With the Republican National Convention in Cleveland rapidly approaching, local officials are taking advantage of a $50 million federal security grant to stock up for the coming protests.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Andrew J. Tobias reports some recent purchases:

Three-hundred bicycles and 310 bike helmets from Safariland, LLC, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based manufacturer of police equipment, for $386,800. City officials picked Safariland over two competing bids, including a $565,269 offer from Volcanic, LLC, a Seattle-based company.

The Scrapbook, which occasionally uses D.C.'s Capital Bikeshare system to avoid giving more money to Washington's failed Metro system, was intrigued. So we reached out to Safariland, LLC, and the City of Cleveland to learn more about the contract. After all, that's a lot of money for 300 bicycles that will be used for a week or two. Neither Safariland nor the City of Cleveland responded to a request for comment.

According to their website, Safariland sells black police bicycle helmets for $55. Cleveland opted for the considerably more expensive Bell Super 2R MIPS helmets, which Safariland is selling for $145 each. The helmet, which looks like an elaborate hockey mask designed for motocross bikers, seems classy indeed.

As do the bicycles. Cleveland's bid request seeks "Polic [sic] Patrol Bikes—Volcanic VX7 or approved equal or better as specified in Section C and D of the attached specifications."

Safariland's website does not list the Volcanic VX7, only the Safariland®/Kona® Patrol Bike - 29˝ Wheel bicycle, which retails for $1,589.95. Cleveland is getting them for the low, low price of $1,124.50. Here's how the bicycle is described:

Built with the same handcrafted power and excellence you've come to expect for our legacy law enforcement and security products, The Safariland®/Kona® Patrol Bike delivers optimum performance. Designed by law enforcement officers for law enforcement officers, the Safariland/Kona Patrol Bike was built from the ground up to offer the advanced features needed on patrol today.


The Scrapbook got a kick out of this line: "The 29-inch wheels allow riders to clear obstacles such as curbs and stairs effortlessly."

A similarly sized bicycle from Walmart retails for $149, but since we don't know what the Safariland bicycle is outfitted with, it's hard to know whether Cleveland got a good deal. Does it come with a carrier rack? Lights? Sirens? Who knows?

One thing's for certain: When the tear gas is flying and you're running from heavily armored riot police with ASP batons, the police officer ordering you to get down on the ground will have a much easier time on a $1,000 bicycle complete with lights and sirens.

Especially if it involves stairs or curbs.