At the same time, bicycles can just as well be used as symbols of contemporary culture.
Do bank notes qualify as a product? I guess they do. Someone designs them after all, with both function and aesthetics in mind. While in Antrim, I was intrigued to discover there is an antique path racer on the Northern Ireland 10 pound note. I looked it up, and learned it is in honour of John Dunlop, who invented the pneumatic tyre whilst living in Belfast. So here the bicycle is part of a narrative about heritage - with additional implications of self-sufficiency and freedom of travel. More than anything, I find it delightful to know that about a million people in Northern Ireland are walking around with pictures of vintage bicycles in their pockets.
There is always talk among bicycle activists about how to create positive associations with cycling in the public's eye. Meanwhile, other industries harness the already existing positive associations to enhance the appeal of non-bicycle-related products. Interesting how these things connect, overlap and feed off of each other.
I wonder to what extent it is cyclists who find bicycle-branded products appealing because they identify with the bicycle, as opposed to non-cyclists whose imagination is engaged by the mere idea of the bicycle. I suppose it is probably both.