If you've been tempted by that shiny new fixed gear bike — you know, the one that winks at you suggestively every time you pass your local bike shop — you might want to go ahead and splurge on it now. Advanced word coming from the Taipei International Cycle Show indicates the cost of bikes will rise eight to ten percent in 2008.
Why the sudden price jump for two-wheelers? Blame it on Big Red: China is expected to close their steel plants before and during the Olympic games in an effort to reduce their notoriously noxious air quality. These closures will likely result in across-the-board steel shortages. Most bike companies are still reliant on Chinese steel, so the potential lack of raw materials for essential bike components creates some serious problems for bike manufacturers and consumers alike.
An additional butyl shortage means inner tube prices could increase 42 percent — which amounts to about $8 for a single tube. Combine these factors with a weak-and-getting-weaker dollar, and biking takes one step closer to residing exclusively within the provenance of the wealthy.
Can you imagine if owning a bike actually became a status symbol for the rich again? It'd be like the 1890s all over again, with gentlemen and ladies of refinement wearing monocles and top hats, pedaling around town ostentatiously astride their brand-new Trek velocipedes.
Then again, maybe it'd just be like Boulder, Austin, or Portland on a Friday night. — Ted Alvarez
Via The GOAT