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Specialized donates $1,000 to bike shop to apologise for poster gaffe

Contractors working for US brand flyposted outside of Seattle shop damaged in gas explosion

Specialized has donated $1,000 to a Seattle bike shop damaged in a gas explosion to say “sorry” after contractors mistakenly put up posters advertising the US-based brand’s bikes on a hoarding protecting the front of the shop while repairs take place.

G&O Family Cyclery, which is not a Specialized dealer, tweeted a picture of the poster, which said “better bikes come from better bike shops,” prompting an apology from Specialized as well as the unexpected donation to a crowdfunding initiative aimed at helping the small business recover.

In a comment on the Go Fund Me website, where more than $43,000 of the $45,000 target has now been reached, Specialized said:

Hello G&O Family Cyclery, we hope you accept our donation to rebuild, and continue to make a positive impact on families and cyclists in your community.

We are deeply sorry for the regrettably placed poster on your shop earlier this week. As you are aware at this point, our team had worked with an outside agency to put up posters on vacant buildings and by a stroke of bad luck and an uninformed street team, the poster was placed.

We want to reinforce that this was in no way intentional or malicious, and instead an honest mistake. We are taking the appropriate actions to have it removed immediately.

We very much respect and stand strong with local bike shops such as yours, as owners like you are what keep the bicycle culture thriving. Regardless of bike, brand, or location, we want to see local bike shops succeed and continue to serve their communities. – The Team at Specialized.

The firm that put the advertising up has since matched Specialized’s donation, saying:

The posterGIANT team is honored to contribute to your rebuild and we hope you'll accept this donation. We regret any part in this misunderstanding and we look forward to seeing you back in business as soon possible.

Specialized’s global marketing manager, Erick Marcheschi, told the Seattle Bike Blog: “I feel bad about it, it was 100% not intentional.”

He said the company contracted to put up the posters in Seattle and elsewhere was ”looking to opportunities where there are plywood surfaces they can put these wheatpastings on,” adding, “it’s really unfortunate that this was one of those surfaces.”

As one of the biggest players in the global bike industry with local operations in a number of countries worldwide, the odd public relations gaffe is perhaps inevitable, but ones made by Specialized do seem to attract particular scrutiny.

In 2013, the brand was criticised on social media after its lawyers attempted to get a bike shop in Alberta to change its name from Café Roubaix, claiming – apparently incorrectly, as it turned out – that Specialized owned the rights to the Roubaix trademark in countries including Canada.

Following widespread calls for a boycott of its products, the company’s founder and majority shareholder, Mike Sinyard, visited the bike shop in person to apologise.

> Specialized and Cafe Roubaix meet over trademark dispute

Perhaps as a result of the negative publicity that episode caused, the business seem more disposed now to listen to its critics, as happened last month when pictures circulated on social media showing models at a bike show in Berlin dressed as Playboy Bunnies flanking a Specialized e-bike produced in partnership with the adult entertainment brand.

Specialized said the marketing initiative had been undertaken by its German subsidiary without the approval of its headquarters in the United States, and subsequently confirmed the limited edition bike would not be sold.

> Specialized confirms controversial Playboy e-bike won't be sold

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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steviemarco | 8 years ago

Another reason why I wil NEVER buy/ride a Specialized bike. I though the cafe debacle was the icing on the cake and they go and top it with this, well done laugh

brooksby replied to steviemarco | 8 years ago
1 like

steviemarco wrote:

Another reason why I wil NEVER buy/ride a Specialized bike. I though the cafe debacle was the icing on the cake and they go and top it with this, well done laugh


In all fairness, I had a pair of their gloves which were really nice and lasted me for years.  Bought them before the Roubaix thing, though.

It seems to me that Specialised really really needs a dedicated "Is this a stupid idea?" department...

festina | 8 years ago

Regardless of where it was posted I'm having an almost alergic reaction to the add. The insinuation that a bike shop isn't any good if it doesn't stock specialized I find frankly abhorrent. So much for the spirit of competition.

Butty | 8 years ago

But they are still happy to flypost anywhere else 

Mungecrundle | 8 years ago
1 like

At least it sounds like a proper apology and far better than the standard "...apologise for any offence that may have been caused..." bollocks.

velo-nh | 8 years ago
1 like

Even if the buildings are vacant, it's still vandalism.  

dottigirl | 8 years ago

Ummm, you missed the latest sexist debacle by these dinosaurs.

The pink bike labelled 'Significant Other'.


Jacobi | 8 years ago
1 like

The Cafe Roubaix link doesn't work.

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