What a pleasant surprise!

I love surprises.

I got a great surprise yesterday.

The surprise had to do with a product made by members of our extended American family.

Which if you have been reading my blog for any period of time is probably not that surprising to you.

But what was surprising to me was that I had been using an American product for ages, but I didn’t even know it!

For most people in the country, last month was a scorcher.  Lots of fires and lots of sweating.  Not so in my hometown of Seattle.  Almost three inches of rain and an average temperature of 58.  A real nice start to summer.  But sadly fairly typical for Seattle.  But summer finally arrived on July 4th in time for the Lake Union Fireworks.  After the fireworks, my wife asked me to clean up and tune up our bicycles so our family could do some bike trips later in the summer.

I have an old Raleigh mountain bike that I think I got in the early 1990s.  At the time it was sort of cutting edge because the frame was made out of aluminum.   As I cleaned the crusted crud off the right chainstay, the words “Made in the USA” emerged.  I don’t remember trying to select a bike manufactured by members of our extended American family back in the 1990s, but maybe I did.  But I am pleased as punch that my old school Raleigh mountain bike was made on these shores.

Raleigh was founded in 1890 in England and once made nearly one million bicycles a year at its factories in Nottingham.  Raleigh made its last bike in England in 2002; all Raleigh bikes are now made in Vietnam, Korea or Bangladesh.  I am not sure how many bikes Raleigh made in the U.S., but there are very few firms making bikes here in the States these days.  But I am going to introduce you one firm making cutting edge custom bikes in Seattle within the next few weeks.  The firm is R&E Cycles and they have a wonderful story; I look forward to sharing it with you soon.

About Simply American LLC

I live in Seattle and love telling stories about Americans, the places where they work and the things that they make. I have just published a book, Simply American, encouraging Americans to purchase American made products; the book can be ordered at www.simply-american.com.
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1 Response to What a pleasant surprise!

  1. Pete from Baltimore says:

    I bought a Raliegh a few years back, since i thought the sticker said “Made in USA”. But later found out that it said “Designed in USA”. Raliegh does make a good middle price ranged bike.But they are owned by Giant.which makes its bikes in China and Taiwan. None are made in America Cannondal used to make its bikes near Bedford PA. I once bicycled along the Lincoln Highway on an 800 mile bike trip through PA and Maryland.And i stopped at a bar to get something to eat [ a few miles west of McConnelsburg PA]. I asked the bartender what people in that area did for a living. She replied that most of the factories had closed down.She listed about 5-7 factories that had closed own in the past 5 years[this was back in 2009]. She told me that the Cannondale bike factory was the only factory still open [i saw it later,when i rode past. It was a pretty big factory

    Sadly, two years ago Pacific Cycles [ which bought and ruined Schwinn a few years ago] bought Cannondale .And they immediatly closed the PA plant. I think that a few very high end [ $1000 and up]Cannondales MAY be still made in America. But not in the Bedford factory.And i really dont think that they make any in America ,anymore

    There are still one or two bicycle factories in America. I will try to look them up for you. I believe one is called “workman”.It makes bikes in NYC and caters to people that use bikes for work[factories, delivery people ect] I once saw one used at a scrapyard near me. The bikes have huge front metal baskets for carrying stuff around mills and factories. There is also a bike company that makes bikes in Wisconsin. I will try to look it up

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