the chain guard, and bike culture in Sweden and the US

Sat, 21 May 2016 01:11:20 +0200

Note: This is a compilation of several posts on - the citations are
      from different posters which is why they
      at times express contradicting views.

> I would comment that not all bicycles are
> equipped with chain guards and people seem
> ride bicycles either with or without chain
> guards. I never, for example, heard anyone
> say "Oh! I can't ride that bike. Why it
> doesn't have a chain guard."

Maybe there is another bike culture in your
country (?) perhaps because of different
weather, here, with snow, and water that turns
into ice, virtually all bikes have chain guards
and if a bike doesn't come with one this would
be associated with sport, some dude trying to
cut a couple of hundred grams or whatever is
the weight of a chain guard.

Also the typical person doesn't wear wellies
and doesn't want to be bothered putting the
sock in and out each time.

I also suppose the chain lube disappears more
quickly without it, especially if rain, tho
I don't think this is anything the typical
person considers...

> In the U.S., an astonishing percentage of
> bicycles would be considered by Europeans to
> be more suitable for "sport" than anything
> else. And indeed, very little bike use here
> is for anything else.
> Even many (or most?) of the small percentage
> of Americans who use bikes for utility seem
> to pick something that looks like a "sport"
> machine. That's just the way it is here.
> I'd bet fewer than 1% of adult American bikes
> have chain guards. None of mine do.

There are mountainbikes here as well and
perhaps some racers that don't have it, as well
as some standard bikes that don't have it for
dysfunctional reasons, but that is associated
with sport and youth culture.

If you find a picture of a lady of 60 years
riding one, I'll yield. Among the
non-"sport and youth culture" people
mountainbikes are considered unreliable because
of the gears and unergonomic because of the
stooping. People definitely want chain guards.

On the other hand, these people seldom wear
helmets, unless they have kids and wish to set
an example.

> If you want to see an average European
> bicycle, look at the bike parks at railway
> stations with thousands of spaces where
> average cyclists park their bikes on the way
> to or from work. ...
> Look at the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium,
> Luxembourg, and increasingly the UK, France,
> Germany, Sweden, and Norway (by no means
> a complete list) to see what proportion of
> bikes are sporting cycles when cycling really
> has become mass personal transportation

The railway station is the best example. It is
as much a bicycle graveyard as a marketplace
for bums.

But all over the city are thousands and
thousands of bikes: at the commercial center,
the hospital, all buildings associated with the
university (both education and where the
students live), and so on.

There are people working with marking
half-crashed bikes as abandoned and if they
aren't moved at a certain date, they are
disposed of - otherwise the whole city would
drown in wrecked bikes!

There are 410 km [1] of bicycle paths in this
city of 187 541 people. [2]

[1] (Swedish)

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