We know, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. But if that proverbial stallion is a business executive chomping on inexpensive Swedish meatballs, well, perhaps take some heed. The news this past week that Scandinavian retail giant IKEA had given “all-terrain bicycles” to its workforce — all of its 12,400 employees in the U.S.! — to celebrate a profitable year was revered in major media as a generous act of Holiday giving and a nod to the support of clean transportation. Sounds good on paper — a cavalry of employees riding to work. But shield your eyes, dear gear junkies, for the gift bikes appear to be about as cheap and ugly as two-wheelers come.
To be sure, the company’s motives are in the right place. “We hope this bike will be taken in the spirit of the season while supporting a healthy lifestyle and everyday sustainable transport,” said the U.S. president of IKEA. A company press release continued: “. . .when it comes to sustainable transport, a bicycle is a great option.”
For sure, all that is true. But on this hunk o’ junk? If a bike doesn’t fit and performs poorly, is it a bike worth riding? That’s a question for IKEA employees to answer, many of whom are undoubtedly thrilled to get the gift. Maybe a few months on this beast will convince new riders to upgrade to a better bike.
Final note: In keeping with the company’s ethos, some assembly is required. The bike comes in a flat pack. No word on the requirement of an IKEA key wrench.