Friday, April 03, 2015

Are we daft or what? Bikes without mudguards/fenders.

Judith is a member of the CTC, the British national cycling charity which is not as its name suggests an organisation collecting energy bars to enable poor cyclists to take part in day trips, but is better described by its original name "Cyclists' Touring Club". The original name is not fashionable anymore, as it was felt that that modern day cyclists could not grasp the concept. The club carries out a range of activities, not all of which of which are perhaps not directly connected with touring, but I do have the impression it was change for change's sake. The club wanted to move beyond mere touring, although the latest edition of "Cycle" the club's bimonthly magazine, has an off-road cycle touring theme. I checked the advertisements and of the twenty five advertisements with photographs of bicycles 60% showed bikes without mudguards and only 40% showed bikes with mudguards. (When tidying up the office I found another edition of "Cycle" and the ratio in that copy was 63% without and 37% with mudguards. This suggests the figures are reasonable representative.) Now I have not lived in Britain for 40 years, but I have visited the country practically every year during this time. It still rains there and frequently. It was actually suggested that some of the bikes without mudguards/fenders could be used for commuting.
Commuting? If it rains the road gets wet and road surfaces are dirty. As you ride over these surfaces your wheels throw up mucky water. If you have a bike with mudguards most of this spray is collected and drips back onto the road. If you've  not got mudguards, the muck and wetness collect on your lower limbs and clothing. You turn up to the office looking like a drowned rat and dirty with it. No way will I do this.
Obviously it is in manufacturers' interest to propagate the idea that either a bike does not need mudguards or that these are an added uncool extra. They can sell less bike for the same money or perhaps fit better components and keep the bike cheaper. However how much component quality you can get for the couple of quid that mudguards cost when bought in large quantities, I am not too sure. No mudguards are OK for sports machines where you can decide when  you go out, but for using the bike as a means of transport, forget it. Mudguards are absolutely essential.

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