With winter almost officially over (although it may not feel like it depending on which part of the country you live in) the thoughts of many Americans are turning to spending more time outdoors. If that outdoors time includes cycling and you want to buy American, you're going to have to think outside the big-box and take a road less traveled to get an American-made bicycle.
This means if you think you're going to walk into a Wal-Mart, Target or Sears and find a bicycle with a "Made in USA" tag on it, you're going to be disappointed that you wasted your time as well as your car's gas that you'll have to replenish at over $3.00 per gallon.
It follows then that we need a Buy American strategy before we blindly head out the door hunting for American-made Huffy for under a hundred bucks. It's not going to happen. Awareness is the key, and such a Buy American strategy should apply whether you're looking for bicycles or Band-Aids.
Two of the more-popular names in bicycles are Trek and Cannondale, but it's difficult to find American-made bikes from these brands for under $1,000.00. I bought my American-made Trek 1200 bike used for $400.00 over 10 years ago (I don't do a whole lot of cycling). Most of the high-end, carbon-frame bikes from Trek are made in USA, with their low-end, heavier aluminum frame bikes imported. Cannondale, which not long ago prided themselves as having their complete line handmade in USA, is now importing their lower-end, lower-priced bikes from overseas. Trek and Cannondale are usually brands that are sought after by serious bike enthusiasts. You can locate dealers for Trek bikes at www.trekbikes.com and Cannondale bikes at www.cannondale.com.
But what if you're not a super-serious bike enthusiast that wants a basic, casual, American-made bicycle for a cheaper price? Worksman Cycles (www.worksmancycles.com) have been proudly made in USA since 1898, and you can custom design your own Worksman Custom Cruiser for $299.00. You can also find 3-wheeled tricycles for $449.00.
Worksman Cycles prides themselves in the higher-quality of their bikes over the typical import, and they're not shy in telling you about it. On their website, they tell the reader "To be perfectly frank, if you are looking for ordinary run of the mill imported cruiser bikes, shop somewhere else."
If you're in the market for an American-made bike with more of a retro-style feel, check out Aero-Fast bicycles at www.aerofast.com. All Aero-Fast bicycles are made in Jacksonville, Florida. Their least expensive model is the Beach Bomber Econo for $449.00, with almost all of their bikes costing under $1,000.00.
Bike riding is a source for recreation, relaxation and good health for many Americans. By buying an American-made bike, you can better your own health as well as the health of the U.S. economy, and that's better for all Americans whether they ride bicycles or not.
Roger Simmermaker is the author of How Americans Can Buy American: The Power of Consumer Patriotism. He also writes "Buy American Mention of the Week" articles for his website www.howtobuyamerican.com and is a member of the Machinists Union and National Writers Union. Roger has been a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC and has been quoted in the USA Today, Wall Street Journal and US News & World Report among many other publications.