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Old 12-02-04, 09:59 PM   #1
Thylacine
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Progressive bike companies?

Hi good forum people,

I was thinking recently, we often talk about ways in which we can live a better life, be less wasteful, be compassionate or whatever, and often in the same breath we mention 'cycling' as part of the things that contribute to leading a good life.

What I'm interested in, is what bike and cycling related companies or institutions do you know of that share your world view or same political or ethical bent? What companies wear their political or ethical hearts upon their sleeves? Which manufacturers have a good record or recycling and the environment? Which employers have good labour records? Which companies are run by Anarchists? Communists? Which companies are Collectives? Which are Green?

I'm keen to hear about companies that you know that stand out in this regard, especially in this current age of "I am nothing unless I have a carbon waterbottle cage" consumerism.
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Old 12-02-04, 10:08 PM   #2
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Try the Breezer bike company: http://www.breezerbikes.com/

I had a long discussion with the guy at the Breezer bike area about how they are environmentally and socially conscious, and they try to build bikes that have a postitive impact on the environment.

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Old 12-02-04, 10:21 PM   #3
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Yeah, Joe Breeze has touted the advocacy thing for some time now. Chris King is another company that pimps it's recycling and sustainability record. I'm sure there are more.....anyone?....
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Old 12-02-04, 10:27 PM   #4
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Patagonia. Not directly a cycling company, but they make great base layers. Their owner is very vocal on his environmental and political views.
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Old 12-02-04, 10:50 PM   #5
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How about ANT - Alternative Needs transportation ( www.antbikemike.com ). They make cargo bikes that completely replace cars. The usefulness and ingenuity of their products are unique.
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Old 12-02-04, 11:22 PM   #6
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Rivendell bicycle works. They make bikes that are designed to last a lifetime. Their soft goods are made of renewables- wool, cotton, leather. They're not ostenatiously green or political, they just believe in making and selling good simple high quality products. They have a definite philosophy that advocates cycling as a way of life, not just a trendy fad.
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Old 12-03-04, 06:38 AM   #7
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Great thread, Thylacine. Looking in the other direction, when I was shopping around for a new bike, I decided not to deal with one company, despite its good product and price, because the owner of the company has extremely right-wing politics that I find offensive. "Voting" with my wallet, so to speak, in the marketplace of ideas.
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Old 12-03-04, 08:25 AM   #8
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Patagonia shirts are the best damn thing ever invented. Coming in a close second are the patagonia boxers. I just bought 5 more shirts and now it is all I wear. They definately are world concious and if somebody is more active than the average american (bike commuter) they make you so much more comfortable.
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Old 12-03-04, 08:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmseattle
How about ANT - Alternative Needs transportation ( www.antbikemike.com ). They make cargo bikes that completely replace cars. The usefulness and ingenuity of their products are unique.

ANT is cool. I drool over the pictures on that site regularly.
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Old 12-03-04, 05:21 PM   #10
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This is a good thread!

Another vote for Breezer and ANT.

That ANT flat bed bike is sweet.

I think Surly can be considered a good company too. They don't have political messege like Breezer or ANT, but I think they are good thing. They make basic frames that are durable, use commonly found parts and are affordable. They go against the consumer thought that expensive and high tech is better.
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Old 12-03-04, 05:29 PM   #11
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Burley Co-op in Eugene is full of good people, philosophies, and actions. And they make nice raingear, bikes, and trailers while they're at it! Started by a couple of hippies back in the day, they've built themselves into a group with a rare combination of positive values and great products.
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Old 12-03-04, 05:39 PM   #12
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Also, try the www.sierratradingpost.com website. They have cycling stuff on their website, and they are well known for their philosophies.

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Old 12-03-04, 05:47 PM   #13
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I'm suprised no-one has mentioned Planet Bike yet. It sounds like they do some good things, although I don't know any specifics. Anyone with more info?
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Old 12-03-04, 06:33 PM   #14
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I can't believe no one has mentioned Vanilla Bicycles yet. Damn they have some sexy machines.
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Old 12-03-04, 07:21 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by darrencope
I'm suprised no-one has mentioned Planet Bike yet. It sounds like they do some good things, although I don't know any specifics. Anyone with more info?

