Re: [carfree_cities] Bicycles as environmental goods
- On May 1, 2006, at 4:41 AM, Andras Toth wrote:
> I know it is simplistic to say that cheap bicycles are all bad andYes, it's true about the effect of bad bicycles, but the problem is
> that the good ones can only be big names worth at least 600 USD, on
> the other hand we cannot deny either that someone unexperienced could
> be deterred from everyday cycling by a bad quality bicycle.
that even the good ones are imported, for the most part.
Kogswell.com is in the process of contracting a Taiwanese factory to
make a quality commute bike--better than the Dutch style stuff for US
distances--that they hope to sell for around $200. That's still more
than Wal*Mart/K-Mart rices, but I know Kogswell's quality and it
would be immeasurably better. There is NO ONE attempting this in
the US despite considerable unused industrial infrastructure and a
lot of people with good hands and eyes looking for work. I have been
making hints on the bike forums that perhaps the folks I know of that
are setting up bicycle factories in Ukraine, Africa, etc. and
training locals in framebuilding could do the same thing in the US
and tie in with local marketing/design companies such as Kogswell.
But as long as cheap oil subsidizes the boat ride over from China,
and as long as Americans are willing to compromise every possible
fragment of product quality for a low price, it will be difficult.
Even Taiwan bikes are "too expensive" for many Americans--Americans
who have money even. They're unusable, being really just frail icons
of bicycles, but they're cheap, and it's illusions we buy here in the
land of products made to be sold, not to be used. The illusion of
freedom a car gives you while putting you in bondage, the illusion of
community in suburbs with quaint monikers where you don't know your
next-door neighbor's name....
Nevertheless, making good bicycles available cheaper, as tariff
reductions would do (even US made frames sport Japanese or Italian
parts) would be a small step forward. It would also symbolize a
commitment to oil-free transport, which is more important in the
short term. The details can be adjusted later.