Friday, September 11, 2009

Wet legs?

We have written in the past about the inability of cyclists to agree jointly on any topic even for the greater good of the cycling community. For example one good way of causing a riot such that the Justices of the Peace need to called out, is to mention the topic of cycle helmets at any British or German cycle club meeting. One is thus loath to criticise any other group in the cycling community, but there are times when one needs to roll one's eyes in the direction of the heavens and stifle some mild oath. We recently received a copy of the "American Bicyclist" the League of American Bicyclists' bimonthly magazine and I was struck by number of bicycles pictured without mudguards or fenders as our US friends call them. We also read the literature put out by Ground Effect, a New Zealand manufacturer of clothes for the mountain biking community - excellent reasonably priced gear and a very amusing website/newsletter. (We have bought the odd item from Ground Effect.) It is seen in some circles as "dorky" to cycle with mudguards. Dorky, I gather, is a major insult. Just in case I may have given the wrong impression Ground Effect itself does not have any opinions one way or the other about dorky-ness of cycling accessoires. Some of their reviewers are given to these opinions. A lot of folks would rather have wet and muddy legs and the black stripe up the back than run the risk of looking sensible. Very odd! As my dear mother-in-law used to say of fashionable but uncomfortable garments "Pride is painful".
If you wish to go out and use the bike as an outdoor fitness machine on sunny days it is fine to cycle without any protection, however if you are going to commute and not just to the pub, then protective fittings are a big advantage. It is noticeable that in the two countries where people cycle extensively as a means of transport: The Netherlands and Denmark people cycle on bicycles with mudguards in normal clothing and with stands so that one can leave the bicycle standing up without having to find a convenient wall to prop the bike up. I know the lads in the Tour de France don't have mudguards or stands, but these guys are being paid to get wet through and have a team of mechanics to hold their bikes.
Rant over, just don't get me started on rucksack wearing on touring bicycles.

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