands, as a lover of local bike shops, and a believer that through cycling, we can make this world a better place, I do not believe boycotting and thus harming the lives of the individuals at these companies will do anything but harm the cycling industry as a whole.
If you’re concerned with making a true change, it has to happen through legislation. There’s a bigger conversation here and this account barely scratches the surface, but I wanted you all to know that I care about you, I care about your constructive opinions, I care about the Radavist and I care about the cycling community as a whole.
Thanks for your time,
John Watson, owner of the Radavist.