American Bicycle Group on Friday announced that it will change the name of its high-performance gravel and mountain bike, currently branded Ocoee. The adventure brand was named based on an area close to the company in the mountains of eastern Tennessee where outdoor adventure abounds.
However, on Wednesday, when ABG CEO/President Peter Hurley was made aware that the name “Ocoee” is also associated with the 1920 lynching of an African American on election day in Ocoee, Florida and the burning of that African American community, he felt the immediate need to erase any unknowing or accidental connotation by the brand of racial inequality.
The 1920 Ocoee Election Day Riots are relatively unknown and were highlighted as an example of African American history that needs to be elevated through education, said officials. On Tuesday, Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed a new law requiring that Florida education include events like the election day riots, and other lynchings and acts of racial violence that are currently not part of regular African American curriculum.
“All of our brands are about providing equal access to everyone, in sports and in life,” said Mr. Hurley. “In originally naming the bike 'Ocoee,' our focus was on enjoying and exploring the outdoors and adventure. We had no understanding or knowledge of any other potential meaning or historical reference to the word. Now that we are aware of what Ocoee can also mean, it will be changed. Our entire team supports racial equality and stands ready to create a new name that reflects our beliefs.”
ABG is in the process of exploring a new name for the bike, including researching the historical background of potential names and doing a legal check of previous name registrations. ABG customers who currently own an Ocoee bike will be notified at a later date of the plan to switch out decals at no-cost. Bikes that are currently in production will be decaled with the new name.