Vista Outdoors & Giro/Bell


I am not a gun person. I believe in strong background checks, closing the gun show loophole, and requiring a waiting period for purchasing a gun. I think products like bump stocks, which take an otherwise legal weapon, and effectively turn it into a full-fledged automatic weapon should be banned.

However, I do not advocate banning all or even most firearms, and I am most certainly not a member of the NRA. I believe that the “well-regulated” phrase in the 2nd Amendment needs to be enforced.

As some people have discovered recently, Giro & Bell are owned by a private holding company called Vista Outdoors. The vast majority of Vista Outdoors businesses are gun-related, and Vista Outdoors is a supporter of the NRA.

In the aftermath of the recent shootings in Florida, many people have called for boycotts of Giro & Bell, because of their ownership by Vista Outdoors.

I am very torn about this.

On the one hand, I don’t particularly want any of my money going to a company that supports the NRA, and since I don’t need a helmet or shoes right now, it’s easy to say that I won’t be buying any Giro products.

On the other hand, I also know that Giro & Bell’s businesses are a drop in the bucket with regards to Vista Outdoors overall business; which means that a boycott will likely have very little effect on Vista Outdoors, but could cause a major disruption for the employees at Giro & Bell.

In other words, a boycott of Giro & Bell will likely hurt the people in Santa Cruz, who are more likely to support stronger gun control, a whole lot more than it will harm the suits at Vista Outdoors who support the NRA.

There are other companies who are in their own way just as egregious, but whose products are ubiquitous in the bicycle industry. One such example is DuPont, which has been one of the largest polluters the United States has ever seen. And yet without DuPont, there would be no Lyrca, no Imron paint, no Kevlar, no Teflon, no Coolmax, no Gore-Tex (made with Teflon), and the list goes on.

So what to do?

Give up the sport that I love because it’s almost impossible to escape the industry’s ties to companies that do some pretty nasty shit?

Or continue to support good companies in the business of making and selling cycling equipment, even though their ownership has ties to companies that make products that I don’t like, ties which are almost completely out of the control of the rank-and-file folks working for the cycling company?

And as I type it out, the answer for me becomes more clear. I will continue to support the rank-and-file employees who have no control over what the ownership of their company does.

I can’t say that I will buy Giro or Bell products in the future, but I will not rule them out for something that they cannot control.