I guess this started today, and I have to guess because the 2010 coverage of the North America Handmade Bike show has been quiet. If I light my pipe, pop in my monocle and put on my thinking cap, this minimal coverage might be because NAHBS is going on during in the midst of the Winter Olympics. But lack of news might also be due to the show being in Richmond, VA which means absolutely nothing to me in terms of bike culture (hey, I'm from Portland so you know the snob-factor is high).
Even though NAHBS ticket sales on track to beat PDX's 2008 show, I have to wonder if the show and the industry in general have reached their zenith. Most of this wondering is due to the fact that I blew up my brain reading Niall Ferguson's piece in the latest Foreign Affairs (I get it just for the cartoons) on the cyclical nature of empire. The US might have sold more bikes than cars in 2009, but overall sales were still down. What does that mean for an industry that emphasizes handmade and craft, which usually translate into higher costs? If we want more people to own and ride bikes which type of bikes should the industry be growing? But maybe our economy needs to re-emphasize jobs that produce tangible goods, like these beautiful bikes. I don't know any big economics words to discuss this topic further so I'll end with my last conundrum of the day: since I'm not in Richmond, I won't get to purchase this wonderfully unnecessary espresso tamper from Chris King. So I'll have to figure which Chris King part (the bottom bracket, a hub or headset) I can substitute so I can comfortably drink my Stumptown espresso in a really tiny cup while wearing really tight jeans and then ride my fixie that has a really hard gear ratio.