“…it’s just the way it is…” pt 1

it has taken me quite awhile to find a way to discuss my experiences within the bike industry, but like many my life has always been about my community, friends, and family.  as the protests for the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Riah Milton, Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells, and more have taken the center stage in our country along with the disproportionate deaths for Black communities by COVID-19 there has been a swell of dialogue following in the cycling and outdoor companies.

know their namesLA Johnson/NPR

there is never a “good time” to talk about race.  it is the elephant in the room.  the reasons i haven’t spoken about my experiences at q are very personal:

  1. fear of repercussions against myself and other BIPOC folx.
  2. fear of getting black listed within the bike industry as a whole.  there was a time when i had considered making my way back, which is no longer the case as of today.
  3. fear of upsetting people in the community and the fallout.
  4. fear of not being heard or taken seriously.

that said, i also need to take a moment to recognize the countless folx that have been doing amazing work within our community (i promise to get there), and their work putting other companies such as fuji, trek, etc. on their silence or generic performative response to the situation in cycling and the nation.  the folx setting up distanced rides, still volunteering time, energy, monetarily and physically. 

let’s not forget that there are companies out there with contracts with police that utilize bikes to brutalize Black and Brown bodies.  And yes it is that trek….the one that you know “won” seven TDFs on.

trek bike police Forbes

that is where i’ll leave that part of the conversation.  there is a lot to follow on this situation and again i will provide resources at the end.

where does this leave qbp?  if you aren’t familiar q is one of the largest bike and parts distributors in North America, heck you could say the world.  they have a home base here in Bloomington, MN along with multiple distribution centers stateside, in Canada, and have multiple buildings in Asia.  they have multiple in house brands ranging from all-city (your favorite party brand) to surly to 45NRTH and more.  if you have a local bike shop in your city, odds are q is probably the one that helps allocate parts/bikes.

i promise you that what you’re seeing vs what is happening are completely at odds.  how do i know?  i worked at q,  in fact i started at the distribution center to upstairs as a compliance specialist.  i applied for twelve positions there all in areas that i have experience in.  i was told no to ten of them.  i have gone through the training, job shadowing, personal meetings, etc because i had finally gotten there.

the reality at q and the bike industry, in order to start at the top or get there,  you have to be in the know.  the old boys club.  you know that one, so i don’t need to paint that picture.  i didn’t know anyone, but wanting to be there so badly i quit my big kid job making a significant amount more to get my foot in at the dc.

the difference in metrics tracking at the dc are nothing short of insanity.  i’m all for being productive, but there is a strike system even for attendance that if you’re late even for a minute it counts against you.  one minute.  and when you get the last strike, sorry for ya, you’re gone effective immediately.

one more important piece here is that the vast amounts of diversity at q is the dc.  remember that because this will be important later, but first let me put this here to show the contrast for folx upstairs:

being late to workqbp

of course this isn’t all of it. if you need more i would suggest going here and reading the comments on their https://www.instagram.com/qualitybike/

i have written, deleted a lot. it’s actually kept me up quite a bit so to better space everything i will let you catch up on what is happening and provide some places to go after reading some of that stuff from q and the industry.

http://www.aquickbrownfox.com/

https://www.instagram.com/wtfbikexplorers/

https://www.instagram.com/rachel.olzer/

https://www.instagram.com/the_blackfoxes/

https://www.instagram.com/cyclista_zine/

there are so many more, but i’m seriously still figuring out how to use this platform, sorry if it’s really jumbled. i couldn’t even get these hyperlinks to edit to what i wanted without it erasing all these blocks.

this will be published in multiple parts as i have a lot more to write and edit.

topics will include the following:

what’s the problem?

first hand experience with upper management

ally vs accomplice: why that matters

qbp values: acting with integrity