Austin – A Texas bike shop has canceled its contract with the Austin Police Department after bike shop employees complained to the owners that the police use those same bikes to control violent protestors.
In the context of the current evaluation of community policing in Austin, we have decided to no longer purchase, re-sell, and service police-issue Trek bikes and accessories under a City of Austin RFP the shop was previously awarded.
We are not anti-police. We do believe our local police force will protect us from the very threats we are receiving right now.
According to the contract with the city signed in 2019, the bike store is walking out on a $314,000 contract between them and the city. They also have recently taken a Paycheck Protection Program loan somewhere between $150,000 and $350,000
This contract with the Austin Police Department was for three years with two options to renew.
On Tuesday, August 4, the bike shop manager called the Austin Police Department and told them the contract between them would not be in effect anymore. Mellow Johnny’s partnered with Trek bikes and Austin PD used the Trek “Service” model bike.
The bike costs $1439 with no options. The Trek bike company’s website states:
“It was built for those dedicated to serving the public, supporting our communities, and preserving our natural resources.”
Austin Police Corporal Christopher Carlisle posted a statement on Facebook on Tuesday August 4:
“For the past eight years I have had the good fortune of buying and purchasing equipment for the Downtown Area Command Bike Patrol and our bicycle public order team. We have 158 bike officers in DTAC and have been purchasing our bikes from Mellow Johnny’s bike store in downtown Austin, a local business.”
The Austin American-Statesman reported Corporal Carlisle as writing:
“Today I received a call from the sales manager I have worked with for years at MJ’s. He informed me that they have three employees who work for them that are complaining about providing bikes to the police department in this time of social unrest and protests and disturbances.
They stated to ownership that they did not like the fact that we use bicycles to help us manage crowds and crowd movement.”
“The ownership of MJ’s has decided to listen to three employees and is sending APD an email canceling the four years left on our contract because three employees do not like police officers and did not like us in the store.”“So now an owner of a business chose to lose on of his biggest contracts and listen to three hourly employees. The employees I always talked to at MJ’s were great and we never had a problem, so I don’t know why MJ’s chose this path to go down.”
“If anyone knows of a bike store that would like to serve the police, I would love to talk to them about our next APD contract.”
The bike shop concluded its statement by writing, “We wish this entire community peace and progress and togetherness at the conclusion of these trying times. And we intend to be a part of the discourse, struggle, and growth for Austin, as we have since we opened the doors in 2008.”
Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop was founded by bike racing legend Lance Armstrong and remains as a ‘partial’ owner of the shop.
Will Mellow Johnny’s political activism have an impact on their bottom line? Only time will tell…