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Dress guards

In the early days, the sides of the rear wheel of ladies bicycle were equipped with special textile guards dress guards – to protect the long skirt from getting into spokes. The guards were usually mounted to the wheel nut at the bottom and small wire hooks were used to attach the guard to the holes on the edge of the mudguard on the top. All rear mudguards of ladies bicycles were perforated at the edges already at the factory, to allow fastening the dress guards. Dress guards were often included with the bicycle, but they were also available at the stores as optional items. After all, in case of intense use, their life was much shorter than that of the entire bicycle.

Usually the mudguard had standard number of holes (as well as number of hooks fastened to the dress guard), which allowed mounting optional dress guards to any bicycle. However, different standards applied in different countries and different eras. The design of dress guards varied in colour and they had intricate patterns, which added a lot to the appearance of bicycles.

After the war, dress guards were used less often, partly due to introduction of pants and shorter skirts. In the 1950s, many Soviet bicycle manufacturers replaced intricate textile guards with simple rubber strips, extending from the centre to the axle. The hooks on the other end of rubber strips connected them to the holes on the edge of the mudguard. In the Soviet Union, Riga Bicycle Factory remained true to classical patterned dress guards until the stopping the ordinary bicycle producing (in 1961). In the 1970s (in some kid’s bikes also in the 1980s) such dress guards were no longer manufactured or used, and new ladies bicycles were manufactured with rear mudguards without perforated edges (i.e. it was not possible to attach the guard/protective rubber).