28 March 2015

Bicycle Abuse and Abandonment

Yes, a serious social problem.  It happens even in the "nicest" of middle class neighborhoods.
I passed this awful scene last week when taking our dog for a walk in a perfectly nice area of Setagaya-ku, Tokyo.  
Yes, kids need guidance from parents to properly care for bicycles (just like pets).  Or else you end up with a scene like this, out of some horror flick.
This kid's bike was left abandoned, the chain rusted enough so it could probably be pulled apart with one's arms.  Not even a decent burial.  Now just a hunk of exposed metal, plastic and rubber polluting the environment. What did the bicycle do to deserve this? 


Karsten said...

I was a bit sad about those abandoned bicycles too, until I went to a "regular" cycle shop and saw how much the mama-chari and kid's bicycles cost. A cheap mama-chari will run you less than 1万円, and a "fancy" one maybe 1万5千円. The price for the one you saw is probably similar.

Frankly, at that cost point, it's easier to just buy a new one every couple of years instead of trying to maintain them. In fact, when going back to the shop with a broken chain for example, they will quote something like 5千円 to repair it, and then point out that for just a little bit more, you could get a shiny new one.

People who buy decent bicycles have very different and much stronger incentives to maintain them, so I gave up on applying the same thinking to the bulk of bicycles in the city, and instead just enjoy to see so many people getting around on two wheels, whatever their cost or quality.

David Litt said...

Hi Karsten:
Thank you for stating the "Manfred" viewpoint. ... By which I mean that I used to be able to rely on one of our regular commentators to take some things said on the blog a bit too literally.
Seriously, I could not agree with you more that it makes no economic sense to fix a bike like this once it starts to go downhill, and it is cheaper to get another. Many things in Japan are like this -- electronic goods, for example. And yes, even houses in Japan are pretty much disposable items. Buy new, wear down, tear down and replace rather than repair. It may not be a "sustainable" lifestyle, but it is what the market here provides and so no blame when individuals follow the path of least resistance.
No, I am not really concerned about people abusing metal and plastic objects. I was just a bit surprised to see this big piece of trash a semi-permanent fixture on what is otherwise a nicely maintained residential street.

Manfred von Holstein said...

David, I believe you haven't watched my film. You would understand me much better if you did.

mob said...

Best comment ever on this blog.
There is nothing Manfred v.H. cannot do.

David Litt said...

"There is nothing Manfred v.H. cannot do."

... as long as he has an instruction book!