Do not ride at night

16Nov12

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This Schwinn and Raleigh were right next to each other on the rack. They’re ostensibly supposed to be city bikes; they’re basically the same variation of the hybrid shape–which I’ve never really understood. It’s a hybrid of mountain and … road? Because these are really just mountain bikes with slightly less terrible bars. The Schwinn even has a rack. And here’s something else they both share:

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The Schwinn’s says DO NOT RIDE AT NIGHT whereas the Raleigh’s is more generous with Night Riding is Dangerous – See Owner’s Manual, where I can only assume it tells you not to ride at night.

The problem here is mall bikes. Both these brands used to make really high quality mass-produced bicycles, bikes that would hold up for decades, bikes that people used. These bikes are junk. I have a colleague who recently bought a Schwinn because of what the brand meant when he was a kid. He isn’t riding it anymore because it refuses to work and hardly did the day he bought it.

So you have big box stores staffed by people who don’t know a thing about bikes selling junk that doesn’t function. In very short order you’re going to end up with a manufacturer so uninterested in actually making bikes that the legal department will put a sticker on your model made for urban transportation telling its user not to do anything of the sort.

Too bad, because night riding is great.

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