Fendering For Yourself

Like a squirrel hoarding nuts, or a hoarder hoarding squirrels (that’s good eating!), I am preparing for winter. To that end, today I descended to my basement workshop once again and “curated” this season’s Fender Bike, choosing the Eye Of The Tiger Bike for that distinction:

So why this bike instead of one of my Rivendells (Rivendae?), both of which are practically screaming for fenders, at least according to the aesthetic sensibilities of the brand’s devotees? Well, to be perfectly honest, not only do I like them the way they are, but I’m also still too smitten to them to commit either to serious foul-weather duty. Meanwhile, I think the “doesn’t quite know what kind of bike it wants to be” nature of the EOTTB makes it a logical candidate for all-around winter riding, and thus fenders. Plus, it’s got plenty of clearance and is practically begging for them in that regard…though when it comes to installing fenders there’s always something annoying. For example, I went to bolt the front one to the fork crown…

…only to find it’s not drilled all the way through:

Fortunately I managed to bolt it on anyway. No I didn’t drill it, and yes I spent a lot of time fishing around in the steerer tube with my index finger like I was checking the bike’s prostate.

In addition to installing the fenders, I also graced the EOTTB with the Rene Herse tires I’ve been sitting on since sending the M-16 back to Classic Cycle:

[This may be the world’s first Rene Herse/Schraeder valve pairing! I really hope someone’s offended.]

The tires needed some prying and manipulation in order for the bead to seat evenly in the rim, and even after massaging them and inflating them to a bajillion PSI I’m not sure they’re on there perfectly. (I blame modern tires and their pesky tubeless-compatible tolerances, but maybe I’m wrong there.) They did feel quite nice on the M-16 so I’m looking forward to trying them on this bike, and it should be interesting to see how they hold up on New York City streets in winter–I’m apprehensive but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Speaking of Rene Herse, in the comments on yesterday’s post a reader shared the following from their newsletter:

We’re excited to announce our partnership with the Mechanical Engineering Department at Cal Poly (Pomona) to explore cycling-related research topics. Starting this semester, 38 undergraduate and 2 graduate students are working on a variety of projects that will improve our understanding of how bicycles work

It’s incredible to see both Jan Heine and academia continue to outdo themselves when to comes to quantifying the…well, not unquantifiable, but certainly stuff that really doesn’t need to be quantified. Hey, myths, slavish adherence to fashion, and trial and error has brought cycling this far, why change all that now? All I know is that if either of my children went to college and announced they were studying how bicycles work I’d pull them out of school immediately and send them to work packing boxes at Bikesdirect. But hopefully that never happens and they choose a more pragmatic course of study, such as rock drumming.

Anyway, after a little more futzing I had the bike more or less winterized:

I went back to clipless because I anticipate wanting to use my amazing winter boots, and I removed the sweet period-correct kickstand because it doesn’t work with the lower-profile tires. (There must be a way to shorten it without cutting it, but if so it’s not immediately apparent.) As for the considerable gap between the fenders and the tires, the reasons for this are:

  • I’m lazy
  • Mud and debris clearance
  • I might want to put fatter tires on there
  • I’m lazy
  • I’m lazy

Hey, they’re better than the fenders on the Milwaukee:

One of these days I’m never going to fix them.

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