This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bicycle Fenders-what was I thinking all those years

During the the seventies, when I started riding as an adult, bikes were sold almost exclusively without fenders. Imagining myself an athlete, I was a pretender on the road.  We idolized Eddie Merckx and emulated the bare minimalist gear snobbery of the racing community, a friend and I even discussed the pros and cons of drilling holes in brake calipers.  With all that preoccupation that exists in pretend racing, the idea of adding fenders to a bike was as ridiculous as handlebar mirrors, warning flags and training wheels--total dorkdom.
That mindset stuck with me for years even despite miles of loaded touring and all season commuting. I even wore a poncho to protect me from rain while getting covered in mud from the wheels beneath me. I assumed that getting dirty, wet, uncomfortable, having chipped paint, and constantly cleaning chains and drivetrain, was just part of the sport.
As I mentioned in an earlier post,

gas prices finally made me buy a dedicated commuter bike.  I bought a Jamis Commuter 3 and it had fenders.  I knew this was supposed to be a utilitarian ride and decided to leave them on.  It created that :  "WhatthehellhaveIbeenthinkingalltheseyears" moment.  I was shocked at what a simple and lightweight accessory can do.  I was cleaner, the bike was incredibly clean and I was able to stay reasonable dry and comfortable in the rain and snow.
  That experience has turned me 180 degrees on the subject and now all but one of my bikes (my roadie) has fenders, and it will be getting some soon.  The original  black fenders that came with the Jamis have been replaced with some larger and nicer plastic fenders.

 These are the SKS chromoplastic fenders which I think are the best for all weather riding.  Being aluminum laminated between layers of plastic, they look great for plastic fenders and take any abuse that can be dished out.
I liked them enough to add them to my all purpose folder, the Dahon Expresso.
  The other option is aluminum or steel fenders.  I used these aluminum fenders on my first mixte, 


they are Velo Orange smooth anodized fenders which were unpolished, accepted primer and paint easily and matched up with the frame beautifully.  Surprisingly, I have only had one scratch in two years of use with those fenders, I can't say the same for the frame.

On my Hunqapillar I used the very highly polished Velo-Orange Zepplin fenders, a recreation of  classic French design.

 My second mixte, Byron, recieved the exceedingly beautiful hammered fenders,

and my Trek 560  will get the same style since (thanks to an ordering mistake) I have an extra pair lying around.  I was surprised that the Trek has enough clearance to use 45mm fenders as soon as I replace the brake calipers which is a long overdue upgrade.
 I don't really mean to sound like I am totally devoted to VO fenders, Honjo makes nice ones also, but the VO fenders are priced to compete with more common plastic fenders and Honjo fenders are nearly twice the price.
  I've gotten to the point that I think a bike looks kind of weird and unfinished without fenders.

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.