Page:The Cycle Industry (1921).djvu/99

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85
THE BICYCLE ON THE CONTINENT

different types of change speed gears for bicycles, but none caught on, and now if a change speed gear is specified by a French rider it is usually a British Sturmey-Archer that is supplied, if and when obtainable. On the other hand, many British racing cyclists favour a certain type of French racing bicycle which, in small numbers, is being imported into this country. British touring bicycles are very much admired by certain classes of French riders and they often pay very high prices for a British made machine, but generally speaking the trade is small on account of an almost prohibitive import tariff on bicycles of about 1s. per pound weight.

At one time the leading British cycle makers all had big sales depots in Paris, but the Government, goaded by the French makers, gradually squeezed them out one by one by raising the tariff higher and higher as the French cycle makers' production facilities increased.

History is repeating itself in regard to motor cycles, and several British firms opened agencies in Paris before the war. It is expected that their fate, in due course, will be that of the pedal cycle makers.

With regard to other Continental countries the British bicycle is favoured everywhere by those who know what a bicycle should be. Since the war it is, however, very difficult to speak confidently of the future. Russia, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, etc., were all large buyers of British bicycles up to August, 1914, and doubtless will be purchasers again when conditions are more settled and our home and colonial trade is supplied.

In pre-war days Germany conducted a big business in bicycles in all the Continental countries, and will no doubt make every effort to restore those connections to their former proportions. At the time of writing, Germany is very short of rubber for tyres, but that will not prevent the exportation of bicycles without tyres,