Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bikes Get the Royal Treatment

Bike promotion can come in more subtle forms than 80,000 cyclists massing on city streets demanding equal rights. In a Hungarian production of The Emperor's New Clothes, currently showing at the Budapest Opera House, the scheming thieves who make the bogus royal outfit arrive at the palace on bicycles. They pedal down the aisle between the seats and then hoist the bikes onto the stage, where they're parked until the closing getaway.

My co-worker, Rachel, who saw the show, wondered if this could be construed as bicycle promotion. I'm sure the intention was for dramatic or comedic effect, but I think, sure, the use of bicycles in entertainment can only be good for the cause. OK, now I'm going to date myself to the Stone Ages: the connection that comes to mind is the Blue Öyster Cult concerts I saw as a teenager. Everytime they played the Steppenwolf cover Born to Be Wild, the lead singer, Eric Bloom, would roll out onstage revving up a big Harley-Davidson chopper. I don't know if this is true, but I wouldn't be surprised if the band would borrow a bike before each show from a local Harley dealership, and probably at no charge, because Harley would just be happy that BÖC were perpetuating the brand's rock-'n'-roll mythos.

I've often thought that the cycling movement could use similar help from the entertainment industry, and it turns out it does! There's some bike blogger in New York who gets occasional gigs as a consultant for bicycle product placements in Hollywood movies. Amazing.

And by the way, if you're Andrew Vajna or some other Hollywood honcho and you need advice on plugging bikes at your next Budapest shoot, you know who to contact.


Anonymous said...

That was actually Eric's bike that he took on tour with them.


Greg Spencer said...

Doesn't surprise me that E Bloom is a bona fide Harley guy.