Tuesday, July 24, 2007

BSNYC Marketing Report

I think we're all in agreement on what cycling needs most. More races? Nope. Better roads? Uh-uh. Safe places to park our bikes? Absolutely not. No, what we need are more sponsorship dollars! And as a service to potential advertisers, I've compiled a primer on the three most popular forms of urban cycling to help them decide where to most effectively paste their messages. Hopefully we'll see lots more logos soon!

Road Cyclists

If you’re like most business owners, you’re thinking, “Gee, I’d really like to spend the money to sponsor a local racing team despite the fact that it will offer me no meaningful exposure or return on my investment. But my company’s logo and/or color scheme is just too darn ugly to expect anybody to wear it!”

Wrong on both counts!

Firstly, you don’t need to spend any “money” to sponsor a local road team. You see, for road cyclists, wearing your company’s logo on their kits (whether your company is the Discovery Channel or the local urologist’s office) is in and of itself a status symbol. You don’t have to actually pay the riders to wear the logo. Just offer something—anything—in return so they can justify it to themselves. 10% off on a urinalysis should do it.

Secondly, if you think your logo is too ugly, think again! These people want to look like professionals. Have you ever seen a pro road kit? Those things will make you go cross-eyed. And amateurs will do whatever pros do. Whether it’s spending $2,000 to ride the same wheels as this year’s Giro winner, injecting their own dog’s blood, or wearing a uniform that’s still completely visible after you’ve closed your eyes, these people will do it. (And that includes emblazoning your logo across their asses. Just imagine your urology clinic’s name on an amateur cyclist’s posterior. You’ll be up to your vas deferens in customers!)

(Yikes! They'll wear it though...a urologist's dream team.)

Fixed-Gear Cyclists

The urban fixed-gear scene is growing faster than any segment of the cycling population. As such, it is a potential sponsorship goldmine. Imagine an army of billboards, criss-crossing the trendiest neighborhoods in America at nearly walking speed and parading themselves in front of the most coveted marketing demographic in existence.

“But why would these soldiers on the hemmoraging edge of chic want to wear my stodgy logo?,” you may ask. Well, because they need money. When you’re a freelancer riding a brakeless $2,500 keirin bicycle with no health insurance living in one of America’s most expensive cities, you need cash for bike upgrades.

And as the canvases on which these riders express their uniquely individualistic urge to ride what everyone else is riding, these bicycles are ideally suited to carrying advertisements. Imagine a top-tube pad printed to look like a hero with the logo: “Subway. Eat Fresh!” Or a 40mm Deep-V rim covered with the URLs of soon-to-be released blockbuster films. Or an Aerospoke custom-painted to look like a Pizza Hut stuffed-crust pie.

Given many of these riders’ propensity for doing trackstands and lazy figure-eights in front of trendy clothing boutiques, restaurants, and bars, your sponsorship money will double itself overnight. Not to mention provide many a needy 20-something with gold-anodized handlebars.

(Your logo here! Or here...or here...or here...)


Many advertisers are too quick to dismiss the effectiveness of the “it’s so hideous I can’t look away” ad placement. Now, that’s not to say you should set up a sandwich board at the scene of a grizzly auto accident, or advertise in some repulsive periodical like “Boil Lancing Monthly” or “Bicycling.” But it does mean you should occasionally think outside the bento-box when it comes to marketing.

Which is where triathletes come in. While nobody likes to see a middle-aged investment banker in a crop-top and a pair of shorts he got from an old “Laugh In” go-go dancer riding a time trial bike with a lunchbox on the top tube and a straw sticking out of the handlebars, as humans inexorably drawn to gaping at the horrific we often cannot look away. And while these riders tend towards clothing so immodest that it makes road cyclists look like professional golfers, their pointy aero helmets and disc wheels offer sizeable surfaces on which to plaster your message. If you dare. (Note: PSAs and charity advertisements work best here. Visual horrors tend to put people in a repentant frame of mind.)

(This will scare your ass into making a donation.)

I hope this has helped you to reach a decision. We look forward to cashing your checks.


Matt said...

How about recumbent riders? Those who like to slouch around at hubcap level in traffic often have flagpoles to increase their visibility. A perfect place for banners for hemorrhoid treatments, denture creams and AARP memberships! Long flagpoles could have your average recumbent flapping like a car lot on a windy day!

Jim said...

