SKS RaceBlade Fenders

“Rainy days and Mondays always get me down…” I heard that somewhere once, but I’ve come to embrace it as of late. I started commuting to work by bike again, and I’m starting to see more of each of those while I’m on my bike. I can’t do anything about the Mondays, but I can fight the rainy days a little better when I use my SKS Race Blade Fenders.

The SKS RaceBlade Fenders come in two different sizes for different tire widths (RaceBlade, for 700×18-23c, and RaceBlade XL for 700×25-32c), and are affixed onto the bike by four small rubber straps per fender, for quick release situations. You also have the option of using zip-ties to attach them a bit more permanently, if you are leaving them on the bike for longer periods of time. Once the bracket is set to the right position on the frame, the plastic fender can slide in its bracket for different style frame designs and fits, allowing extreme adjustability and fit for almost any bike. The tight profile of the RaceBlade Fenders makes it very non-intrusive and keeps with the minimalist-type gear that most roadies crave.

If you’ve ever ridden behind someone in the rain, you are aware of the “rooster tail” effect of the water coming off the ground from the bike in front of you. If there’s nothing there to keep the water from continuously spraying you in the face, then you either have to ride twenty feet back, or ride to the left or right of the person that’s ahead of you. This does two things; it splits the group and kills the efficiency of the group, and it makes you ride farther out into traffic, becoming much more of a risk for you, and for the sometimes unaware driver traveling behind you. The benefits of the SKS RaceBlades for the individual are that they keep the bike slightly cleaner from road spray, and they keep the “rooster tail” effect from leaving a nice wet stripe up your back while riding. I know from first hand experience, the more water you can keep off your body in adverse weather conditions, the less miserable you will be.

The SKS RaceBlade Fender Set is a must-have for any cyclist facing a possible commute in the rain, or if you like to ride when there’s water on the roads. Rain and inclement weather has stopped me from riding before, but not as much, thanks to this product. These fenders are one of the best purchases I’ve made in the last few years, and are a great value at just under $60 for the pair. For more information about the SKS RaceBlade Fenders, please see, or check them out at most local bike shops.

Enough is Enough…

Should I Start Training Now?

It’s winter.  In the South, winter equals cold and rainy days, which are miserable for riding bikes outdoors.  In my opinion, riding indoors is equivalent to the same misery.  I hate indoor cycling.

In my last post, I discussed what motivates cyclists to ride during the winter.  My motivation for riding outdoors is to keep from riding indoors.  I would rather suffer in freezing cold temperatures than to set up the rollers or trainer indoors.  As a matter of fact, the day after that post, I did a group ride in the snow.  At least I wasn’t on the trainer.

When I think of riding indoors, I think of last year’s training sessions where I’d spend 2 hours on rollers trying to build my fitness and mental toughness.  I was shooting for a good 2009 racing season, but raced about three times due to the arrival of my second child.  Those roller sessions really sucked, and for 2009, those sessions proved to be worthless.

If you haven’t figured it out from the last few paragraphs… I HATE INDOOR CYCLING!

But… there’s a time during the year when a cyclist like myself must do the deed.  There’s a time when you drag out the image of the giant scale, weigh the pros and cons of riding in the cold rain versus sitting on the rollers, and eventually side with the indoor training option.  It’s different types of misery, and sometimes the rollers win.

So… what is the line that must be crossed to push me to the “dark side?”  One of the big reasons for me is the demon of self-image. (Side note:  You know self-image among cyclists is a problem… don’t even pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.)

When I see myself as “fat” and “out of shape,” I usually turn my training up a notch.  There’s a certain “fighting weight” that I try to stay between throughout the year.  If I get close to the upper limits of that range, I get unhappy and start to do something about it.  I tend to change up my diet for a while and add a few extra hours into my riding schedule, whenever possible.

Another reason I switch to training indoors during the winter is weather.  I am aware that not everybody is lucky enough to have the “winter” that I have in Georgia, but it’s still not fun to ride in sometimes.  Our winters tend to be cold, windy, and wet… adverse conditions for me.  If it’s too nasty, I don’t want to put my bike out in those conditions.  Sometimes, it’s just too much trouble to clean and tune the bike after riding in the rain.

What pushes you indoors?  What’s the point that you say, “I’m not going out today.  I’d rather stay in and spin?”

Cycling During Winter Months

Would You Ride This?

Question… How do you do it?  How do you stay motivated to ride (indoors or outdoors) during the winter months?  I’ve got a charity ride planned in the morning to benefit Toys For Tots, but the forecast is for freezing temperatures and snow/precipitation.   How do you wrap your mind around stupid-cold, crappy weather?

I remember back to 2003.  A group of Canadian cyclists made their way down south for the early spring to conduct a training camp in Clemson, SC, where I was living/working at the time.  They came in the shop, hung out, bought some parts and accessories over those few weeks, and developed a relationship with myself and the other guys at the shop that lasted quite a few years.  They continued to visit in following years, and we kept in touch via e-mail frequently.

In one of those e-mails, Don (the “leader of the pack”) sent me a picture of a group of cyclists from the club from the Great White North.  They were running a pretty solid paceline down a road, in what looked like blizzard-type conditions.  I quit complaining about cold weather at that point.

So what’s your solution for riding in the cold?  Is there a particular “dress code” that you abide by?  Do you use embrocation in conjunction with your attire?  Is there a certain temperature at which you say, “that’s just too cold?”  Please leave your feedback below.  Thanks.

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