A bike shop founded by disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has terminated its contract with the Austin Police Department some two years early, following Black Lives Matter protesting.
According to social media posts from Austin’s Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop, the business made the call to terminate the contract in light of the “current evaluation of community policing in Austin.”
The bike shop supplied bicycles and repairs for officers within the APD via a $314,000 contract inked in 2019.
“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 [Request For Proposal] the shop was previously awarded,” the statement from the shop said in part.
“It’s difficult in these times to balance the needs of a business and a community,” the statement continued. “Our entire employee group was engaged in this dialogue and we delved deep into our community to understand how we could best do our part to keep our customers safe and this city moving in the right direction. These are certainly trying times and we understand people will object to any decision made along these lines.”
“Businesses can no longer be non-participants in the communities they serve,” the statement said. “We chose what we think will do the most to suture these divides and place our community on the right side of history.”
According to the bike shop’s website, Armstrong is hailed as the “brainchild” behind Austin’s Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop. The business opened its doors back in 2008 in downtown Austin, and the cyclist is reportedly a co-owner.
“Austin police officers use bicycles to patrol the downtown area. They’ve been seen using bikes during events like South By Southwest,” kxan reported. “More recently, Austin police officers used their bicycles to keep protestors in one area at Black Lives Matter protests downtown.”
According to the news report, it’s suspected that the bike shop sought to discontinue service for officers over their bikes being associated with cops patrolling BLM protests:
According to a now-deleted Facebook post, that’s why the bike shop wanted to stop doing business with police. The post was written by an account with the same name as an Austin police officer whose name is on the contract with Mellow Johnny’s. It said shop employees didn’t like that the bikes were being used as a crowd management tool during the protests.
The post from the bike shop noted, “We are not anti-police. We do believe our local police force will protect us from the very threats we are receiving right now.”
— mellowjohnnys (@mellowjohnnys) August 6, 2020
Back in 2018, Austin’s Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop dropped cycling brands owned by Vista Outdoors, a gun manufacturer.