On the visual repulsiveness of male triathletes... there is a triathlete of East Asian descent, whom I occasionally see while commuting. He wears an old specialized helmet with a semi-pointy aero rear end on it. That wouldn't be noteworthy, except he wears it backwards, so the pointy end is sticking straight up from his forehead, like a unicorn, or maybe some human battering ram preparing to ram a stage door on an incomprehensible yet strangely hilarious Japanese game show. I haven't said anything yet because until now, I couldn't decide whether he was a hyper-trendy Japanese kid, and maybe 12 year-old Specialized helmets, worn backwards, were all the rage in Harajuku; or whether he was a visually repulsive fashion disaster. Now that you've discussed it, it's clear that he fits in a third category I hadn't considered: male triathlete lacking even a rudimentary clue about bike culture. It's as plain as the dextrose cubes sweat-melted into his bento box. Thanks for helping to clear up my confusion, BikeSnobNYC!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Thanks to Jim, I now have a displeasing image of 'unicorn man' frozen in my mind.

Agree with Matt above that there are other classes of riders very susceptible to cheap sponsorship. 'bents are one such.

But what about MTBers, DHers and Dirt jumpers? All three groups would splash the cash on anything, so long as the apparel fit three criteria:
1. Color - grey, drab green, brown, or camo.
2. Logo style - skull, animal, or graffiti letters.
3. Cut - raggady, loosey. Below-knee for shorts; non-aero no-vented helmets; non-zip tee.

There you go, whatever you want to sell, you can get free sponsorship from the big bike crowd. Selling prostheses for Hansen's disease sufferers? Rock this camo full-face lid with the shattered limb logo! Importing staple-making equipment from the far East? Hammer on with this drab gray T with the pitbull/stapler tag! My little pony collector set display cases? Four 'horse'man rag-shorts will keep your jewels alive as you throw yourself off the cliffs.

Lizardo said...

I am sure you have heard this a million times, but your blog is hilarious. It reminds me of Maddox's site geared towards the bike owners (notice I didn't say cyclist's). There is a huge fixed gear community here in San Diego, as most large cities, that could do well from you blasting them. From all of the hipsters who go to the Tuesday night Velodrome races, who most times don't even watch the races, to the scores who have their bikes as accesories, like a piercing, purse, or tattoo, rather than something to ride. Please keep up the good work, laughing feels good.

Anonymous said...


i agree it's catching on in san diego, but it's still not near as bad as when i lived in boston. i'm often pleasantly surprised to see someone downtown riding an old road bike that still has a derailleur. and at least we do have a velodrome. it's getting there though - i saw star tattoos the other day!

Unknown said...

these riders express their uniquely individualistic urge to ride what everyone else is riding

Fookin brilliant.

prcrstn8 said...

Oh, that team again. Can't seem to find the photoshopped version of that photo, the one with the Oscar Meyer logo on their jerseys. That was a good one.

Anonymous said...

Triathletes are gay.

Aaron said...

..."'Boil Lancing Monthly' or 'Bicycling.'"


Anonymous said...

anonymous said: "Triathletes are gay."

Good point! Why are they always so happy?

Anonymous said...

It's gristly, unless you're talking about the bears.

BikeSnobNYC said...


Dammit. I mean, I was. Have you ever seen a car hit a grizzly bear? Gristly.


GhostRider said...

Actually, the word in question is "grisly" -- inspiring repugnance or gruesome.

Good comeback, though, Bike Snob!

BikeSnobNYC said...


It's all just grizz for the mill anyway, isn't it?


Anonymous said...

oh my god, that was the best fucking blog ever!!!

BikeSnobNYC said...


Here's the part where you finally get acknowledged by me. Congratulations.


Anonymous said...

oh my god that was the best fucking acknowledgement ever!!

Anonymous said...

"The Pope" isn't funny on bikeforums, either.

meh-wee-uhn said...

During the the circuit race at Sea Otter, I noticed a woman who had come all the way out from Wyoming.

Back of her shorts: "Jackson Hole OBGYN."

No joke.

Anonymous said...

So, School's back - I'm procrastonating, and this blog is filling in at least 5 mins of my day, every day! THANK YOU! loving it, awesomely refreshing, especially when you live in Melbourne, Australia where the fixie-wanker now rules relentlesly. - cheers - Chaz.

Anonymous said...

perhaps backwards helmet guy fits into a fourth category you hadn't considered.
Mechanical engineering student that has convinced himself it's more aerodynamic that way.

Anonymous said...

Well... ahh... there is at least one aero helmet out there that does perform reasonably well in unicorn fashion. Though, I think that you might actually be safer in a crash without a helmet than with one.

Anonymous said...

"Though, I think that you might actually be safer in a crash without a helmet than with one."

Than with one on in unicorn fashion, I mean.

Anonymous said...

You are forgetting Kenny Souza who always raced in a Speedo despite being a duathlete.

jan said...

Hello, you have a nice picture out there. I am googling for 'urologist symbol' and your cyclists show up. Unfortunately i will have to take anothe 'symbol' for my banner i guess

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