Anyone who has lived in Taiwan for any length of time can name the fads that blow across the island, stoking everyone to a frenzy, and then fade away. Egg tarts, koala bears, crane machines, penguins -- the list is endless. Now add bikes to it, as sales are finally starting to fall off. The article says that while sales of high end bikes are stable, and low end (under $6000 NT) are steady, the market for folding bikes -- the chief ride of fad bikers -- has collapsed. The bike market as a whole is set to return to normal after its 2008 peak, it says.
My friend Drew observes on his new cycling blog (that's his pic of me to the left cycling to Guguan).
In a prestige culture, such as Taiwan's , cycling embodies the image of affluence, foreign knowledge and leisure. It embodies the value of technically advanced equipment and a smart looking kit. Cycling, if done right, looks clean, sleek and graceful and has its "Top Guns". Unlike current Taiwanese values, cycling involves hard, physical work and outdoor training to become a strong rider. Many Taiwanese do not value physical exercise and it is not promoted as a worthwhile past time for children when they could be in cram school or learning an instrument. Exposure to direct sunlight is discouraged and brown skin is still regarded as "ugly".
Drew is still tinkering and will probably move to another platform, so I'll make a formal announcement of the blog when he's settled. But in the meantime you can enjoy the pretty pictures.
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