This is a great article where the the author explores the relationship between the median price of used cars vs. used bikes on Craigslist in different cities. Unsurprisingly, cars cost more and bikes less in Phoenix compared to Seattle.
But is the author really surprised to find that people in the city of Portland are willing to drop more cash for a decently working 20 year old (or older) bike at a trendy urban bike shop than they are willing to spend at a suburban Costco for a brand new Schwinn? Here's the quote:
But you’ve got to love a city whose citizens put a set of moral/aesthetic principles — whether it’s riding a bike with proper disc brakes or refusing to support the Big Box stores — this far above their own financial well-being.
Street cred. The recycling concept. Supporting local businesses. I can think of 100+ more reasons. Unless you want to start getting really self-righteous and open yourself up to others nitpicking your own hypocrisies, there is no right or wrong answer to the questions of what type and from where should you buy your commuting bike. The real question is how is a NYT econ blogger truly surprised that people take into account things other than price when making purchasing decisions?
I know the article is a bit tongue in cheek, but his observations on this issue are about as insightful as me pointing out how curious it is that some people spend $450 on designer jeans...or that people spend weeks of their salary to buy a shiny rock mined from some hellhole on the other side of the world.
And by the way, who buys a commuter bike with disc brakes anyway?