It’s with a heavy heart that I admit I’ve been off the bike for the past little while… A combination of lousy weather, business travel, being generally busy as well as (admittedly) a moderate dose of apathy has kept me out of the saddle.

But with the sunshine finally making it’s triumphant return, I thought I should get back on the horse and attempt to get my fat ass into shape.

Walking into the garage for a quick once over, I noted with sadness what my neglect and the weather had done. The bike was dirty without doubt, but the chain and cassette had an offensive red-brown color to them and the chain was locked up at various points. My laziness was embarrassing, but I nonetheless got to work at remedying the situation. A little bit of degreaser and a lot of elbow grease later you would never had known the sad state things were in.

I vowed never to let it happen again.

I knew that with regular cleaning and maintenance this wouldn’t really be a concern, but I (like many others out there) am a busy guy and I knew that sooner or later I would once again fall off my maintenance schedule and I would once again be looking at a drivetrain coated in reddy-brown goo. There seemed only one answer.

After a quick run to the bike store I was the proud owner of a pair of Planet Bike Cascadia Fenders.

Installation was a breeze and took ~15min including some tomfoolery to work around my brakes (mainly because I was too lazy to take my tires off). The fenders themselves are a nice glossy black polycarbonate and come with a really solid selection of zip-ties, nuts, bolts and rigging to fit on various bike configurations. Although I was fearful that it wouldn’t have a bolt that would go through the top of my fork, everything turned out just fine.

Now, I’ll admit that I’ve only gone on two rides with these bad-boys, but so far the results are promising:

  • Despite my Schwalbe Snow Studs tossing up a considerable amount of water/slush/grit my bike stayed pretty much clean (as did I) – This was especially impressive around the drivetrain since this was my main reason for wanting to try fenders
  • I only heard the fenders ‘rattle’ twice and both were through some pretty choppy ice at pretty high speeds (30km+) and they settled down right after
  • During the installation they were quite easy to adjust and I found it easy to obtain a clean/consistent tire to fender clearance
  • They’re surprisingly light – I hardly noticed they were there

Really there’s only two minor nitpicks I have:

  • I wish the trailing adjuster arm was a little bit longer – Mine are set to almost their limit to be positioned properly on the rear
  • I caught my foot against the front fender a couple of times – I don’t really see this as too much of a design flaw, moreso of me just needing to adapt to my new rig

To be honest, I’m not completely sure why I resisted fenders for so long… As a regular commuter and somebody who likes to train outside in the spring, they make a lot of sense. Perhaps it was because the were always deemed ‘uncool’ in the school yard…

Maybe I’m growing up, or maybe I’m just getting old… But I actually think they look pretty good ;-)