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Re: [carfree_cities] Bicycles as environmental goods

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  • Richard Risemberg
    ... Yes, it s true about the effect of bad bicycles, but the problem is that even the good ones are imported, for the most part. Kogswell.com is in the process
    Message 1 of 8 , May 1, 2006
      On May 1, 2006, at 4:41 AM, Andras Toth wrote:
      > I know it is simplistic to say that cheap bicycles are all bad and
      > 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.
      Yes, it's true about the effect of bad bicycles, but the problem is
      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.

      Rick
      --
      Richard Risemberg
      http://www.rickrise.com
      http://www.newcolonist.com
      http://www.living-room.org
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