Yesterday, I got tagged in this tweet of an orange-painted bicycle chained up next to an I-5 overpass:
@dominicholden want to bring some public shame to orange theory? capitalizing on the #ghostbike movement is bullshit. pic.twitter.com/0zvZwo4qBg
— mik nei (@mik_nei) April 4, 2014
According to the internet, the bikes began appearing around town last year to promote a new Orange Theory Fitness gym opening on Queen Anne. Now that Orange Theory Fitness has another gym opening later this month, the bikes are popping up on Capitol Hill. "It was a marketing campaign recommended by our main office in Fort Lauderdale," said the general operations manager for Orange Fitness's Seattle locations, who refused to give her name. "It is a buzz campaign."
For the person who tweeted at me, the meme seems pretty obvious: For about the last 10 years, activists have been leaving ghost bikes painted white at the scene of accidents as memorials to cyclists who have died. For their part, the company seems to both acknowledge the relationship between their campaign and the white bikes, while also distancing themselves from it.
"I understand the purpose of a memorial versus our marketing campaign," the general manager said. "I see them as very separate. We have been trying to partner with the white bike campaign in the past and we are not to trying to offend anybody at all."
Update at Noon: OH, LOOK AT WHAT IS SUDDENLY NOT THERE: