A marketing campaign that has generated backlash in several other cities for its similarity to ghost bikes has been launched in Beaverton and Tigard.
In the past two days we’ve received several reader tips about mysterious, spray-painted orange bikes locked up around Beaverton. One person thought they were a public art project.
Today we asked our friends on Twitter if they’d heard anything and we heard back from Tom at Seattle Bike Blog. He said the bikes were the work of a marketing campaign by a company called Orangetheory Fitness and pointed us to an article about the bikes published by The Stranger back in April 2014.
A few clicks later and we confirmed that Orangetheory has indeed placed the same orange bikes throughout the Beaverton area to promote their new Tigard location.
They posted this on their Facebook page yesterday and a company spokesperson confirmed they have put 14 bikes out in the wild so far:
Interestingly, the company has gotten a backlash about the campaign in several cities because of how the bikes are similar to a well-known memorial tribute to people who have died while bicycling. The spray-painted bikes remind many people of ghost bikes, a phenomenon that has deep meaning among bicycle advocates and others impacted by tragic traffic collisions.
Orangetheory has gotten backlash in Seattle, in Madison, Wisconsin; Orlando, Florida; and elsewhere. In several places, Orangetheory managers agreed to remove the bikes after people expressed concerns.
Here’s what advocates from Naples Velo, a Florida-based bike advocacy group posted to Facebook after they saw the bikes earlier this month:
Despite those concerns, it appears as though this company feels the “buzz” and attention the bikes get outweighs people’s sensitivities around ghost bikes.
So far we haven’t heard of anyone being offended by the Orange bikes in Beaverton. People just seem curious.
Have you seen them? What do you think?
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