Labor Day Weekend with Uncle Jumbo

This is Labor Day weekend here in the USA. Much of the rest of the world celebrates International Workers Day in May, but that was a little too commie for President Grover Cleveland. Besides, it conflicts with Bike Month, and everybody knows that Grover Cleveland was huge into Bike Month.

Grover ClevelandActually, he was just huge. This gout-afflicted president was nicknamed “Big Steve,” and some of his nieces and nephews called him “Uncle Jumbo.”

I’m pretty sure–let’s say I’m positive–that he didn’t bike commute. I’m not even going to Google it. But it was he who signed into law the legislation making Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894.

So if you’re enjoying the three-day-weekend with a few nice bike rides, thank Uncle Jumbo. Oh, and also thank the labor movement.

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

About 1.1 million American workers are involved directly or indirectly in the cycling industry. And what is their economic achievement? They generate $17.7 billion in federal, state, and local taxes. (Those are 2010 figures.)

And this was a surprise to me: Contributing to those 1.1 million jobs are more than 80 American companies involved in selling and/or manufacturing bicycles.

And 1.1 million jobs is almost as many jobs as are at risk if Congress doesn’t pass the Transportation Bill by the by the end of this month. These are jobs in all parts of the transportation sector, not just cycling.

Yet, the Transportation Bill languishes, and Rep. John Mica (R-FL), Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is still talking of eliminating all dedicated funding for bicycling and walking "“ programs such as transportation enhancements, recreational trails and safe routes to schools.

Before you get back to your holiday weekend, you can pay tribute to the American worker and to cycling at the same time. Take a couple minutes to contact your Representative and Senators, and let them know that cyclists matter. Seriously: two minutes. Do it for Uncle Jumbo.

Use this Link to League of American Bicyclist Action Center

American Employers Involved in Bike Manufacturing

The list below was raided from the Wikipedia page “List of bicycle brands and manufacturing companies.” I’m sure it’s not comprehensive. I’m also sure that some of these companies, though based in the US, employ more workers overseas than they do domestically. It doesn’t include domestic bike shops, nor does it include all of the US employers making and selling cycling accessories, such as Campfire Cycling. (Hi, Boss!) Nonetheless, it’s an impressive list.

If you want to meet some of the people making bikes in the US, check out our videos from the 2011 North American Handmade Bicycle Show.

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