I see they donate 25% of their profits to bike advocacy, but there's nothing really detailed there. When I was at Interbike, what struck me about the Breezer area were the HUGE advertisements about what they do for the environment. Planet Bike had nothing.

I have Planet Bike products... I think they're great, but I just don't think they do a lot. Not compared to the other companies mentioned at least. But they do something, I guess. And something is better than nothing.

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Old 12-03-04, 11:13 PM   #16
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Okay, some of you seem confused between the questions "Who makes good bike stuff" and the original question which was "Which bike companies have a good political/ethical track record?" Both are not the same thing, as much as we may have conned ourselves into believing so.

What does everyone think about this 1% donation thing? I noticed Patagonia donates 1% to 'grass roots' environmental thingies, and Chris King is donating a whopping 1% of sales of it's pink hubs and headsets to a breast cancer charity. Is it just me, or is 1% a joke? Sure, if you're turning over 4 million bucks a year and you're donating 1% of your pre-tax revenue, that's something not to be sneezed at, but 1% of sales on a few pink hubs? Hrmm. I'm not buying it.
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Old 12-03-04, 11:23 PM   #17
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I guess 1% is better than nothing, but at the same time, if you can afford to give more, why not? Too many fat cat execs who need that 6 digit income so they can lead their lavish lifestyle?

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Old 12-03-04, 11:37 PM   #18
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Nothing new to add here except to add a vote of confidence of sorts for Patagonia. Never dealt with ANT or Breezer, myself, but they look like great companies. There need to be more businesses out there that run by a philosophy other than the bottom line.
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Old 12-04-04, 12:35 AM   #19
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Yes, a good thread. I'd like to support producers who: provide their workers (including shop floor) with a living wage and safe working conditions, have a minimally negative impact on the environment and are generally cool people producing great products. Some of the brands mentioned above are simply brands: they contract out the actual manufacturing to (usually) third-world countries and then buy us off with promises to contribute 1% to some charity. I have nothing against someone in e.g. China making a good living, but how do we know that this is the case? And many of these countries are rapidly being turned into environmental disasters - are the lax standards in these regions part of the logic of outsourcing?

At least if you buy an Italian frame you know that fairly rigorous EU social and environmental conditions are (hopefully) being met. I'd like to say this for USA produced products, but our labor and environmental standards, in both standards and enforcement, are nothing I can take great pride in at the present time.
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Old 12-04-04, 11:33 AM   #20
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I can say, when I went to the Pegoretti and DeRosa factories in Italy, most definitely they treated their workers fairly and everyone was happy to be working for the owners. They were some of the happiest workplaces I'd been to. I was actually puzzled by their attitudes. It's not an attitude I see often in the workplace, and it sure can throw you off!


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Old 12-04-04, 11:36 AM   #21
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Old 12-05-04, 02:34 PM   #22
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It's an amazing indication of how few bike companies we can think of that actually have an environmental and socio-political track record we can actually relate to or view as 'positive'. This is especially troubling because cycling - and especially mountain biking - is supposed to be environmentally based, or at least have some sort of left-wing origins and future.

What I think I'll do is spend this week having a more thorough search to see what I can find. I'm begining to think that the bike industry is very, very backward when it comes to these things, and maybe it's time to bring these issues to the fore.

If anyone else wants to do a public service and have a bit of a search too, that'd be great
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Old 12-05-04, 04:09 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Thylacine
If anyone else wants to do a public service and have a bit of a search too, that'd be great
Nah... you do it all!



Just kidding- I'm going to do some research too next week when I get some time. I'm curious myself.

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Old 12-05-04, 04:58 PM   #24
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243 donates a small sum on every bike purchse to nsmba which is our advocacy/trail maintenance group.
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Old 12-05-04, 06:07 PM   #25
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