Where The Bike Takes Me

Continuing this journey of cycling in efforts to get into shape, lose weight, enjoy the outdoors, and save my knees from their arthritic state at 28 years of age.

To Fender or Not to Fender May 15, 2008

Filed under: cycling,Cycling in the DC Metro Area,Gear — f8th637 @ 10:16 am

Tomorrow is our area’s Bike to Work Day. I have been watching the weather forecast diligently hoping that the Friday morning weather would be somewhat pleasant for riding in.  Thankfully, the forecast is no longer really calling for thunderstorms.  Rain, I can handle, lightning is a whole other matter.  But the forecast is calling for certain rain for those of us planning on joining our area’s BTWD festivities. So I have been asking myself how I want to handle the rain.  I don’t mind riding in rain, sometimes it’s even fun, but I definitely don’t like the wetness feeling that comes from the affectionately-called ‘skunk stripe’ that those of us who ride in rain without fenders get.  I like fenders when it rains but I can definitely do without them when the weather is beautiful is out.  I commute on my regular bike since it’s 15 miles roughly so whatever I put on there will generally stay on there.  I had fenders on my hybrid before they practically fell off and like I said they were great in the rain.

I have a rear rack on the Sutra which should help with the skunk stripe.  I’m debating whether or not I want to put a fender on the front.  I’m leaning towards ‘no’ as I’m feeling lazy at the moment to really deal with fenders which can sometimes be a tricky business.  I have a regular rain jacket that I typically wear when the weather is crappy from Sierra Trading Company.  While it has a hood, it is not a high-vis color nor is it longer in the back.  My helmet fits right inside the hood.  I have contemplated springing $15 for this jacket at Performance but the lack of a hood keeps me from doing so.  The truth is I can wear my current rain jacket, my bright orange reflective vest, and keep most of the rain from the rear wheel off my back with the rear rack.  It’s just hard to not want to buy stuff.  😛

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2 Responses to “To Fender or Not to Fender”

  1. Jan Says:

    I’ve been riding to work (DC Area) pretty much everyday for the last few years, all year around. My comments regarding your fender post:
    1. I have a commute bike as well as other bikes. I keep fenders on my commute bike. I’d never commute without fenders, even in possibly bad forecast weather. Having fenders on the commute bike all times doesn’t seem to take anything away. They are there for a purpose. I don’t go any faster if they were not there.

    2. Good fenders, if installed properly and not bent as a result of some crash, with multiple attachment points, should not fall off by themselves. I like the Planet bike line of fenders the best:

    3. I hardly ever wear a hooded jacket when cycling in the rain. I wear a cycling cap under my helmet, which has a short brim a little shorter than a baseball hat. This keeps the rain out of my eyes. Plus, they make me look smart, and kind of give me in my helmet a more “seasoned” cyclist look.

    Even if one were to wear a full jacket and hood, with rainpants, you will eventually get wet in some way, whether it’s from the rain directly, or from your own moisture build up from sweating. I simply carry a waterproof messenger bag on my back with a spare shirt, t-shirt, pants, and socks. I change when I get to work. I never overheat in any weather as a result. It’s really quite simple.

  2. Burnout Says:

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Burnout!

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