"I wonder what the environmentally-minded among your readers will think about cycling after you tell them about Taiwan!" Of course it's "green" to ride bikes in place of cars. Making bikes is another story. It's a dirty business. Certain rivers in Taiwan are absolutely sterile of life because of what factories dump into them, and the bike factories are no exception.
...There's no way any shop in America would be allowed to use the sort of paint, or the processes, that are used in the Orient. What it does to the environment, or to the workers who make the product, is another story.
Fascinating stuff. The folks in Taiwan pretty much "own" the mass market for bike frames and wheels, through their "home" production, and their factories in communist occupied portions of China.
Another interesting "industry" article is the interview in the current issue of the Rivendell Reader with the head of Shimano USA. Grant Peterson asked Mr. Shimano why road bikes are geared for "Pro" riders instead of for "Joe Average". Mr. Shimano's answer was that road bike riders don't want a bike that resembles the bike that Lance rides, they want a bike that is EXACTLY like the bike that Lance rides.
What if "Joe Average" is not strong enough to ride those gears up a hill in his own neighborhood? Mr. Shimano's suggested solution was to use a vehicle to transport your "Be Like Lance" bike to an area flat enough for the gears on the bike!!! Heaven forbid that a road bike should come with a 46/36 crank set.