• Thom

Fenders in the Desert?

I moved to Lakeview from the Willamette Valley region of Oregon, which is the part of the state that gives Oregon the reputation for being constantly wet, rainy and gray. Fenders ("mudguards" if I have any Brits reading this) on bicycles are a fact of life there. Sure, the racers are much too cool to mount fenders on their race bikes, but you can bet they have them on the winter training bikes. I would hazard a guess that most people buying a new bike in Portland have fenders installed before they ever leave the shop for the first time with their new steed.

Moving to the high desert appealed for many reasons, and the idea that I would no longer need fenders on every bike, while not a motivator of the move, was definitely a perk. I've not been removing them, but I have a couple of fair-weather bikes that I don't run fenders on during the summer and have not added them back over the winter here- fenders don't seem as needful in the snow, and the winter has either been snowy, or dry and clear.

This was all great, and then one of my friends/customers had me order in a gravel and bikepacking bike for him (Surly ECR, sweet chromoly frame with all the mounting points you could want, and rolling on plus sized 29x3.0 tires. My kind of bike!). Of course since he has the bike for it, we had to go find a gravel road, settling on a 35 mile out and back along the west side of Goose Lake. Nice, except there wasn't a lot of gravel on the road. Heading out early on a Sunday morning it was nicely frozen, a good solid road, easy rolling and pretty clean. By the time we turned around it had warmed up to just above freezing and the top inch or so of the road turned basically liquid. A little more resistance, but hey, this early in the season we just viewed it a training miles, so more training benefit from it. I was rolling on my dirt tourer, which is fendered, so i didn't really notice the slop, until I slowed down enough that I was behind Chris.

Even in the desert, fenders are a good thing.

88 views0 comments

© 2023 by SMALL BRAND. Proudly created with