This one is so obvious I'm wondering how I missed it. Try to buy a bicycle. Bike shop, Walmart, Academy Sports, anywhere you go, it's all empty racks. Because bicycles come from the Far East now, or at least they did until March of 2020. Now they don't come from anywhere. You cannot buy a bicycle in the United States tomorrow.
Bicycles used to come from Chicago. A million bikes a year. Not the only bike on the market, but the dominant player. Schwinn. From the first bike a child wanted, to the bombproof, guaranteed for life frames of the cruisers and ten speeds, to top of the line racing frames, Schwinn made them all.
I had one like this in the mid 1960s. My dad gave five dollars to a neighbor. The bike had been ridden by all 8 of their kids before me. I rode it until I bought a 3 speed Raleigh when I was a teenager. It went to someone after me. For all I know it's still in a garage in Illinois.
Schwinn was dominant enough to come out with tire and rim sizes that were unique. Very close to the 26 x 1.75, the Schwinn 26 x 1 3/4 had a slightly different bead diameter. It fit the Schwinn rim. They did this with a couple of other sizes too. If you needed a tire for a Schwinn bike, you went to the Schwinn dealer.
If you had a Schwinn dealership, you would be the only one in town, it was an exclusive. I went to Schwinn's mechanic school in Atlanta not to long before the end and got the certificate. Learned to lace up wheels, rebuild 3 speed hubs, and a few other things I hadn't picked up yet.
The factory got outdated, labor costs went up, and the competition got better. By the 1970s, bikes were being made in Japan. Lightweight road bikes that beat Schwinn on price and features. When the Japanese bikes got too pricy, bikes started to come from India, and then from China.
There was a strike at the Chicago plant in 1980. Schwinn responded by moving production out of Chicago to Greenville Mississippi. They started losing money. They sold off the racing bike line and the Paramount name. Then in 2001 declared bankruptcy. Everything that was left was sold to GT bicycles.
Up until the pandemic, you could still buy a bicycle with the Schwinn nameplate on it. It looked like every other bike made in China. They aren't bad bicycles, they make a range from department store bikes on up to fairly high end bikes sold in bicycle shops. But they aren't Chicago Schwinns. And since they aren't made here, they are subject to the same supply chain pressure as computers, phones, appliances, and the rest.
If you're old enough, you remember Schwinns. The looks, the colors, it was part of the background of every American childhood in the 1950s and 1960s. I've got two of them in the basement.
Here's a real nice example of what they looked like at their peak. Everything on that bike was made in America.