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The Problem isn't Redbull: It's Us

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10/20/2015 7:04 AM

Hi Friends,

In the wake of Paul Basagoitia's injury there has been a real uproar over the pay for these athletes, insurance coverage and corporate exploitation.

The common theme here is people looking for something upon which to heap their blame, focus their anger and cope with the reality that a fellow mountain biker has once again been seriously hurt.

I would like to add the following point to the discussion but it never seemed to fit into any of the other threads:

WE are just as responsible for the treatment of these athletes as Redbull is.

WE are constantly buying new shit and it makes these companies fight tooth and nail for our dollars. WE have blood on our hands too because we are constantly upgrading--new grips, new forks, new shocks, new tires, new frames, new clothes, new helmets, new stickers, new shoes....the list could go on and on.

How often do WE really need a new bike? Or a new fork?

It is a commonly held belief in advertising and marketing that WE consumers are the product--but we're not just the product...we're also the ads. We become part of that company when you sport that logo, wear that hoodie, buy that bike you think will make you into Jerome Clementz, or whatever. They sell, we buy, they keep our $ and get rich while we willingly give it all up for an image. An image that can end terribly.

This is just my opinion...but I wonder what others think.

I'm no corporate hack--just a public school teacher in one of america's most-dangerous cities. Please excuse any bad grammar or typos but I gotta go to work.



10/20/2015 11:01 AM

It is mostly the people in my opinion as well, vote with your dollars, and stuff will reflect that. This morning, I looked at Instagram some (just want to see the newest thing), drove to do a workout (giving some $$$ to the oil companies), bought some regular milk for breakfast (supporting factory farms most likely) and then showered and put on some clothes (made overseas). Most people are the problem, myself included.


I'm hungry.

10/20/2015 5:01 PM

TRex wrote:

It is mostly the people in my opinion as well, vote with your dollars, and stuff will reflect that. This morning, I looked at ...more

Man... Ya gotta go and get real on us... Don't you know this is mountain bike fantasy land? Where we must consume to be cool? And risk to get paid?


10/20/2015 6:33 PM

We the consumer are, at worst, guilty of funding companies that use unethical practices, without knowing of those unethical practices. But, now that we know about these practices, we are calling out these companies and demanding change. Yes, we were part of the problem, but I believe that we are also trying to be a part of the resolution to fix these problems.

We should demand that the organizers of Rampage make and implement a plan to reduce the risk of injury to the riders and dig crews. Even if it means the riders and dig crews show up to choose and dig lines (but not ride them yet) a month before the event to allow time for the site to be outfitted with safety nets and pads in the areas where a crashing rider or stumbling digger are most likely to fall off a cliff. Reducing the chance of an injury is far superior to providing some level of temporary insurance (though if it is plausible, and the riders demand it, the insurance thing should happen.)

We should demand that anyone who puts in work to build a rider's line be compensated accordingly. Whatever the average professional trail builder makes per hour, should be paid to the builders by the organizers(or the athlete's sponsors). These diggers make the event possible, they should be paid for their work.

We should demand that all athletes get an appearance payment from the organizers. Say that the athlete has to ride their line at least once to get some amount (like $500, $1,000 or something, the riders and organizers should negotiate this price.) Any athlete who rides in qualifiers will get a second payment, and all pre-qualified riders who show up also get a second (maybe larger) payment. All riders who make a first run (regardless of if they finish the run) should get a third (even bigger) payment. All riders who make a second run should get a fourth (largest?) payment. Then there will be no need to change the distribution of winnings, unless the riders and organizers agree to the change.

We should demand that all Athletes wear Personal Protective Equipment anytime they are on the site with the intention to ride. This PPE should include a full face helmet, eye protection, upper body protection with a spine protector, elbow pads, padded shorts, Knee pads, and maybe even ankle and wrist protection. Neck braces should be strongly encouraged, though from my experience, some neck braces interfere with riding to the point on increasing the chance of a crash. Of coarse, sponsors should provide these things to their athletes (product placement bonus points!)

We should demand that all Athletes' sponsors pay, at minimum, for the travel and lodging expenses of the riders and their dig crews. It would be ridiculous for a normal employer to pay an employee so little for the work that they do, that said employee would run out of gas money before the year is up, just from traveling to and from the work site. The Athletes' job require them to go to certain events, the sponsors should pay to get the athletes there, and keep them there for the duration of the event, then pay for them to get home.

If these changes are not made, then we should follow through, and spend our time and money elsewhere. Though, we need to be sure that by doing so, or the extent that we do so, will pressure positive change instead of killing freeride.