Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

28 July 2016

What's This Bike Doing On the Place des Invalides?

The Retrogrouch has written an excellent series about the rise and fall of the US bicycle industry, and how the rise helped to make Shimano the largest component manufacturer.  In the third of his four installents, he discusses the rise and fall of Schwinn.  One commenter made a couple of interesting points, one of which is that the "Bike Boom" didn't happen in Europe because Europeans didn't have one or two generations that didn't ride bikes, and bikes made decades ago are still in use.

That commenter also couldn't understand why The Retrogrouch and others were describing Schwinn as the top Amerian bike.  That commenter had never seen. let alone ridden, one.  Come to think of it, the few Schwinns I've seen in Europe were ridden by Americans who brought them for tours or other rides.


See original image

Today I saw something that's even rarer than a Schwinn in Europe:  a Ross.  A Eurotour, no less. Isn't it funny that an American company would call something "Euro" when it has no connection with this continent--and it ends up here anyway.  It's like McDonald's selling "French Fries" to the French.



I didn't get a chance to take a photo of that bike, as I was dodging and weaving traffic near the Place des Invalides, where the bike was parked.  But it's the same model as the one in the image above.  I'd be curious to know how that bike got here.  These days, most airlines charge over 100 dollars to bring a bicycle aboard.  (For a long time, Air France and other airlines simply counted it as one of your checked bags--they allowed two--as long as it wasn't over the weight limit.)  Although there's nothing wrong with the Ross, I simply can't see spending that much to bring it along unless you're moving here and absolutely love its ride, or if it has sentimental valus for you.

Tomorrow I will tell you some more about my adventures here. 

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