I just read this interesting post on Bikeportland by Michael Anderson (not to be confused with Mikael Colville-Andersen.)* It’s titled Why bikes outsell cars in the USA, too (and why it doesn’t matter). Basically the gist is because most bikes in the US are your $99 Wal-mart specials purchased for recreation and never used. But here’s a paragraph that really got my attention:
But here’s the thing, said (Fred) Clement, whose organization (National Bicycle Dealers’ Association) represents and serves hundreds of specialty bike shops nationwide: most American bikes sold (“99 percent” of which, he said, are imports) simply aren’t much fun to ride. They’re either heavy or fragile, and that’s part of the reason that thousands of them them are quickly left to rust in garages. It’s a completely different situation from Europe, where most new bikes tend to be “classic three-speeds — [they’re] heavy and they’re utilitarian, but they’re bomb-proof,” Clement said. “They’re not going to break or wear out.”
Ah, the venerable three speed. Heavy, utilitarian, and bomb-proof. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.
*They definitely wouldn’t wear the same type of pants, for sure.