Wednesday, September 28, 2005

"Made in the USA"

My goal is a simple one: find a cruiser-style (i.e. not "mountain" or "bmx") bicycle for somewhere around $100 or less that was manufactured in the United States by citizens of the United States in order to support American jobs... I do *not* want to buy a bike from China and I refuse to support the outsourcers, even if they have a perfectly lovely looking one for $53.97 at Walmart down the street. I want a bike to take around the neighborhood, to the grocery store for little things, and for exercise in the park. Is that so much to ask? Apparently so...

None of the major bike manufacturers manufacture their bicycles in the US anymore... Schwin, Pacific, Roadmaster, and Mongoose have *all* been bought out by a Canadian conglomerate "with offices in Asia." ::rolls eyes:: Huffy prominently displays "Made in China" on the frames of all their bikes, which is disappointing because the bike I had when I was in grade school was a "made in the USA" Huffy. Murray, although apparently British-owned, once made bikes in the US, but appears to have gone out of business because I can't find them *anywhere* on the net, let alone in stores. I went to hoping for help, but most of their info is either out-of-date or for Lance Armstrong wannabes... (I don't want a $300+ handmade-in-California-on-the-beach road bike for racing... I just want a nice, simple 26" lady's 1-speed bicycle, maybe with a nice little basket on the front or over the back wheel. Why is that so difficult?)

So I thought, okay, used... So I looked up bicycle shops in Tampa in the phone book. There is literally one place listed that says it has used bikes in the greater Tampa/St. Pete area, called "Anne's Attic" in extreme South Tampa, about an hour's drive from here. The place that used to have used bikes near the University has gone all new and mostly high-end (which makes no sense to me whatsoever)... and "Play It Again Sports," the used sports equipment store three blocks from here, says that they rarely get any bikes in these days. There's one place which might have some that I haven't checked yet - the Pawn Shop near the University (because occasionally there will be some displayed out on the curb), but anyone who's been around that part of Tampa knows why I hesitate to venture over there alone. Even fastfood restaurants in that part of town go into lockdown with bars on their windows as soon as the sun sets.

So, yeah, looks like for the moment I'm SOL, unless anyone has any suggestions...

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