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Bike fans flex their muscle against General Motors

Cyclists ride through the street at CicLAvia in downtown L.A. October 9, 2011.
Cyclists ride through the street at CicLAvia in downtown L.A. October 9, 2011.
Eric Richardson/KPCC

So it's bikers 1, General Motors 0, after the giant automaker was compelled to pull a bike-unfriendly ad following biker outcry. This is from the LA Times:

General Motors Co. is killing an advertisement aimed at college students after receiving complaints that it makes fun of people who use bicycles for transportation.

That ad has a headline stating, “reality sucks” and depicts a nerdy looking guy wearing a helmet and riding a bicycle being passed by a cute young woman in the passenger seat of a car. It then goes on to say, “Stop pedaling … start driving” and provides information about discount pricing for GM products such as the new 2012 Chevrolet Sonic subcompact sedan and the giant GMC Sierra 1500 truck.

The ad ran in a variety of college newspapers and was turned into a poster that was displayed campuses, according to the automaker.

The advertisement was widely panned on a variety of cycling blogs and in complaints to the company.

Every time I think GM is getting back in touch with the actual American market — as opposed to some nostalgic 1950s market when GM sold one of every two cars in the U.S. — it does something like this. 

Bikers are empowered, active, affluent and in many cases highly motivated to attack car companies for offenses that range from traffic to global warming. They have Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on their side. Also, it seems like 98 percent of the most active bloggers and tweeters and Facebooknicks are bikers. I have tasted their ire firsthand.

Even in car-centric regions like Southern California, there's been a biking explosion. Hmmm... it never rains. Go figure.

In other words, GM has no where to hide. 

What's shocking to me is that something like this could make it through 16 layers of GM marketing review. Would Ford or Honda have made a mistake like this? I doubt it.

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