SKS Chainboard

One of my first posts on this blog was about where the trousers meet the chain — a peculiar but persistent sticking point in the story of North American transportational cycling. Any American who has cycled in everyday clothes has had to confront this issue at least once. You’ve rolled up your right pant leg, or stuffed it into your sock, or decided that you’ll only wear knickerbockers — all because otherwise your pant leg would get grease-stained or shredded by the chain and chainrings of your bike.

This is a good example of what’s wrong with the bikes we’re accustomed to. Instead of designing the bicycle to solve the problem, we solve the problem by changing the way we dress, in a minuscule but significant way (and if you’ve ever walked around a conference for two hours, shaking hands and passing out business cards, only to realize that you forgot to roll down your right pant leg, you’ll know what I mean by “significant”). The American way: Going by bike? Wear special pants, or at least a Trouser Accessory.

In contrast, on a city bike, the bike protects your clothing by using a chainguard or chaincase to keep your pants or skirt (and shoelaces) out of the chain and chainring teeth. With a chainguard on your bike, you can go ahead and wear whatever you want. Et voilà, Vélocouture!