Until 1991, all bikes in Paris-Brest-Paris had to be equipped with fenders. Traditionally, this had been a way to distinguish randonneur events from races – the randonneurs were expected to ride bikes that were equipped for real-world riding. However, by the 1980s, there simply weren’t many performance bikes with fenders any longer, and most riders struggled to put fenders onto their racing bikes. The rule no longer made sense, and so it was abandoned.
Now that fenders are no longer required in Paris-Brest-Paris, why run them at all? Apart from the fact that the fenders are an integral part of my bike, the weather during a 1200 km (750 mile) ride is always unpredictable. It doesn’t have to be a year like 2007, where I rode 49:49 hours in the rain. Even a short thunderstorm during a sunny afternoon will soak your shorts if you don’t have fenders, and riding in wet shorts can lead to saddle problems and end your ride prematurely. Continue Reading →