The WTO riots in Seattle late 1999 got us thinking. The bicycle is probably the only truly world product. Every country uses them, no matter how poor or rich. Easy to make, easy to fix, easy to afford and easy to ride!
We Americans have more bikes per person than China, we just don't ride them! Guess where most of our bikes come from?.........China! From January to July 1999, 6.3 Million bikes were imported from China. Most were sold at department stores like K-Mart and Wal-Mart.
April 2001 Update: There are only 2 companies still mass producing bikes in America, Trek and Cannondale. We now sell Cannondale.
If we really want to affect world change, let's do it with our dollars! Don't purchase products from countries that destroy the environment or trample human rights. We can't have cheap products, high wages and expect everything to be Made in the USA. If we want our people to have a good job and livable income we can't expect everything to be discounted and on sale all the time. When you get that pair of shoes for 20 bucks, do you think of the food you are stealing form someone's plate? Not to mention that you are creating a vacuum for more cheap disposable products. Buy a pair of American made shoes that can be resoled. You will save landfill space and have one pair of comfy shoes you can be proud of!
As a bike shop we are in a paradox. Since the bicycle supports the environment and humans it is a worthwhile vehicle and cause. However, most bikes come from countries that suppress humans. But then, better they make bikes than cars! The Chinese that come to America don't ride bikes, they drive (the American Way!). All I can say is maybe if there are enough bikes made we will get to the 100th monkey.
Huffy, once the #1 American made bike in units sold (also the cheapest) closed its last US factory on December 17,1999. 300 people lost their jobs, Merry Christmas! They chose to send their jobs to China and Mexico. But don't blame them, blame rampant capitalism. They struggle to make a profit because we Americans want everything for the cheapest price possible. We chose to sell a brand of bikes that creates jobs for Americans: Raleigh Bicycles. Their bikes are assembled in Kent, Washington from parts from Taiwan, China, Japan, USA and Indonesia.
April 2001 Update: As of early 2001, Raleigh bikes are now made 100% in China except for some 'high end' bikes made in Taiwan.
Not every country makes the best of everything. We try to stock products that are durable, high quality (helps keep disposable broken products out of the landfill), good value, and the best in their catagory.
Here are some examples:
- MAVIC Rims - France
- CatEye Lights - Japan and other Asian Countries
- DT Spokes - Switzerland & USA
- Continental Tires - Germany, Indonesia and other countries
- Cannondale - USA, but some clothing is made overseas
- Campagnolo - Italy
- Hollywood Car Racks - USA
- Topeak Accesories - Taiwan
- Serfas - Taiwan
- Park Tools - USA
- WTB Parts - USA, Japan, Taiwan
- Ritchey Parts - USA, Japan, Taiwan
- Basic Tires - Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan, China
These tires range in price from $9 to $25
They used to be made in the USA by companies like Carlisle, Goodyear and Coker.
- Slime Tire Sealant - USA
- Shimano Shoes - China
- Trek - USA
- ALL, repeat, ALL Department Store Bikes - Made in China
So you see, the bike really is a world procuct. It would be impossible to stay in business and not buy (sell) products from China and elsewhere. But I think that the benefits of the bicycle outweigh the negatives.
When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.
H. G. Wells (1866 - 1946)
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