Sure beats a free turkey

Last year, some 12,400 Ikea employees based in the U.S. received a $50 gift card during the holidays. This year, they each got a silver mountain bike. IKEA said it hopes the bikes will help employees by supporting a healthy lifestyle and providing “everyday sustainable transport.”

Helmets off to you, Ikea!

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11 replies
  1. Mighk Wilson
    Mighk Wilson says:

    I’m afraid the very poor quality of the bikes they gave them will do more to turn their employees off from bicycling. They’re one-size-doesn’t-fit-all bicycle-shaped objects.

    • Eric
      Eric says:

      That’s precisely what I thought when I read “silver mountain bike.” If IKEA pays competitively, these folks would have been better off with the $50 card or even a turkey — at least that puts food on the table. The pawn shops won’t take them because the brokers are wise to what passes for “bicycles” these days.

      Maybe IKEA is doing them a favor. All the needed repairs and the lack of income to pay someone to do them them, may spawn a whole new bunch of bicycle repairmen. Some of those people may move on to other trades when they realize that a trade can be a whole lot more interesting and rewarding than working as a clerk in a store.

  2. Kevin Love
    Kevin Love says:

    I am with Mighk on this one. The BSO pictured is totally unsuitable for its declared purpose, which is:

    “IKEA said it hopes the bikes will help employees by supporting a healthy lifestyle and providing ‘everyday sustainable transport.'”

    I’ll bet the farm that whoever made this decision is not from IKEA’s head office in Sweden. Sweden has the world’s fourth highest cycle mode share with cities like Lund having over 40% cycle mode share. They know bikes.

    This poor judgement undoubtably came from their local USA managers and it would not surprise me if none of them actually cycle to work every day. If they did, and they wanted to give their employees a decent Swedish bicycle, it would probably be something like the Skeppshult.


    “The extra features that come standard on a Skeppshult bicycle such as the basket, rear rack, skirt guard, drum brake, coaster brake, dynamo hub, lights, rain guards, chain guard, integrated lock and internal gear hub…”

    Now that’s a REAL bicycle that people can ride to work every day. Unlike the BSO piece of landfill-ready garbage handed out, which it is safe to predict will be used seldom, if ever.

  3. Steve A
    Steve A says:

    Y’all are reminding me of Scrooge. IKEA makes great DIY pannier hooks (look for the Blecka) and backing boards (Drupa cutting board). OTOH, maybe not – IKEA has their own scrooges, like the store manager who Cycleicious reports claims that encouraging bikes in front of his store is dangerous. See the website link.

  4. Rodney
    Rodney says:

    What a bunch of hypocrites! I wholeheartedly agree on the points mentioned, but…

    While this particular bicycle may not be what “WE” might desire, it is, after all, a great starting point. I personally started out on one of your BSO’s thank you very much. Look where it has taken me to date.

    I’ve met some of the Parramore riders at various Cycling Savvy classes. Last time I took inventory….I didn’t see these men and women on any Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, Raleigh, Surly, Pashley, carbon fiber whiz bang bikes, etc.

    One Parramore lady I had the opportunity to work with, was riding “a real POS of a POS BSO”, and those were her comments. All she wanted to do was ride so she could win an upgrade bicycle. Hello people…the starting point I mentioned for some. Not all will have the desire, but we have to do this one rider at a time.

    I thought “Encouragement, Education, and Advocacy for Bicycling in the Real World” was the purpose of this blog. The attitude of the early posters is biased, generalizing, and totally uncalled for.

    As with anything one does, you have to start small and then grow big. I’ll wager a bet that those IKEA employees have NO CLUE about operating a bicycle in general. What a perfect opportunity to get more empowered riders without building fancy and many times deadly infrastructure. Y’all blew it!

    I’m going back to bed.

    • Kevin Love
      Kevin Love says:

      Don’t be silly. Good bikes don’t have to cost a fortune. An example is the “Beater” brand. A good bike for $300. See:

      They were so popular that they quickly sold out, but the 2011 models are coming…

      Even my sophisticated top-of-the-line Pashley Roadster Sovereign, which is the bike that I will ride for the rest of my life, sells for the not-so-whopping sum of £595. See:

      My bike is the gigantic frame double top-tube version because I am a giant.

      Not everything that comes out of China is crap. Flying Pigeon is the world’s largest production bicycle, with over 500 million bikes on the road today. Yes, that’s million with an “m”.

      IKEA could have taken the money that they put into that piece of landfill-ready BSO garbage and put it into a decent bike. With their buying power they could get something like the “Beater” for less than $300. That would be a decent Christmas bonus for their employees.

  5. Rodney
    Rodney says:

    That is a really nice bike! Much better than the one given to the IKEA employees.

    I still feel that it must begin somewhere, even with a BSO. Again, our culture looks down on the bicycle as a viable means of transportation. The knowledge, or lack thereof, on the IKEA folks purchasing these bikes reinforces said culture.

    I’ve purchased a BSO from a local guy because of the “awkwardness” of these bikes. He only rode it twice then gave up. Said it didn’t shift right and his knees hurt after three miles. Adjusted the derailleurs and the seat height and the bike rode fine. My 8 y.o. nephew LOVES it. Its quite the upgrade from his old single speed, coaster brake equipped bicycle.

    A well thought out bike does make the difference. Teaching someone the skills and giving them confidence to use a bike for transport does also.

    • alexcopeland
      alexcopeland says:

      Preach it Rodney!!! 300 bucks is a lot of money for someone who does not yet know the joys and luxuries of riding. My first bike was $120 from walmart. it sucked hard after 6 months of solid riding but lasted about 2 years before I purchased something much better. Rodney is spot on. Its not much, but its a start. Let’s stop throwing stones and acknowledge something positive for a change.

      Also what the hell does BSO stand for?

      • Eric
        Eric says:

        “it sucked hard after 6 months of solid riding but lasted about 2 years before I purchased something much better.”

        You were motivated to ride. When the brake springs went out in the first two months, the spokes kept breaking (I had ridden for 20 years without ever breaking a spoke before), and numerous flat tires left me walking home it began to dawn on me that my purchase was a bad deal. I learned more than I ever wanted to know about bicycle maintenance.

        Other, more sane, people would have quit, thrown the Bicycle Shaped Object (BSO) in the nearest dumpster after the second busted spoke and gone back to driving their car since that is what most people do.

        I suspect we had the same experience, but I know that most people will give up.

        • alexcopeland
          alexcopeland says:

          Hopefully they realize that with more of an investment the good will out weigh the bad. No question my first bike sucked, but it did remind me that riding is fun.

  6. fred_dot_u
    fred_dot_u says:

    I happened across an article about the Ikea bike giveaway a few days ago. Obviously, we who frequent pages such as these have a different outlook than many who do not, when it comes to cycling and commuting. This difference was made shockingly clear when a purported recipient of one of these BSOs posted a comment presenting his anger at “getting a toy” and “something for a child”.

    Even the poorest condition BSO would be a welcome item for many people who have no other form of transportation. I appreciate my choice of transportation all the more for having read the disgruntled commenter’s post.

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