Great In­ven­tions of Cy­cling The ab­sence of mud­guards, 1985

Cycling Weekly - - FLAMME ROUGE -

Mud­guards were in­vented as soon as we moved on from the penny far­thing — not least be­cause the new breed of fem­i­nist cy­clists needed some­thing to at­tach a skirt guard to, so that they didn’t reel them­selves into their back wheels and die in a hideous metaphor.

For 100 years or more, mud­guards were al­most uni­ver­sal — the only ex­cep­tions be­ing se­ri­ous rac­ing bikes. Even then, se­ri­ous rac­ers used mud­guards when not ac­tu­ally rac­ing.

Then one day, some ge­nius had the idea of train­ing all win­ter with­out them.

This has a num­ber of re­mark­able ben­e­fits. You get a free gravel en­ema. If you go rid­ing with a like-minded friend, you can re­ceive a free fa­cial ex­fo­li­a­tion from the spray off his or her rear wheel, some­thing that would cost a for­tune at a high-street beauty par­lour.

It means that you can spray gunk over com­po­nents like the brakes and gear mechs, which will need re­plac­ing ear­lier, thus help­ing you to do your bit for the economies of Italy, Ja­pan and the US.

It will keep your feet nice and wet, which will pre­vent them from over­heat­ing.

It will en­able you to go very, very slightly faster. This means you can get your win­ter train­ing rides over with a lit­tle more quickly.

And fi­nally, you look cooler. And you can’t put a price on that.

Fancy a free fa­cial? Ditch the guards

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