04 January 2010
Mudslinging at papers that don't get commuting
The Sunday Times's InGear supplement yesterday reviewed five hybrid bikes 'designed to tackle daily commuting'.
But as usual, this sort of roundup was fixated on the wrong things. High-end bikes (in thefty London, bikes are like beer or flats: you don't actually buy them, you only really rent them). Speed (irrelevant in London, where traffic lights stop you even more frequently than charity muggers). Lightness (irrelevant for commuting, because you'll have work stuff to take with you).
Unless your work requires no luggage, equipment or clothing - and there can't be that many life-drawing models that read the Sunday Times - your commuting bike will enjoy having a rack. But it does not need 30 gears, whatever the reviewer thinks. We're talking Brixton Road, not the Karakoram Pass.
And it certainly does need mudguards - see Copenhagen passim. So I was intrigued to see this bike (pictured) outside our local Tesco on Saturday. Its owner has bodged a back mudguard from what looks like industrial plastic tubing, perhaps liberated from a building site or factory.
So somewhere there's a puzzled site manager who can't work out why all the pipes are disappearing. See? This is what happens when people insist on recommending inadequate commuting bikes.