Have you seen this video yet?
I really liked that video. The incredible stunts, the upbeat music, the vertigo-inducing angles, the interesting mix of UK scenery, and the sheer joy emoted as Martyn Ashton rides his bike. Dude is talented and has a dream job. At 4:40, he rides across a dusky field whooping and hollering, just like I did when I rolled the Luna Line at Duthie for the first time, albeit with far less air. This video had me. It made me smile, laugh and shiver with the thrilling freedom of riding a bike.
That’s when my smile waned. My brow furrowed. This perfectly fun and inspiring video deflated me as it flunked the Bike Test in eight seconds.
I asked my colleague Kat Sweet what she thought.
“It’s just so typical of the bike world,” she said, rolling her eyes. “I think I’ve become immune to it.”
I’d probably brush it off with an eye roll too were it not for the recent uptick of conversations about sexism in the bike industry, women in the bike movement, creating environments that cater to women, “real women” on bikes, and our own struggle with gold body paint.
As Elly Blue noted in her Bike Test essay, “… we’re all part of a culture where sexism is normalized, celebrated, and rewarded. I think there’s a widespread sense that this is the game we have to play if we want to succeed.”
It doesn’t have to be that way. Pinarello and Ashton Bikes marketers could have easily stopped the video at the credits, and I would have been left with a huge smile. It was just about perfect as-is. Instead they reached for the old stand-by, the completely unnecessary sexy girl prop. Who puts WD40 on a frame, anyway? (Oh, right, this was lubing during service. Also product placement.) And what mechanic would have long painted fingernails. I suppose it could have been worse.
I still like the video, but not as much. If I watch it again, I’ll remember to stop it at the black screen. The final 15 seconds are unnecessary.
PS: My boss has a Pinarello that she loves to ride.