Has anyone else noticed that the quality of products that are produced today and that I buy with my own money does not seem to stack up with that of those made just 30 years ago and paid for by my parents? Back then you could usually tell by the brand name whether or not the quality was to be trusted. If it was from Sears and it was a tool, it was good. If it was from Sears and it was an Atari gaming system clone…well, you can forget playing that free Combat game that everyone else got… And if you were over at your friends’ house, they wouldn’t want to play Combat with you because that was the only game they had for 6 months and they were sick of it already. But they wanted to play that stupid Target Fun game that yours came with, and that you were sick of…
Wait, where was I? Oh, yes – Often the quality of a company’s products might slowly decline over time, while taking advantage of a name that remains vaguely associated with quality. Or a multinational planet-raper can easily and cheaply purchase a quality name rather than putting in the effort and financing required to cultivate and produce those quality products themselves, and thus that quality name is simply sold to the highest bidder. So it is hard to tell what you are getting when something is labeled with a once-proud name like Schwinn, Jeep, Sony, or the Republican Party.
I’ve noticed this is especially the case with bicycles. I am much bigger and I hope still stronger than I was when I was 10. However, I seem to remember being able to lift my bicycle back then. Today, bikes seem to weigh about 100 pounds. I’m not a metallurgist, but did we run out of the lighter metals or something?
And I seem to remember gears being a pretty straightforward thing. You flip the dial to the other speeds and it would pretty much change. And stay in the new gear. Crap bikes today seem to change gears on their own. Or they stay in perpetual state of in-between gears until you pick one that stops making noise. Seriously, bike-makers…this is not sprocket science.
And the biggest problem I have with bicycles made these days is that the tires do not hold air. Now, this is a technology that’s been around since right after the invention of the nail. And the fact that my bike’s tires will not hold air from one ride to the next is crippling to my health, because bike riding is my sole form of exercise. And if you can’t count on a tire to hold air for 2 years at a time, what can you count on?