A little while ago, we talked about how sports cars are equipped with lights and fenders, and nobody thinks they are less sporty for it.
Performance bicycles don’t have lights and fenders, because most “weekend warriors” don’t think they need them. After all, they usually ride during daytime and in sunny weather. Plus racers don’t use lights and fenders, either.
Racers may want to rethink the equipment of their bikes. Tour de France champion Alberto Contador (above) was stopped recently by the French police.
For once, the issue was not doping, but riding a bike without lights. Contador was checking out the route of this summer’s Tour de France. There is a long, unlit tunnel at the top of the Col du Galibier (see photo at the top of the post). The police did not accept Contador’s argument that his team car would illuminate the road for him. He had a choice of turning around or getting into his team car. You can read the full story here. I wonder whether the police will stop the entire peloton when the Tour de France comes through in July…
I doubt we’ll see generator hubs and lights on Tour de France bikes this summer. Can we even envision a racing bike with lights and fenders?
Just a few weeks ago, we did see race cars at the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans fully equipped with fenders and lights. You see, the 24 Heures du Mans is a race for “sports cars.” They race at night and in the rain, and the rules require fenders and lights. Even with this equipment, Le Mans racers are the fastest race cars in the world, faster than the less aerodynamic Formula 1 racers.
Audi (above) competes at Le Mans and not in Formula 1, because people see the “sports cars” as more closely related to the cars they can buy. Winning Le Mans translates directly into selling more cars.
A similar “sports bike” category might reinvigorate bike racing, now that many teams are sponsored by bicycle manufacturers. Then manufacturers could sell city bikes with the sales pitch that a similar machine (more or less) had won the Tour de France.
And then we might see a new version of the 1954 Alex Singer below, with carbon-fiber fenders and integrated lights as part of a complete, lightweight package. Marketing aside, the real benefit would be to allow Contador and the weekend warriors to continue riding safely even if they encounter fog or a tunnel on their rides.