18 February 2010

A cut below

I spotted this bike crammed into a bicycle stand on Osterbro, in Copenhagen. It is an old Swedish brand called Hermes, and there were just so many details calling out to me. In order to get some decent pictures, I had to (!) move it about 5 meters down the street, hoping there would be time to return it before the owner showed up. I was not so lucky. After calming the poor woman down, she told me that she got the bike very cheap at a flea market, and fixed it up herself. The back tire is new, and needs fixing every now and then, but the front one is original to the bike, and has never needed any attention. Even her bicycle repair man has advised her to hang on to this tire, because they just don't make them like this anymore.

No, they don't. Because these days the production of pretty much everything is outsourced. The fancy word for turning a profit on cutting on quality, and underpaying someone far, far away. While the domestic talent is retiring, or just out of work. Even Royal Copenhagen, the brand so famous for their porcelain and silver ware, has closed down the Danish factories, and outsourced the business. The number crunchers just don't get how there is pride and even a soul, in the things made by hand with love. But you can always tell. And 40 years from now, I find it hard to believe that anyone will go teary eyed over a tire, a Danish piece of enamelled silver or an old hand painted cup, that was made today. In China.

I know from experience that the full bike shots don't hold much interest (thou shall not bore). But if you like the big picture, just let me know, and I will keep it in mind for the next one.


  1. exactly, that why i avoid buying things "made in China", but it's a tough job. lucky me i don't need much.

  2. Great pictures. I've read all your posts from now back to this one and really enjoyed your writing and pictures. But what you say about buying chinese is just uninformed and hurtful, you have to realize this is the only way the poor people in other countries can have a decent living. Making great stuff, like bicycles, for us lucky westerners. They aren't underpaid, we are overpaid.

  3. Hi Anonymous,

    Not every angle and opinion is represented in my post. I might as well have added that I am a big fan of getting the originals where they are made. I am not against anything made in China, just because of the location. If a Chinese manufacturer has an original design, made in China, I would not be opposed to buying it. But if a product that was made to perfection locally, is suddenly outsourced to China, cutting on craftsmanship (please don’t neglect a hundred years of training and pride in a local craft) and perhaps quality, it is not good. Surely you can see my point of view here? It it just sad that money and not quality has set the agenda.

    And can I just say that I am flattered that you have read all my posts to this point.

    hi from Sandra


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