I spoke to a colleague today, and he was hard at work writing a piece for the local paper on the topic of men’s hats. Jim is an older gentleman who substitutes in our building, and he and I really hit it off. He told me that he spends 12-14 hours crafting his pieces before he sends them off to the local paper’s op/ed page. He was full into his long, handwritten manuscript that eventually would be given off to his wife, a former Navy typist, who would proofread it and get it ready for a final draft. Jim shared his feeling of dread that he would send something out and it would be less than perfect. Maybe it is that same spirit that has kept me from writing the blog daily? I hope to get over that and publish more often because I think the creative spirit is important to maintain. Hats off to Jim for reminding me of one’s need to create and share his voice.
The weather has been hit or miss, and I will get back to the series on Zwift shortly.
However, I am excited about the outdoor rides I have been able to get in so far. The big 28 Gravel Kings and my trusty Castelli winter bibs have been excellent in our low 30’s temps. One of the things that confronts the brave is wet roads from the melt off or early season rain. In the past, I combatted wet roads with my clip on rear fender or by just embracing the wet and riding! It hasn’t always been pretty at the end of the rides, especially when temps are low. In addition to getting wet, the road splash just makes for a messy bike and twenty minutes at the hose. During February, I didn’t really want to drag the hose out knowing overnight temps would drop below zero. This season with the new All-City now in the stable, I decided that this would be a great bike to mount some permanent fenders on.
Campus Wheelworks, my local shop and sponsor of my race team, has a wide range of client base, many of who commute. I knew that they would be the right place to go in the search for the right fenders. I passed over the other clip-on fenders, and I settled on a pair of Planet Bike Hardcore Fenders. These should be easy to install and will provide excellent coverage front and rear. I was reminded that like a car, bike fenders don’t come easily on and off, but I decided that I would be okay with that. Total cost was under $50! Thanks Campus!
Installation was a bit of a pain, but I only say this because it involved removing and re-installing the brakes, which I haven’t done in a while. Never rush to get things done because I rushed to get the bike and fenders ready for riding early the next morning to find that when I fully inflated the tires, I had rubbing. Oops! I ripped them off and road out au natural. When I re-installed the next day, they were better set up and have worked great ever since. Moral of the story…give yourself some time and do things right the first time. Install at regular pressure; clean your bike first, and make sure your quick release skewers are in properly, etc….
Positives: These fenders keep you dry for the most part. They don’t stop the rain coming from above; they don’t keep your feet any drier; they don’t stop splash from elsewhere, but I am super impressed by the overall coverage compared to no fender or just a rear fender. My legs and backside were much happier at the end of a long, wet ride. The frame seemed cleaner as well. They are light weight and look nice.
Negatives: The front fender does seem to create a bit of overlap with the pedals/feet when turning. I have been very careful not to pedal through a tight turn. It is a rather disconcerting feeling, but I have experienced this on other bikes even without the fenders. Maybe the wheelbase on this bike is short as well, I don’t know, but the fender does make this an issue.
I feel that there is one other negative that I did not expect, but I may be wrong on this. It appears that the fenders can attract objects and grime a little more than without. In my first three outings with the fenders installed and on wet roads, I suffered flat tires. It is my theory that glass was collected on the wheel due to the combination of wet and the fender keeping in in the “wheel well” more than if the wheel had no fender. I could be wrong, but I have a hunch that this is what happened. Granted, winter and early spring are the times when most flats occur in my experience, so maybe I have just been riding indoors too much and being a sissy.
Verdict: I like the coverage, the look, and the price. Changing flats was no issue. If you have a bike that can accept these fenders, these are well built, lightweight, and look great. Be mindful if your bike causes a bit of overlap in the front, and ride on! I am happy with the purchase, and I hope to get plenty of use out of these in the near and distant future.