Let us now praise fenders.
It is not, necessarily, that you ride through downpours, thunderstorms, cloudbursts, raindrops and other airborne hydrological catastrophes.
(Though it is not enough to experience these phenomena via the Weather Channel, much as you wish Stephanie Abrams well.)
It is simply that rain, once it falls from the sky in central Illinois, lingers on the ground, under foot and wheel.
That is one of the benefits of pedestrianism: You don’t get a stripe of dirty water up your back from walking straight ahead.
But you don’t need to on a bicycle, either.
In the 1960s, you could buy a simple bicycle with fenders. You didn’t have an internal debate on their value–they came with the machine from the factory.
More expensive machines, like all-chrome Schwinn Paramounts with their unbelievable eight or 10 gears might not, but I remember riding alongside people who added stainless steel fenders to their chosen mounts without a second thought.
It was a Turtle Wax world. And it was very shiny.
Today, manufacturers ruthlessly compete on price. That means anything that doesn’t make a bicycle go or stop or turn doesn’t make it off the line.
That’s not a bad thing. You get to choose what gets attached to your bike, be it fenders, kickstands or squeeze horns that look like sumo wrestlers.
Today? Today is a great day for a set of fenders from 1964.