Winter Weather Brings Longboard Fenders

Down in the shop last night I mounted new SKS Longboard Fenders from Rivendell Bicycle Works on my Atlantis.  The splash off the front wheels has been  the only drawback to riding on wider tires.   Wider tires equals more water pushed up into my legs and shoes.  I researched all manners of solutions and could not bring myself to the bike hack of refashioned water bottles and duct tape.

How much better are these fenders?  My front fenders were about 9″ off the pavement and these are about 2″ off the pavement and slightly wider at the bottom along with being curved forward along the wheel.  Less height means less water splashed onto me.















I am hoping to get one more season out of my Shimano waterproof shoes which let way too much water in for my taste.

AFTER I finished the installation I found that Rivendell had a video explaining how to do it.  I am including the video to remind myself to look and plan first.


They also have a group of pictures on Flickr showing the actual product.


Preparing For Your Long-Distance Bike Tour

From a Facebook post by Darren Alff (see notes at the end).  For those not on Facebook.

Packing for a bicycle tour is one thing. Preparing your body and mind for life on the road is another. In this article I address how you can 1) get in shape and 2) mentally prepare for a long-distance bike tour.

Get In Shape — Ride Your Bike
Bicycle touring can be a workout…and you need to be physically prepared. Before you even step on your bike, you need to assess your personal level of fitness. Some people have never ridden a bicycle before. Others are experienced cyclists with thousands of miles under their belts. Most of us are somewhere in between. If you are an experienced rider in good physical shape, you can likely skip this step. But if you are new to cycling or know that you are not in as good a shape as you should be, then please keep reading.

It is important that you see a doctor before heading out on a bike tour, and before beginning a training regiment. Once you’ve been given the go-ahead to start training for your trip, jump on your bike and start riding. It’s important to ride your bike as much as you possibly can! The goal to 1) get in shape and 2) feel comfortable, safe, and in control of your bicycle. Working out at the gym, improving your cardiovascular workouts, and eating healthy foods can also play a part in preparing for a long-distance bike tour. But while working out at the gym is good, riding a bike for long distances is even better. You know you’re ready to depart on your bike tour when you can ride at least 20-30 miles without feeling any extreme discomfort.

Become A Strongman — Add Some Weight
Once you’ve become comfortable riding your bike, start adding some weight. Add a couple panniers to your bicycle or start pulling a trailer. As your departure date nears, start riding your bike with more and more weight added.

Riding a bicycle with no weight on it is completely different than riding a bike weighted down with 30-60 pounds of additional gear, especially if you plan to ride with front panniers, which drastically affects the way your bike handles.

Riding with a weighted bike while close to home will help to ensure your safety on the road once you start your tour and it will get your body in shape — as carrying that weight on your bike does require some extra muscles.

Understand Your Gear — Practice Packing Your Panniers/Trailer
Experienced bicycle travelers will pack and unpack their bikes several times before they leave on tour… and I recommend you do the same. This packing and unpacking process will help you understand what items you REALLY need for your trip. It will also allow you to practice distributing the weight of your gear evenly across your bike and placing your personal items back in the same place each and every time you pack your bike.

Know What It’s Like — Live Off Your Bike
As your tour grows closer, start living your life as though you are already on your bike tour. Pack up your bike completely and start living off of it. Start sleeping in your sleeping bag; bathe with the same toiletry kit you’ll be using on your tour; wear the same clothes you’ll be traveling in; and go on bike rides on a daily basis — even if it means riding to and from work. Do this for a few days (or even a few weeks) and you’ll get a taste of what it’s really like to be on tour.

Toughen Up — Sleep On The Ground
If you are really into the preparation process and you plan on camping while on your tour, try sleeping on the ground (or even outside) for several nights before you leave on your trip. Camping is a very hard thing for some people to adjust to. But if you can get used to the camping process before you leave on your tour, you will be that much more comfortable once you hit the road.

So, there it is! Five things you can do right now to start preparing for your upcoming bike tour.

What else would you add to the list? How are you preparing for your next bike tour? What questions do you have about preparing your body and mind for life on the road?

DARREN ALFF conducted his first long-distance bicycle tour in 2001 at the age of 17. He’s been traveling by bike ever since and just recently returned from a 9-month tour of central and eastern Europe. Darren now runs the website at and is working to inspire a new generation of bicycle travelers to get out and explore the world.

My Favorite Cycling New Year’s Resolutions

Cyclists crossing Kansas in the Bikecentennial...
Image via Wikipedia

My favorite Cycling resolutions for 2010 came from this article by Selene Yaeger on

Don’t expect to see changes if you always ride the same routes at the same speed with the same people. If cycling improvement is what you’re after, resolve to do these 10 things in the months ahead.

The question is which will I actually commit to, or even consider for 2010?

Register for a Race – A little out of my price range, would rather have a new bike!
Go Easy More Often – This makes sense and I can commit to it!
Ride Out of Your Rut – Willingly
Work on the Fundamentals – Trainer?  Would love to set one up regularly, but will pass on this one for now.
Get a Jump on the Competition – Makes sense, except for time and exposure to someone who knows about this, will try skateboarding to provide something.
Shrink Your Cycling Circles – A group ride would be fun, need a group, probably not the issue she mentions.
Condition Your Core – I will commit to trying this!
Track Your Progress – Commit!
Balance Your Body – Need a stability ball
Set Up a Cycle – Can a commuter do this?

Systems Analysis: The Bike and You

The trick to the local trips is to jump on the bike and go, not to worry about anything but the joy of riding and the hardfun of getting there.  I think I view real riding the same way despite everyone talking about the bike and its rider as a unit.  My advice is to view yourself and your bike as a system, and while you are at it to pay attention to both parts.  My issue was a calf-pirformis issue and minor knee skirmishes.  And I viewed them as unrelated to my bike, despite their regular occurrence when I pushed my speed up a notch.

The October, 2009 Bicycling magazine, a great magazine that still doesn’t get the Internet so don’t look for the article to ever be online, had a great article on repositioning your cleats to maximize power as well as removing painful conditions.  They apparently got the information from Joe Friel who wrote the “Training Bible”.  The article includes pictures and details, but is similar to the first paragraph of this article by Jennifer Sherry.

So I moved the cleats back.  Tomorrow I will go out and find out if the adjustment has an impact or needs further tweaking.  The point I am making after I made the decision to adjust and before I know the impact is to read the articles, make your mind up, and think about the system as a whole.  Makes sense.

Baby Powder your tires as well as your tubes

I may not be the last person to figure this out; however, I feel like it. I apply talc (baby powder) to my tubes to restrict pinch flats and ease all sorts of issues. And to speed finding objects in my tires I always mount the same way, the label on the tire is bisected by the nipple, which always leaves the last section of the tire to pull over the wheel at the same place. Today I applied a fine coat of baby powder just to the inside of that one section and pow! the whole tire simply glides on with no effort, and this one is rigid. Try this trick if you have ever had any issues at all with your tire, skip this if you really like to wince and grunt and have sore palms after the last bit of the tire goes on. Time saved is time to ride, and this will pay off on the road for your buddies who wait as well.