Perfect biking weather lately. 20° with a wind chill of 10.. pitch dark at 5:00pm.. wind advisory until 10:00pm.. what’s not to like? As long as there’s no snow or ice, I’ll take this over hot and humid any day.
I’m still figuring out the optimum layering strategy for comfort in these conditions. I think I’m pretty close now. I’ve been packing a PolarTec pullover on my rides, but I haven’t needed it so far. I was comfortable today with a short-sleeve top, arm warmers, long-sleeve jersey, wind breaker, and hi-vis vest. I do like having the PolarTec top as an insurance policy, in case I need to stop to change a tire or something. But as long as I’m moving, it looks like I’m good without it down to 20° or so.
The back fender on my bike has been giving me some trouble lately. The bike lacks a chainstay bridge, so I’ve been using two zip ties to attach the fenders, one around the chainstays and another to attach the fender to the first tie. In general, this setup has worked well for me. The first zip tie occasionally breaks, maybe 2 or 3 times a year, but it’s easy to replace. However, it’s now broken twice in the last week, both times in the dark during my ride home. Not sure why it’s suddenly taken to breaking, but I can’t have it happening in December on my rides home. So this morning I replaced the zip tie with a hose clamp. I wrapped the stays with electrical tape to protect the frame, attached the clamp so that the screw housing was centered between the stays, and attached the second zip tie to the screw housing. It seems pretty solid, but it raises the end of the fender a little farther above the stays than I’d like, so I may experiment with it a bit more. In any event, the clamp shouldn’t break as easily as a zip tie, I hope.
This blog entry from Problem Solvers shows how to make a fender mount using an old presta tube. It’s an intriguing idea. If you look at the picture there, the end of the fender is still a little high. I’d like to get mine down between the stays, to keep more debris off the bike, and also to keep the fender from shifting side to side. I think this could be accomplished by using an extra nut (and maybe a washer or 2) on the other side of the fender, to get the tube down a little lower and space the fender farther away from the seat tube. I may give this a shot.