Here are a couple of photos from Mike Garcia, a collector of old and rare bicycles. What caught my eye in this first photo was the “Chicago, USA” head tube badge. I sometimes forget that our country actually mass produced bicycles at one time.
So what happened? We were once able to cost effectively produce bicycles, and sell them at reasonable prices to the masses. Nowadays, getting a USA made bicycle means you are purchasing a high end, handmade frame from someone’s garage size specialty shop. Once built up, these bikes are well out of the price range that most people can afford or feel comfortable paying for a bicycle.
I often wonder just how much more I’d be paying for a mass produced bicycle that was manufactured here in the United States. Would it be just a couple hundred dollars more? Double the price? I just don’t know. I think most people would be willing to pay a bit more, and in fact take great pride in ownership, of a bike that was made just up the road. Maybe with the failing global economy, we’ll see more localization of production.