Defender of the Fender for Road Bikes

23 Jan

A great wind arose, dark clouds rolled in and the rain came down. Our two month drought ended overnight with over two inches of rain. The skiers and snow boarders rejoiced, while the road cyclists pondered: ride outside or spin indoors? When you need a solid 3-4 hours of riding for your training plan, the choice is easy.

Even though the storm wasn’t quite finished, our Solvang Century training group hit the soggy litter-strewn roads for our third weekly training ride. Fortunately, we were equipped with critical, often underrated, wet weather gear: fenders. I strapped fenders on my bike before I left home, brought a spare pair for Jill, and convinced Cindy and Katie to make last minute purchases at The Bicycle Outfitter before we shoved off.

When the roads are wet, fenders keep your butt from sitting in a soggy chamois and your back from sporting an embarrassing mud stripe. They also keep your riding partners’ faces from being spattered like a Jackson Pollack painting. No one likes riding a teammate’s wheel when it’s spewing a rooster tail of road grime.

When we made our first bathroom stop, we could already see the gunk inside of our fenders–gunk that would have been all over our backsides and faces.

These days there are fenders available to fit performance road bikes that go on and off in seconds. So you don’t have to look like a bike commuter 24/7. Mine are RaceBlades from SKS, but Planet Bike makes SpeedEZ fenders that are similar. Both use nifty rubber bands that conform to the shape of your fork or seat stays and most importantly STAY PUT, even after bouncing through potholes hidden underneath the puddles.

We lucked out and only got a few sprinkles on the ride. Even more lucky was that no one flatted, which was surprising given the amount of leaves and branches littering the road. Because of the sloppy conditions, we altered our route to avoid the hills and spare ourselves a slippery, potentially dangerous descent. Still, we got in 52 miles on rolling terrain, and our butts stayed drier and our faces cleaner thanks to our fenders.

What’s your strategy when the rain comes? Stay inside or brave the elements, perhaps with special gear?

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Posted by on January 23, 2012 in Backroads, Gear Talk


9 responses to “Defender of the Fender for Road Bikes

  1. Rachel Unger

    January 24, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    🙂 Good on you for going out – I’m half half on going out. I’ve got good gear, so intermittent rain doesn’t keep me home. If it’s flat out pouring, though… it’s harder to motivate.

    • ladyfleur

      January 24, 2012 at 7:35 pm

      My rule of thumb is that if it’s raining hard enough that you’d need windshield wipers in your car, then I won’t ride. But if the wipers would just be on intermittent, then I ride.

  2. djconnel

    January 25, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Check out “JV’s Commuter” on the Rob English page @ NAHBBS. It’s also here.

    • ladyfleur

      January 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm

      Carbon fiber fenders with carbon stays. Now that’s a sweet touch. Are you guys going the NAHBS this year? We are.

      • djconnel

        January 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm

        Cara says she’ll go! I’m excited.

  3. Brian

    January 29, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    I bought fenders for the purpose of ensuring it won’t rain for a couple more weeks.

    • ladyfleur

      January 30, 2012 at 8:36 am

      Works every time. But you really shouldn’t have. We’re in a drought.

      • Brian

        January 30, 2012 at 11:04 pm

        I heard the reservoirs are fine. Last year was a good year. And it doesn’t have to rain here for the Sierras to get snow, although that is the most usual way for it to get there.

        Hopefully the rain will come while I’m in Singapore. Where they drink their own sewage, just to spite Malaysia. We could always do that.

        I’m sorry…fenders. Raceblades, they look cool on my District.


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