Stormy afternoons, sticky mornings

Just wow! I got really fortunate to get this shot this morning but half of fortune is ambition and if you are ambitious enough to ride your bike to work instead of driving than things like this will present themselves to you.

I’d like to take a moment to talk about fenders, and why you need them. While the storms yesterday were so incredibly epikkkkk that there would be no way to stay dry in them, many days the single biggest issue traveling by bicycle isn’t the slop from up high but rather then muck from down below. After about three years of commuting by bicycle (more than that but I never wore a shirt and tie with slacks to class at VCU so it didn’t matter then) you start to get an idea of how to stay fresh enough and clean enough to tackle a day at work and not stink or be covered in mud. In my estimation there are only about 10-15 days a year when I really can’t make it to work on the bike and still be dry/clean. If you really think about it, it doesn’t matter if you get rained on when leaving work so cancel out all those days as an issue. That leaves me with problems with rain between the hours of 6-8am for my commute to work. That really hardly ever happens around here, especially in the summer. Summer rains, when they happen which we seem to be having a good year for, are an afternoon or nighttime occurrence. In the mornings though the ground hasn’t always dried out and if your getting barreled down on by a city bus and can’t avoid that puddle you are gonna need fenders. They keep you dry, they keep the mud and road grim off you, and even better your bike stays way cleaner. I have Velo Orange simulated Honjo style hammered fenders and they look great but aren’t my favorites I have used. Plastic SKS fenders, oddly enough, have been my favorites. The Velo Orange fenders use a single large stay to hold them in place whereas the SKS style I used had two smaller stays. Overall I felt this worked better with less rattling but the ones I have won’t work with the size tire I have on this bike. Another thing to consider is that these metal fenders can get gravel in them between the fender and the tire (well all fenders can have this happen actually) and while the plastic ones more or less silently discharge the gravel a loud screech is the norm with the metal. Sneaking up on small mammals can be difficult with this happening. Now if you only ride on the street you should be fine but things to consider. All in all, get some fenders, make sure they are 5-10mm wider than the tires you run to help prevent the screeching, and when the humidity hits, ride slow and have a waterproof pannier or saddlebag to pack your shirt and tie in so you can take a pirate shower when you get to work. I come in earlier than most of my coworkers and have cooled down in the 30mins before most of the staff arrives. Keep these tips in mind and you should be fine when your clients/boss/attractive co-workers come by your cube and ask you how the ride was on a humid, wet morning.

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