The launch of a new name is never taken lightly, and in the case of Obed, we do so with the values and heart of our company.
Being located in the culture-rich state of Tennessee, we are always proud to pay homage to our region. Beset on all sides by beautiful rolling forests filled with meandering trails, lazy creeks and craggy canyons, we’ve always been honored to impart our brand after local trails, mountains and rivers. Such was true when we chose the name Ocoee in 2019 for our burgeoning gravel and mountain bike company, hearkening to the nearby Ocoee River, a tributary that flows just east of our Chattanooga headquarters. It’s simply our way of establishing a sense of place with you, our customers, showing you who we are. Thus, it was saddening for our team to learn that in the 1920s, a racially motivated massacre related to voting suppression that took place in a town of the same name in Florida.
So we opted to change. And while we change our name, we still retain that hearkening to our Tennessee roots… with Obed.
So what is Obed? It’s a gorgeous 45-mile long river to our north, with many of its miles maintained and protected by the National Park Service, designated as a national wild and scenic river in 1976. A fishing and hunting area during the pioneer days, the Obed River is dotted by mountain bike, hiking trails as well as white water rafting and rock climbing points. It’s the area’s vitality that represents everything our bike brand should encompass.
With that in mind, we are proud to debut Obed. We’re excited to share with you our continued passion to ride and inspire. And of course, we look forward to seeing you out on the trails.
See statements regarding the decision to move forward with the rebrand from our CEO, Peter Hurley, below.
Onward with Obed
Published July 7, 2020
Just over a year ago when we launched our new gravel / off-road brand, we could have hardly imagined the road ahead. We set out for an adventure, and we've certainly had our share.
From the outset, Ocoee bikes — a full line of gravel, mountain, and all-road — were received by consumers with a genuine enthusiasm, both here in our hometown of Chattanooga and across the country. We found out pretty quickly that the market was ready for a bike brand that took authenticity as a charge and still offered a high-quality bike at fair price. Sales grew. And, like so many of you who have experienced the joy of adventure and gravel cycling, we found a community of people who were just as passionate about the sport as we are.
Last week, though, we learned that our name, Ocoee, was associated with an awful historic massacre meant to suppress the African American vote in the early 20th century. As a group, we knew immediately, and to our core, that the brand we had built on a basis of trust with our customers couldn't continue to reference this type of event. I challenged my team to find a new name and we reached out to our community for input and honest dialogue.
Our team stepped up. Our customers stepped up. And, today, we're excited to share the new name: OBED. The name is an homage to the scenic Obed River area — a source of awesome recreation activities including rafting, camping, and rock climbing — which runs right through our backyard here in Tennessee.
Undoubtedly, some will see our name change as a political statement given the current highly partisan climate in our country. We see it, though, in the best American tradition of seizing an opportunity to improve and build toward a better future.
Onward with Obed.
- Peter Hurley, CEO American Bicycle Group
Building for the Future
Published on June 29, 2020
For those of you who don't know me or who haven't had the chance to meet me at an event, a bit of background: I grew up in New England a generation ago, but I see so many parallels in the world of late 1960s and today. For my generation, we dealt with the strife and divisiveness of the Vietnam War and were also witness to the advances and courage of the civil rights movement.
Over the past few days, I've become aware of a horrible event associated with our brand name, Ocoee. With fair warning, I invite you to read about the Ocoee Massacre here.
As our team here in Tennessee grows, it's simply not tenable to set a path forward that builds on the legacy of this event, so we're going to do what we always do: lead with integrity.
This means a new brand name, of course, but also new decals available for those who have already purchased an Ocoee, a review of our internal statement on diversity and inclusion, and the opportunity to set a precedent of goodwill.
This is not about politics. We're building for the future. That means an engaging and honest conversation with our customers at all levels. And, we're asking everyone along for the ride.
- Peter Hurley, CEO American Bicycle Group