Wednesday, August 16, 2023


 NOTE: Okay folks, if you haven't been around long enough here to know what a "Randomonium" post is, then here is the deal. I ramble on about all things cycling (usually, but not necessarily) in one, incohesive, bizarre post. "Randomonium", okay?

Volunteer Day:

The second round of volunteers went through the Cedar Valley Bicycle Collective on Tuesday. I hosted five fellows from the engineering groups at the Collective for four hours. 

The mission was to tear down bicycles which were not viable candidates for refurbishing and sale to collect any parts we might be able to use on rebuilds and for people looking for used parts cheap. I also had the gentlemen tearing apart wheels for bearings and bearing "cones".  We routinely use old bearing cones up for rebuilding wheels with pitted out cone races. 

Even the bearings themselves get re-used and so we keep those and sort through them later. Hopefully the nearly three dozen wheels we went through Tuesday will garner some good, usable parts, but I have to sort through all of that yet.   

Meanwhile these engineers got to use their hands on tools, (they are not allowed to due to Union rules at work), and they learned a bit about bicycle repair in the process of tearing things apart. I guess I did alright in leading them because none of them took the opportunity to complain when given the chance! They even said that they had fun!

Calling Up Old Skills:

Well, I had to dig deep, but I recalled some old repair skills I learned over twenty years ago. My car interior repair skills!

The "Truck With No Name", (2003 Toyota Tundra) had a broken inner door handle. So I got one of those off Amazon, (!!!) and watched a You Tube video, (cheating?), and then I got the door handle swapped out in about an hour. 

The worst part? Getting the circlip off the window crank with a special flattened steel tool blindly, while trying not to tear up or mar the soft, "faux leather" material that the door panel is upholstered in. Actually, that part took longer than everything else combined. 

For those familiar with this, I need not tell you more. If you are only familiar with biccyles, this is akin to internally routed cables. I know bicycle mechanics like to moan on about the difficulties of doing internally routed cables, internally routed handle bars, and pushing brake hoses around bottom brackets, but you have no idea how bad it can get. Doing car work reminded me instantly of this fact. 

Working on these crazy electrified bicycles is a close second. Yeah..... Bike mechanics have it easy in comparison. Much easier.

Source: People For Bikes. Chart seen in a "Bicycle Retailer and Industry News" article.
Big Inventory - Little Sales:

By this time of the year it was hoped that the seasonal higher sales of Summer would eat into the over-stuffed warehouses of suppliers and bicycle brands, but according to an article just published in "Bicycle Reetailer and Industry News" by Rick Vosper, this is not the case at all. 

Recent lay-offs in the industry and bankruptcy filings by various brands have indicated that the industry is in for more turmoil going into 2024. Without a surge in sales volumes, you can plainly see by the chart shown above that something has to give, and it likely won't be pretty when it does. 

What does it all mean for the average cyclist? Well, if you have the money, now and for the foreseeable future, prices will be discounted to crazy levels on many bicycles and cycling gear. But even if that sells some stuff, at the levels which are being reported now, it doesn't seem that it will be enough to even have "decent sales" volumes. 

That's because inventory levels are at a place no one has seen in their lifetimes. Record breaking levels. Crazy levels. That means that we will likely see some bad news about some companies in the future. Which companies and to what extent is anyone's guess at this point. But I think we will all be surprised at some points.

No comments: