An open letter from Matt Holmes of 2020 BMX Magazine to Chain Reaction Cycles, the largest online retailer in the cycling industry (in response to Chain Reaction Cycles enquiring about advertising in his magazine).

Hey Ged,

thanks for getting in touch with the magazine.

So firstly, I may as well get this out of the way. Chain Reaction will never have a place in 2020, BMX on these shores or (if i have it my way) any Australian cycling media.

To take on advertising from you would signal the death of not only my publications, but the DVD’s, TV productions, events I’ve put years into building up. I’d go as far as to say the industry I know here as a whole would be in jeopardy. How you honestly think you can expect me to work with Chain Reaction is beyond me? Arrogant is the only word that I can think of to describe the way Chain Reaction works.

Chain Reactions presence is one that I’ve seen begin to destroy the industry I have lived and breathed amongst as a rider and beyond for more than 25 years. Luckily BMX is not yet under your thumb like the road and MTB worlds on these shores and thats something we’re working very hard to ensure never changes. At ground zero within the BMX community here and hopefully the larger BMX industry world wide. I can add you to the likes of Dans Comp in the way your business model takes from our scene locally.

Taking dollars and jobs from a scene that is small to start with is something I now have to take personally for my own survival. But to add the real truth, your avoidance of Australian Goods and Services Taxes, import duties and warranty costs by your offshore business model, the industry here is simply unable to compete. So not only do you take dollars from the bike industry on an unfair playing ground, you’re taking dollars from our economy at every level. Freeloading on an industry and a country thats been built over years of hard work.

While the big picture paints a grim outlook, on a local scale, it becomes even more apparent. For example. Are Chain Reaction going to be there on a Saturday morning to help a rider with his bike? Are Chain Reaction employing Australian mechanics, sales people, or people to take care of warranty on these shores? Are Chain Reaction going to support grass roots events, large events, sponsor riders or be a part of a scene beyond your massive warehouse? There’s no need to add that your one advertisement (should I choose to take it) would not support the publication I’ve made for 13 years.

All I see is a company with absolutely no interest in anything but taking from the scene I love here. When you’ve undercut every Australian shop and distributor and all local distributions chains and shops are closed, who will be there to help a rider? Who will be the one to give a rider a chance to possibly work in a shop to chase his dream of travelling with his bike? It ain’t Chain Reaction who’ll offer support and knowledge on how to build a bike? To be part of a local skatepark event? It goes further, there will be no avenue for photographers and filmers, to no designers and artists, no one having any kind of support, the scene will have nothing left.

And from there, your sales will drop, as will the parent BMX company you bought from in larger numbers than the local distributor could at the time. Just like the mining industry on these shores, you’ll take all you can and when nothing is left you’ll walk away leaving a shadow of a former scene.

I have to say though, in your defence, I’m impressed with Chain Reactions aggressive move into the United States. To sell there cheaper than the shops can access product from their own country is a brave move. It could just be the impetus the BMX industry as a whole needs to realise the way you do business is leeching the life blood from our scene. And I hope this move is the beginning of not just local distributors and shops in every country that has a small industry being unable to compete against you, but those in the US. The birthplace and core of BMX. As it will be they who make the noise that brings your way of business into the limelight and sees the BMX companies take note. With any luck stopping supply to those that sell beyond geographical boundaries. Your business model in no way supports or grows a brand locally. It’s that simple.

While you may have decimated much of the MTB and road distribution chains and shops here in Australia, the BMX industry here on these shores will go head to head with you. Win or lose it’s a fight both I and the 20inch industry here is willing to take on, and at present there is no choice, we’re in the corner. And I can only hope the world’s BMX industry takes our lead.

Lastly, this and all communications between you and I will be printed online, in print and cc’d to all those that need to know as part of a bigger piece and movement that speaks out against the likes of your employer.

Matt Holmes