Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bicycling in the rain (Sept. 12, 2008)

Current mood: uncomfortable

It poured rain here today. My wife had errands to run and I needed to go a couple places myself. The only choice was either to get wet or stay home. I got wet.

My trusty $5 church rummage sale bicycle has no fenders. Even on simple wet pavement, the tires throw rooster tails. In steady rain like today, I got soaked, front and back, within the first quarter mile. All told, I had about 10 miles to travel, with a couple dry-out periods in between, but it didn't matter much. I was still soaked.

This is some of why I prefer snow to rain. Especially cold snow. Warm snow is when temperatures are just below freezing so what's on the ground is more slush than snow and so acts like thick rain. Same goes for when bus commuting. The worst commuting weather is a 38 degree rain. The 28 degree slop that Pittsburgh gets so much of isn't much better. I much prefer that it get cold, real cold, and stay there.

But back to September 12. The temp was close to 70. I just dealt with the wet. I had to carry a book with me both directions, and some papers. It wasn't all that much, so I just put it all in a ziplock bag, put that in another bag, and stuffed the whole thing between my T-shirt and dress shirt. Not elegant, but it got the job done.

On Leg 2 of the trip, during an active drizzle, I looked for a partial solution to the fender problem. For some time, I've had a bunji cord tied around my seat post, "just in case". Of course I found this alongside the road. Today I put it to use. I looked for something suitable as a fender, first in a couple of dumpsters, then just kept my eyes open as I rode along. It didn't take long. The winner was a plastic cover to a KFC bucket, with deep indentations to hold various pieces of food, apparently. With some deft stretching of cord and twisting of plastic, I fashioned a workable rear fender. I thought it might fall off in 200 feet, but it ended up staying put for the remaining seven miles of the trip. It didn't do a perfect job, but it certainly helped.

For a front fender, I can probably fashion something together with the remnants of a plastic sign I have in the basement. I'll just cut it to fit, and use some cable ties (again, that I found alongside the road) to hook it to the bike frame. Again, not elegant, but workable, another zero-cost fix.

The proper solution will probably cost some money. I do need to install a luggage rack for the back, which will double as a fender. Anything costing money, though, will have to wait.
Makeshift fender

No comments: