Question: I started riding last spring at the age of 43, and I love it! But now the weather has turned rainy. I return from rides soaked, and my bike is a mess. Is there a solution? It’s a pain to clean the bike after every ride. — Sam J.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: The solution is simple, Sam — install fenders! They have tremendous advantages.
You’ll still get wet if it’s actually raining, of course, but fenders keep road grime off your body and bike. This makes cleaning up a lot easier. Just wipe your bike with an old towel and relube the chain, if necessary.
If it’s not raining but the roads are wet, fenders will keep you drier (and therefore warmer). Also, fenders stop road spray from flying up on other riders. We hear that in some places with wet climates, fenders are mandatory on group rides.
One possible problem: Some contemporary road bikes don’t have enough clearance for fenders. Check behind the bottom bracket and under the fork crown. If there’s room but your frame lacks eyelets on the dropouts, no problem — attach the fenders with zip-ties.
If your bike simply won’t accept fenders, consider buying an inexpensive new or used sport touring-style bike for your wet-weather riding. This type of bike will have enough clearance for fenders and may very well have dropout eyelets, too.
Don’t let wet weather put a damper on your off-season training. In my eBook, Off-Season Training for Roadies, I detail how to set up a road bike to handle winter conditions.
Coach Fred Matheny is an RBR co-founder who has four decades of road cycling and coaching experience. He has written 14 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach Fred Matheny, including the classic Complete Book of Road Bike Training, which includes 4 eBooks comprising 250 pages of timeless, detailed advice and training plans. The Complete Book is one of the many perks of an RBR Premium Membership. Click to read Fred’s full bio.