Saturday, September 12, 2015

Clip-on Fenders are Great! / Platform Pedals are Great!

I was biking to work one day and a guy caught up to me at a stoplight.  He was clipped in and trying to track stand so he wouldn't have to unclick his clipless pedals.  First he was wobbling next to me then he was sideways in front of me (argh...).  Then he finally had to unclip just as the light changed.  I'm standing there in skate shoes, one foot on the ground and the other on the pedal, trying not to roll my eyes. While he was struggling to get clicked back in,  I did what any seasoned Cat 6 racer would do - I smoked him.  Yeah, platform pedals are great!

I don't know how many times I've seen people looking down at their feet in the middle of an intersection, trying to get clipped in.  Or falling over at the intersection. And these appear to be experienced cyclists.

I went the clipless route for awhile, because you know that's just what real cyclists do. It was a big pain, having to have special shoes just to ride your bike, then walking awkwardly and noisily once I got to my destination. I found that for me, especially for city/town riding, they're not needed.

Next topic:

In some biking circles it's de rigger that you need to have full-coverage fenders on your bike, preferably with mud flaps.  They keep your bike cleaner, your feet drier and also prevent water from spraying bikers behind you. But I figure my feet are going to get wet anyway if it rains.  And this is Spokane, not Portland, Ore., so there's usually not any other bikers to worry about spraying with a rooster tail behind me.

Our average rainfall here in Spokane is about 17 inches per year. We get a few torrential downpours, but go for long stretches without any rain at all.  I'm trying to parse the NOAA Annual Climate Report (CLA), but it says the normal values for precip are: 112.2 days with precip > .01 inch, 53 days > .10, 5.9 days > .50 and 0.3 > 1.0.  We get about 80-90 days of rain when I sort out the snow days from the precip days (could be off on that).  I decided for me it's not necessary to have fenders on the bike full time, esp in the summer months. Instead, I use the cheap clip on removable fenders when needed.

I had full fenders for awhile on a previous commuter bike, but one time my foot (clipless shoes at that time) got in the way of the front one while turning and tore the fender off off, and bent the stays. Almost crashed.  This might have been an issue of poor fit, but it soured me on fenders.  Also, I like to ride the trails on my regular bike, but keep reading stories of twigs getting caught between the tire and fender.  Even if this is highly unlikely, it's just another reason for me to stay away from fenders.

Still, I almost succumbed and got full metal fenders and mud flaps for my Vaya.  You know, those nice shiny hammered metal ones. But I don't really like the full-coverage full-time fender look and finally decided against it.  When it looks like rain, I just slap the temporary fenders on, and take them off when the rain stops.  They do a decent job of keeping spray from the front tire and back tires off of me. Yep, clip-on fenders are great!