So, as you may or may not know, I’m fulfilling one of my childhood dreams. In addition to the software development, IT and plumbing, I’ve been working as a part-time bicycle mechanic for the past six months or so. It’s good work, if you can find it.
Anyway, I’ve been following the Australian bicycle industry since I’ve moved here, and recently read two very good articles on the local and global bicycle industry. Here’s your summer reading list.
- First, Cycling IQ has a great series on vertical integration in the bicycle industry using the Australian market as an example in ‘Vertical Limit‘.
- Second, INRNG has a short piece, ‘Who made your bike?‘, which should be pretty self explanatory.
A recent personal experience with some of the practices outlined in the Cycling IQ article concern the origin of those shiny silver 105 lervers that found their way onto the purple plastic Trek (which was made in Wisconsin by someone wearing a cheese hat, and since it was 1994, likely a mullet). The levers were ordered from the UK, but not from the huge online shop you’d expect. The obviously-new levers arrived in unmarked plastic bags along with similar bags containing the cables, housings and other small parts, and all for significantly less than the wholesale Australian cost for the same levers in a retail box.
Where did these come from? Read the Cycling IQ article and decide for yourself. I’m not going to make a judgement on these practices– there are clear winners and losers on both/all sides any way you look at it.
Finally, who made my bikes? Well, as I already mentioned, the Trek was made in Wisconsin, as was the Gunnar. The Eriksen was made in Colorado, and the Kona was probably made by someone in the INRNG article.
What does this mean? Not much. While there is a certain amount of pride riding a bike made in your own country, all it really means is that the Trek and Gunnar would probably sound funny if they spoke.