The Logo is a No-Go…

The Stockton Bicycle Club has a new club jersey. A BIG THANK YOU to Greg Lozaga, who shepherded the project through the design, ordering and distribution phases. He did a tremendous amount of work and thanks to him we have a fresh and stylish club kit.

And what I discovered was that sometimes good intentions can be misunderstood.

My Favorite Touring Company

When the jersey was being designed the club was looking for sponsors who would pay a nominal sum to have their logo displayed. I had what I thought was the brilliant idea to put the logo of my favorite bicycle touring company, 44 | 5 Cycling Tours, on the jersey. I thought that the 44 | 5 logo was really simple and classy and a little bit exotic and would be a good addition to ‘sponsors row’ on the back of the new jersey. 44 | 5 gets its name from the latitude and longitude of Mont Ventoux, and if you ever want to do guided rides or tours in Southern France you should check them out. Isn’t that a clever logo and wouldn’t it look good on any club’s jersey? I had no idea this would cause a controversy.

When it was proposed and later discussed at the annual club meeting reaction was, well to put it, umm strong.

Some club members reacted as if I was proposing to put a Confederate Flag with the caption ” Make America Great Again!” on the jersey. There were loud objections and threatened boycotts. As soon as I realized that this was going to be an issue I hastily withdrew my proposal and made meek nice noises to all concerned.

In retrospect I find the whole incident entertaining and somewhat perplexing.

First Rider with the New Jersey. Moi!

All of this took place during walnut season when I spend my days counting nuts and not attending club rides or functions. I did not attend the club meeting where this was discussed and perhaps my idea would have been better served if I had pitched it and answered any questions myself.

Some of the comments and objections were made publicly on Facebook, so I feel comfortable sharing them here.

Objection #1: 44 | 5 is located in France.

This is true. I was unaware that jersey sponsors must have a local connection.

Objection #2: Members may not purchase space on the jersey

I did not know this was the case. In fact, members have purchased space on the jersey to promote their own businesses. But apparently there were objections to a member (me) purchasing space to promote someone else’s business.

Objection #3: Few club members have interest in traveling to France

This one is not really accurate. There are 14 current and former club members who have been clients of 44 | 5, most of us more than once. Since our  paid club membership only adds up to 60 or so, 14 clients might be considered more than ‘few’.

And by far my favorite: Objection #4: 44 | 5 is a ‘bourgeoisie’ touring company.   ‘Bourgeoisie’ can mean ‘middle class’ but in the Marxist context it means the capitalist class who own most of society’s wealth and means of production.

Now it is true that bicycle touring in Europe is not cheap, especially if the touring company uses 3 and 4 star accommodations and feeds you in nice restaurants. 44 | 5 certainly does that, even though they are not the most expensive touring company by any means.

Overall, I think my suggestion didn’t come across as I had hoped and the club lost an opportunity to include the logo of a great touring company on our new kit.

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