Pretty in Pink
Back when I was a kid all new bikes came with fenders. Cruisers had fenders. English Racers had fenders. Even my Frejus tour de France with tubular, glue-on-tires, had metal fenders that sort of matched the chrome lugs.
But when I bought my new 21st century bike it didn’t have fenders so for the first two winters I used a pair of black Planet Bike Hard Core Freddy Fenders that I picked up at my local bike shop.
These certainly made winter cycling a lot neater. One year I even ran them through May for the Montauk Century. I remember one roadie refering to the Sirrus as “that ehh … bike you’re riding” as though having fenders somehow made me less of a cyclist, or my Sirrus less of a bike.
Ride a bike with fenders in January and you’re hard core. Ride the same bike in May, you’re a Fred, or in my case, a Doris.
All of this fender joy ended when the allen bolt that secures the rear rack to my drop out eyelets became stuck. I spent the next two or three winters with snow, rain, and muck splashing up onto my legs and across my back… which sort of puts a chill on winter riding.
I must’ve first seen Planet Bike’s Limited Edition Pink Cascadia Fender when they decided to do a limited run in 2007. But then it didn’t make sense to buy a set of fenders, if I could still get them, when I couldn’t actually put them on my bike.
I tried all sorts of methods to remove the stubborn bold including buying a better tool, buying a lesser tool and filling the head with crazy glue to improve the grip. None of these methods worked.
Then I finally decided to google “Stuck Allen Bolt.”
Lo and behold I fould a website that explained several methods of removing these troublesome widgets from your iron steed. Then once the bolt was off, and I thought that was it, who could resist trying to track down a pair of these pretty pink wonders?
I promptly sent off a message to Planet Bike the same day. They responded, within moments of my inquiry stating that they had run out of the limnited edition fenders long ago and had none, in any size, available. But if Google had worked miracles for me once it was certainly worth a second try. The first time met with few results but when I tried it a few days later, Amazon, of all places, was near the top of the list!!!
Fenders must be in their heyday because a mere two days after my Cascadias arrived the New York Times Fashion and Style section published Gear Test | Bike Fenders That is, if fenders ever had a fashion heyday.
While the hardware included wasn’t entirely consistent with the description included in the directions, it certainly was an ample amount of hardware for mounting, including some 25mm allen bolts that are long enough to mount the fender brackets inside the rack braces, with room to spare.
Fitting the fenders was not quite as easy as I remember. The Cascadia seem to be a bit longer than the Hard Core and seem to run a bit slimmer. Although Planet Bike says they’re for road bikes with tires up to 700 x 28 these Cascadias run fairly close to my Armadillo 25mm tires. They also lack the metal hook that latches onto the chain stay connector. The front bold isn’t quite long enough for the Sirrus fork so I wound up using the one I’d left in there from my old Hard Core fenders.
Some users on Bikeforums have mentioned conflicts with the Nexave front derailleur that provides very little clearance between the derailleur and the rear tire, and suggest upgrading to a Tiagara. For now, I firmly attached the bottom section to the chainstay connector with a bolt to hold it firmly in place. Let’s hope the derailleur upgrade won’t be necessary.