Summary of What an Adult Tricycle Says About the World’s Bottleneck Problems

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What an Adult Tricycle Says About the World’s Bottleneck Problems summary

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The effects of COVID, shipping issues and manufacturing delays are hitting US companies hard. New York Times reporters Jeanna Smialek and Madeleine Ngo report that a Florida company has 500 unfinished adult tricycles awaiting a $30 part made in Taiwan. Long-term solutions – such as increasing port efficiency and freight shipping capability – may not produce results until 2023. In the interim, consumers hoping to buy for the upcoming holiday season may face shortages, but experts hope reduced demand for consumer goods will help.

About the Authors

Jeanna Smialek covers the Federal Reserve and economics for The New York Times, where Madeleine Ngo is a reporter.


The lack of a small part left a US company holding millions in inventory. Such situations will worsen leading up to the holidays.

A Florida-based company – Catrike – has $2 million worth of adult-size, three-wheeled recumbent tricycles almost ready for delivery. The 500 trikes lack only a $30 part built in Taiwan. Delayed delivery of the part has held delivery of the adult trikes to consumers hostage for months. Moving into the holiday season, Catrike doesn’t foresee any improvement in their situation.

The company’s pain exemplifies what businesses – in the United States and around the world – face due to supply chain issues and the stubborn, entrenched COVID pandemic. These issues increase inflation and cause greater economic uncertainty. Policy makers are struggling to determine the duration of the problems and how they might...

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