Mark Petry wrote:
However, most modern bikes are spewed out of factories in China using conscripts on forced labour and shipped en masse to markets with armies of ready consumers - a case study in globalization, just another "product" to be used a couple times and discarded in favor of the next gizmo that comes along.
First, you'll need to provide more than your say-so when you assert that Chinese lightweights are being built by conscripts on forced labor. I keep hearing this thrown around like truth, but I've never heard of any reports from NGOs or the like shedding any light on this practice. It just sounds like something grumpy old guys like us use as a half-truth to discredit bikes we don't like, and in some cases fear out of ignorance. Underpaid workers perhaps, but that rests on all of our heads if we buy anything made in China, or virtually anywhere else outside of the U.S., Canada, western Europe, Japan, and a handfull of other places.
Plenty of very nice bikes have been used a couple of times and cast aside, both in the on-topic era and now. Consider how many really clean on-topic bikes we have in our collective posession. My sense is that most Cali Masis, for example, were sold to the same sort of wealthy officebodies that now buy Seven-rottas. I don't know how we could quantify miles of use vs. real dollars spent, but I have ZERO reason to think that new bikes are tossed aside any more readily than the old ones. Just look at how many good quality 1980's bikes you see in use on city streets today.... we're talking about 20+ year old bikes that are often completely original, other than rubber, so they obviously spent some or all of their life getting little or no use. This has gone on forever and will continue to do so. A drop in our collective wealth, as opposed to the steady increase we've had for our nation's entire history could change things and then we'll see the old race bikes turned to grocery getters like they do in Italy. Charming, but not really something to aspire to.
Bethlehem PA, USA
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