There is an art in riding a light bicycle, it has to be ridden gently over bad sections of road. The rider must not sit like a dead weight in the saddle and free wheel down hill at full speed and rely on the brakes to stop him suddenly.
Light, thin tyres are, of course, much more easily damaged by sharp stones, although they do not, as is supposed, puncture more readily; that is a question of luck.
A light weight touring machine for an average weight rider should be procurable at 30 to 32 lbs. with three-speed hub gear, brakes, mudguards, semi-racing saddle, and rat-trap pedals, but minus bell, bag, and lamps. Unfortunately, the great majority weigh between 38 and 40 lbs., and some are much more.
If a tourist wants greater comfort and reliability than can be obtained with such a specification as above he must be prepared to push along about 45 to 50 lbs. Many full tourist machines with heavy spring saddle, gear case, 1¾ in. tyres, wide rubber pedals, and three-speed hub, weigh quite as much as 50 lbs. and sometimes more.
Comfort must be sacrificed to some extent to secure lightness, and it is for the individual to decide what he thinks will best suit his or her requirements.
Generally speaking, the clubman will have a fairly light machine; he is usually a practised rider and knows how to humour his mount. Club life tends to increase the demand for lighter machines, because the newly-fledged member with a heavy bicycle soon finds that he is outpaced, particularly up hill, by men of less strength but equipped with a machine perhaps 15 to 20 lbs. lighter than his own.
Omitting track racing machines, there can be said to be four classes of bicycles used on the road.
1. The road racer. An absolutely stripped machine.