In an open letter published on social media, Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop has announced the termination of its contract with the Austin Police Department following Black Lives Matter protests.
The Austin, Texas-based bike shop, founded by Lance Armstrong, made the decision after "evaluation of community policing in Austin" and is walking away from a contract with the City of Austin two years prior to its scheduled conclusion.
According to reports from Kxan, the three-year contract was originally penned in 2019 and is worth $314,000, for which the business was to supply and repair bikes for the Austin Police Department over an initial three-year period, with options to extend.
"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," reads the statement posted online.
"It's difficult in these times to balance the needs of a business and a community," it continues. "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.
"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."
This isn't the first time Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop has cut ties due to moral conflict. In 2018, the business dropped cycling brands owned by Vista Outdoors, parent company to various cycling brands, due to its ties to gun manufacturing and shooting sports.
Nor is Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop the first business to cut ties with police forces following Black Lives Matter protests. After images emerged online of police using bikes as weapons against protestors, Fuji immediately suspended sales before Trek subsequently issued a statement denouncing the use of its bikes by police as "abhorrent and vastly different from their intended use," and proclaiming its "commitment to a better future".
Read the full statement below:
Originally from Bude but now based out of Exeter, Josh is the former eCommerce manager of the Bike Shed in Devon. After racing cross-country with friends as a youth, he soon turned to road cycling. Nowadays, 27-year-old Josh is a Cat 1 road racer for Team Tor 2000. While he enjoys a good long road race, he's much more at home in a local criterium. He dabbles in fair-weather cyclocross and will happily slog out a century if you reward him with cake. Oh, and in his spare time, he writes about tech and deals for Cyclingnews and BikePerfect. Rides: Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL6 Disc, Trek Emonda ALR, Specialized Crux.
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