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Racing Sucks at the Tour De France

There are folks out there who really wonder why a couple of dudes from Surly, especially one of the two dudes who came up with the idea for the “Racing Sucks” patch would go to, or want to have their banner associated with, the Tour De France.

The simple answer to that query is this: Cuz I'm a huge hypocrite, who is bent on manipulating you with my unstoppable (and evil, did I mention evil) marketing engine known as the "Surly Brand."

Another answer would be that those folks, who did the wondering, clearly didn’t understand the spirit of the patch in the first place and seem live in a world where everything that everyone says can only and forever be taken 100% literally (as in the old definition of the word, not the new one). A world where-in words can only ever have a single meaning. A world where-in that single meaning, that words can only ever have, is always aimed at them, and always in a negative way. You know, the delusional world of self-obsession.

If you didn’t get the patch when you saw it, and you didn’t get it after you read this, and you just think of it as an attack on the “only viable and real portion of the bicycling industry”, then do me a favor and stop reading now.  In fact, why the hell are you on the Surly website in the first place? Seriously. Why?

What about Surly makes you think there is much about the “industry” that we take seriously?

When we made the 1x1 (then the Ratride), everyone laughed at us cuz, “why would anyone ride a bike without gears?” Would we have made that bike if we were taking what was happening in the industry seriously? Did we take their laughter seriously, clearly not, cuz a couple of years later…

When we made the Karate Monkey, everyone laughed at us cuz, “why would anyone want such a big tire on a mountain bike?” Again, we weren’t really paying too much attention.

The Big Dummy inspired similar laughs, and of course the Pugsley was treated as a ridiculous fad until (pretty much) this summer.

We don’t take a lot of what’s happening around us seriously, and why would we? There’s a shit ton of other folks out there doing just that.

We’re not trying to capture market share, we’re trying to get bikes into better places.  You don’t do that by taking the status quo "seriously". Or at least, we don’t. Who has time for that shit?

Surly keeps growing in popularity (despite our best efforts with our offensive blog/website/social media, not to mention our outdated materials, namely Steel) and as it grows, people want “in”.  Cuz it’s what all the “cool kids” are doing (actually I think the cool kids might be at one of our sister brands, but that’s another story).

When people want “in” on something they don’t really understand or appreciate, they often want that thing (that they neither understand or appreciate) to shift its ways so that they can understand or appreciate it.

Am I making sense?

Probably not.

At any rate, if you don’t get it…that’s okay. Seriously, it’s not for everyone.

And that’s okay.

I know I’m a broken record and you’ve heard it all before (but who listens to me anyway?)

I probably told this story already, but I'm going to tell it again: I had a neighbor who was looking for a touring bike, and when I told him he should get a bike that wasn’t a Surly (because that was the bike he liked the ride of more) he couldn't believe it and then he brought it up, flabbergasted, to the mechanic at one of my very favorite Surly shops, Hiawatha Cycles, in south Minneapolis. The mechanic told him that most folks in the industry are cyclists first and that was why I told him to get the other brand. 

What my buddy Mark meant by that is, that as a rider, the two most important things to me in a bike, by far, are fit and feel. Neither of those things can be given to you by catchy marketing, or clever (albeit clownish) product names, or pictures of people flipping the bird to the camera, it’s just not something that should inform why you buy a bike. If it does you’re barking up the wrong tree (we’re not even in a tree, we’re in the bushes).

IT'S ABOUT THE BIKE, NOT ABOUT THE BRAND! Who gives a shit about the brand, if the bike sucks? I don't think ours do, it was the bikes that brought me here. I got the bike I wanted and the rest followed.

Be like me (not in the fat, egomaniacal, no self-respect, no self-control sort of way), but in the "get the bike you want/need" sort of way. The bike, that when you ride atop its shiny mass, brings a smile to your otherwise dreary day. Get the bike that's right for you, and if you're a mass of contradictions like most of us, then you might have to get two.

So speaking of a mass of contradictions and in the interest of making a long story short (way way too fucking late), let's get back to the subject at hand.

Why did we go to the Tour?

Because we are that mass of contradictions.  We're not simple, we're complicated.  We're not black and white, we're many shades of grey.  We can appreciate things, hell we can even love them, and still know that they kinda suck.

The reason that we went to the Tour and hung our banner at the finish is cuz we were close, it was there, and like it or not, take it “seriously” or not it’s a major piece of the culture of cycling in this world that we live in (1st world cycling that is).  Of course it has worth, and ultimately we’re a bunch of fan-boys and fan-girls who nerd out on bikes. So why wouldn’t we go?

Tell me that.

Plus the sheer and fantastic irony of hanging a Surly flag at the final stage, on the final lap around the Louvre was way too much to pass up.

As long as it makes the "Racing Sucks" haters scratch there heads, or gives them something more to whine about, it's a win.

Come on, and pissing people off is pretty fun. Seriously it's my favorite thing in the world.

Paris, by the way, is super kick ass to see on a bicycle.

But really, isn’t just about everywhere?

I think so.

Go see somewhere yourself now.

Go on.

Gern Blanston's avatar

About Gern Blanston

A rider-slash-Surly fan who somehow bounced like a quarter at a drunken college mixer into what he thinks is pretty much the swellest job a fella could have, it is Tyler’s job to determine how Surly should seek attention to its products and itself generally. He has an extensive background in children’s theater, which is, perhaps not surprisingly, a good fit for the marketing manager of this company.

Learn More About Gern Blanston

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