Saturday, May 8, 2021

Pandemic Notes, Global Bike Shortage, Hyperinflation on the rise?

 May 2021: While more people are vaccinated, other problems loom in the horizon

Let me start off by saying if you are still reading this blog in 2021, I really appreciate it. I am working on slowly transitioning to Vloging, but don't have the video editing skills needed to create the kind of content I would like to create for my viewers. I have a YouTube channel where I vary my content to attract a larger audience. Currently the channel features skateboarding videos of me because for some reason middle aged skateboarders are becoming more popular. The truth is, just like film photography, storytelling on the printed page is becoming a lost art. It is hard to find those with the ability to ignite our imaginations and keep us wrapt in attention for even 15 minutes to read a blog post. So if you're still here after all of these years, Thank you. The last time blogs were popular we had Nooks and Portlandia wasn't even on Netflix yet. As a matter of fact Netflix still mailed DVDs. Needless to say I don't blog for the money, I do it because it's the medium that I express myself the best in.

Texas is opening up, this time not so prematurely. Vaccines are available to the majority of the population except for kids at this time. While we are still encouraged to wear masks and social distance, the number of COVID cases are continually declining. I look forward to a time where I can take my family to watch a good movie at the drive in or dine in theater. The two to three movies that have come out since the pandemic have all been busts. Whatever happened to feel good, wholesome family entertainment? Along with the many shortages that this pandemic has caused this has got to be one of the hardest ones to deal with. Hollywood really needs to get out of it's depression and give the masses something to take their mind off of the craziness of 2020 that has carried on until now. But a shortage of good movies isn't the only thing that we seem to be lacking as a society. Let's talk about bikes, like we always do, because after all this is a bike blog, not just my life blog.

The global supply chain has not corrected itself. As a matter of fact, it seems to be limping around, fatally wounded. Just yesterday I was at Sun and Ski sports, a popular sporting goods store in my area. Just like Wal-Mart and Target, the bike racks in the stores were almost empty. Whatever was on the shelves looked like they had been purchased from another distributor that the store doesn't normally work with. The bikes looked like overstock items left over from last year. The one singular mountain bike on the shelf that I saw cost $8,000. In a normal time, the same bike wouldn't be worth more than $2K. 

Owning a bike will soon be like owning a pair of Nike Jordan's in the 90's. I hope people don't get shot over a bike like they did for a pair of basketball shoes 30 years ago, but it seems with the way prices seem to be going up for bikes it's only a matter of time before crime takes a hold of the situation. Prices are up so much in fact that domestic production for bikes has a chance of being successful more than ever before. Just like when gas prices went up to $4 a gallon and domestic production for oil ramped up in North Dakota (which was not great at all for the environment, anyone remember the Keystone Pipline?) bicycle manufacturers need to mount a similiar response to the shortage of imported bikes. Putting an item on pre-order just won't cut it in the U.S., that isn't the way business is done here. I wouldn't give any business thousands of dollars for a product I'm not sure that I will ever recieve. My message to online bike retailers and bike shops alike is either have the bicycle in stock, or only charge the customer a refundable deposit to place an item on order. Pre-ordering is getting out of control and we as a society shouldn't accept that as a new norm.  

Growing up, name brand goods and quality bikes were a luxury. It's safe to say my family kept Payless Shoes in business throughout the nineties. When you wanted to spend your saved pennies on something nice, you had to order it through a catalog, then wait for the product to arrive via the snail mail pony express. We are slowly but surely regressing to those times. The problem is the market, our shopping behaviors and society's expectations have moved on from those times. This is causing unprecedented demand for goods that are creating a domino effect of backlogs in other services and industries. What this all leads to is one word, hyperinflation.

Inflation is a lost of confidence in a currency's value. I would compare it to the spillway of a dam,  where excess water sometimes has to be drained. Hyerinflation is a complete rupture of the dam. No matter how much the water runs, it will never fill back up. The dam is a currency's buying power, held together by the market and consumer confidence. The water is currency, and the runoff is inflation. We are headed for a break in a Hoover sized dam. We can look to examples of the detrimental effects hyperinflation can have on countries like Venezuela and Lebanon. Never say "it can't happen here", because that's when it usually happens in your area.

If you have a bicycle and don't need to sell it, now is a good time to hold onto it. Sell it now and you might not be able to replace it. Only sell it in the future as a bargaining item for something else. Stay tuned for more updates from A Bicycle's Point Of View.

No comments:

Post a Comment