Sunday, July 26, 2015
I stood in front of a Mainz bike shop on Friday.....admiring their five-star bike in the window. This was a battery-powered deal and had all the bells and whistles....at a cost of 4,599 Euro. Yeah, a heck of a price.
From what I could figure....it was German-made and had a lot of modern technology built into it. It's the kind of bike that you'd have to go and buy special insurance for, because of the theft potential. I won't even take a guess on the insurance cost per year, but it's safe to say it won't be cheap.
Who buys a bike like this? It's out of range for roughly fifty-percent of German society. Most folks don't have four and a-half thousand Euro to throw at a bike in this range. The cheaper Chinese made bikes? You can go buy at a fair price.....roughly 250 to 400 Euro a decent bike which would probably last three to five years. In the case of this bike in the picture.....if you replaced the battery every three or four years.....it'd probably still be around in twenty years....unless it got stolen.
Bike usage in Germany? Well....it goes up and down. In a lot of rural areas, you won't find that many folks who use a bike at least once a week. In my old village near Kaiserslaturn....I'd take a guess that barely two percent of the locals rode at least once a week. In the urbanized areas like Wiesbaden or Mainz.....it might be closer to five to eight percent.
Oddly, if you go walking through both Wiesbaden and Mainz....you tend to say that Mainz is more bike-friendly than Wiesbaden....with dedicated biking areas noted in the middle of Mainz. Mainz though....is a university town and I think that plays into the situation. Over the past year, I've noted comments by the Wiesbaden political folks that they want suggestions on how to make Wiesbaden more bike-friendly. They might be willing to throw more money at projects, but it's hard to say how you'd create the atmosphere here.
All of this brings back to the topic of how prices on bikes have changed over three or four decades. You can't be marvel at how engineering has take the simple bike and made it ten times better, but also tossed the old pricing scheme for a loop. What happens in another thirty-odd years? It'll be curious to see.
at 1:12 AM