October 2, 2020
Rivendell Bikes Offering Black Reparations Pricing for Black Customers
Rivendell makes some of the prettiest bikes out there, for long haul touring, or just pedaling comfortably around town, or wherever. Drool-worthy bikes. Despite their obvious appreciation of old school, lugged steel frames and all things vintage when it comes to cycling, they’re also a Bay Area-based, forward-looking brand. Their blog, which you can find here, has long been a very fun read.
Earlier this week, their blog served as a kind of press release for a new plan: Black Reparations Pricing. It’s exactly what it sounds like. The discount is 45% off retail pricing. A snippet of the blog is below, which gives the explanation of why Rivendell is launching this plan. If you’d like the full details on how it works, return to the blog post, which goes into more detail.
“The American bicycle industry has been racist since 1878, and from RBW’s start in 1994 until sometime mid-2018, we had been obliviously complicit. Obliviously, not “obviously.” We say this not to scold the industry, not to scold other bicycle businesses, and not to be on trend. It’s just true—and it’s true in other industries, too. We can’t do anything about them, though.
Racism isn’t just policies and actions, although this industry has a history of those, for sure. Racism can be actions not taken, or it can be accidental, or unnoticed, like a super-camouflaged shape-shifting octopus. Racism usually hurts people, but it doesn’t have to. It can show up as feeling good about having Black friends. If you don’t have a racist bone in your body, you probably didn’t grow up white in the United States.
Racism doesn’t respond to inaction or self-proclamation. It responds to anti-racist action. Reparations are an example. Not because Reparations are “a nice thing to do,” but because they’re owed.
Beginning back in July, 2018, we’ve offered a 45 percent discount to Black customers who shopped in person. There weren’t many, and since with Covid and all we’ve stopped taking walk-in customers, now it’s at an unsatisfactory zero.
So as of October, 2020, we’re going national with a broader brush variant of the same plan, but now with a name and an acronym: Black Reparations Pricing (BRP).
We’re in a good position. This is something we can do without government insistence or shareholder fist-pounding. Reparations acknowledges that, in this country, white wealth—recent or inherited/generational, has been “earned” by the labor of Black people, who, even after slavery, were never given a leg up. Your non-Black tycoon great-grampa may have been born poor, may have been a sharp and clever go-getter, but he wasn’t born Black.
(Many people who don’t qualify for BRP have been hurt and held back, but since this is an experiment in reparations, we are opening it up only to Black people. We can do only so much right now. Black Reparations don’t directly harm anybody else, but a lot of other people have every right to be mad. Just, please not at us. Baby steps, no slippery slopes, let’s see how it goes, and here’s how it’ll work.)”