The Tour du Toddlers

Today, riders are tackling the 14th stage of the Tour du France, climbing the col du Tormalet in the Pyrenees toward the village of Bareges. Take a look at the photos at this link. See how Peter Sagan (green jersey) and Vincenzo Nibali look somewhat tired? The best I could hope to do on this route is flag down the SAG wagon for a ride to the next lunch stop. The graphic below shows the elevation profile. According to the commentators, the first time this hill was included in the Tour, the stage winner called the race organizers "murderers."

Clipped from

Do you know what these guys are missing? A way to carry a toddler up the col.

If they wanted to bring the kids along for the ride, they could opt for the WeeRide Kangaroo Center-Mounted Bicycle-Child Carrier.


This video shows the WeeRide in action and makes me think I did parenting all wrong:

Which brings me to Kent International, Inc. v. United States, a recent Court of International Trade decision answering the burning question: Is a seat that you strap to a bicycle a seat or is it a bike accessory?

This is not a frivolous exercise. The two competing tariff headings are 8714 covering parts and accessories of, among other things, bicycles and 9401 covering seats. All things being equal, the rule of relative specificity of General Rule of Interpretation 3(a) would tell you that "seats" is a more specific description of this device than "accessory." On top of that, Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(c) tells us that, in the absence of special language or context requiring otherwise, a classification covering parts and accessories shall not prevail over a specific provision for the item. Taken together, this could be a win for the plaintiff.

Unfortunately, "all things are not equal." Chapter 94, Note 1(h) states that "This Chapter does not cover . . . Articles of heading 8714." That means that if the WeeRide seats are classifiable as accessories of bicycles, they cannot be classified in Chapter 94 as seats. Here, the Court defined "accessory" as something extra that is added in a secondary way; a piece of optional equipment. That fits the WeeRide seat. Given that the seat is an accessory classifiable in 8714, it cannot also be described in 9401, without regard to GRI 3(a) or AUSRI 1(c). This is a GRI 1 classification.

Still, the plaintiff has a point. There is some confusing language in the Federal Circuit's 1997 Sharp Microelectronics decision. In that case, the Federal Circuit faced two conflicting headings and a note that seemed to give preference to one. But, the heading at issue in sharp covered "Liquid crystal devices not constituting articles provided for more specifically in other headings." This language essentially baked the rule of relative specificity into the heading, making it part of the GRI 1 analysis. Without similar instruction in the heading itself, plaintiff was not able to prevail.

Which brings me back to the Tour. The stage is now over and French rider Thibaut Pinot was victorious followed by another French rider and current overall leader Julian Alaphilippe, who keeps the yellow jersey. Apparently, it is a good time to be a French rider in France.

For me, I am hoping to start and finish the North Shore Century in what seems like just a few weeks. I'm busy, I'm traveling, and I think I am coming down with something. So, all in all, it is not a good time to be me on a bike.


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