is it what your sellin or what your buyin?

i listen to a far amount of NPR at the shop to pass the days of filing and lately i have been hearing about the faltering US economy and the ripple effect it is having throughout the world. i have never claimed to have a profound economic understanding of the world but it is worrisome to hear about the global panic.

years ago my friend eric zo made me a zo wallet and when he handed it to me, he told me that every time you open it up, you are voting. spending money is the same thing as casting a ballot and i think about that when ever i pick something up and see a made in China or Taiwan or Mexico (or even some plastic useless thing built in the US). it hurts my head to fathom the complexity of the world of global trade but i know that sometimes the best solution is the simplest. spent locally and be aware of not only what you are consuming but also what you are producing. i still wonder about how far down this fallout will reach.

will i be able to support myself with frame-building? right now it hasn’t seemed to have affected me much leading up to the show but we will see what happens after the handmade bicycle show. i know that my mission with every bike i build is that it will be ridden and used and maybe make a impact in the world in the form of less gas being used and maybe a trip to a local farm or farmer’s market. when i look at the price of a handmade bicycle, it seems expensive but then if i turn on the television or open a paper, the ads for cars and pricey handbags are more expensive by comparison for how they have effected the global economic state. i have faith in humanity to think that we will wake up and see the world falling around our ears and be able to make some changes on a personal and habitual level to curb some of the damage we are capable of.

while i wait, i am going to go to work and build bicycles by hand and know that what i am building has the potential energy to benefit the world and the economy for the better. support your local business and everyone will benefit.

5 Responses to “is it what your sellin or what your buyin?”

  1. bikeiowa Says:

    I slept quite a lot in my Econ 201 class.
    I think the more messed up the world economy gets the better it will be for the bicycle builder and repairer. I can not say I share your faith in humanity, the tragedy of the commons is a sound concept I think, but that is not to say I live without hope. Sure most people in the US drive to work but I do all my work with the IBC and our local Bike to Work group to try and get as many folks as possible to change their dirty stinking filthy deadly habits. I try to live by example by riding everywhere (almost) and taking the train to PDX to visit my friend rather than flying and living small and simple. I still feel pathetic when I hear on NPR that my household of 4 (2 people, 2 cats) uses as much water in a month as the average Chinese family uses in a year and I get really confused as to what the best consumer choice is for all people and animals on the planet. Can’t wait to get another rebate check. Stupid fucking politicians…

  2. ari from Chicago Says:

    Good to hear this topic coming up on the blogs. I have struggled to live small at the expense of fellow neighbors and citizens thinking I am fuckin’ nuts. YOU ride in this weather?? IT’s Chicago you know!! We have created such a huge mess in this country with the war, the environment, lack of insurance, work, oh man the list goes on. I hope to get to meet more people like you guys and further my measly green effort that we make at home.
    I even collect my coffee and composting waste and take it to my mother in law in a bucket. I guess we should not get down and just think positive. Ira keep pounding out those awesome bikes. G-Pickle, I hope to share a beer with you one day.

  3. Darren P Says:

    Ditto the above sentiments, but back to bikes and specifically bike parts. Outside of bike frames, where do we get local or even US of A drivetrain, tires, wheels, shifters, saddles? Is there a 100% local bike? I’d like to see it.

  4. louis Says:

    High quality bike parts can be a good deal in relative terms. About 3 years ago I was weighing competing unnecessary luxury purchases: Rohloff Speedhub vs. Apple Powerbook.

    I went with the Rohloff for a few reasons: 1st world labor (Germany), durability, incentive to get out of the house. A few years later, I’m really glad. The Powerbook would seem slow and cranky by now, while the Speedhub is still just dreamy.

  5. Craig Says:


    If a person really wants a thing, he finds a way to get it.
    You craft beautiful machines, and one day I will have one.
    The world economy certainly influences your ability to craft bikes for a living, but it is not the controlling factor.
    It’s you. Your passion, your love of the craft. It’s your personableness and your blogging so that guys like me get an impression of who you are and like you and waht you make so that we are willing to save the extra $$ up for a bike made by Ira in Portland instead of getting a cheaper one made in Taiwan.

    I hope to move back to Portland soon. I intend to reman carless, but to upgrade to a better quality bike. The budget I used to spend on car expense ought to allow me to order a bike when I do.
    So if the economy really tanks, and others have difficulty with car expense what will they buy?

    So relax. We’ll buy your bikes. If the economy is bad we’ll buy for transportation. If it’s good we’ll buy because they are beautiful.

    Don’t worry about the economy. Worry about being Ira the beautiful bike builder.

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