The ride of falling leaves (Il Lombardia) was on last Saturday and the traditional end of season race for the pros marked an end to the lovely warm weather we have been enjoying over here. It was probably a good reminder that, along with some of the great aspects about group riding in the winter, there comes extra responsibilities:
The first is to take care to leave a bigger gap from the wheel in front to allow for increased stopping distances and the chance of debris on the road.
The second is to ensure that a wet weather ride is ridden by a bike that is up to it. That means taking care to clean brakes and rims regularly, ensuring that tyres are the right pressure and in good shape.
Last, but not least, is mudguards. The modern trend of aero means many suffer from clearance issues but there are many excellent (and inexpensive) solutions out there if you cannot get a traditional set of mudguards on:
- Crud Roadracer mk2. One of the cheapest solutions which are very light and they are easily fitted/removed…but they can be very wobbly and prone to constant squeaking unless you are lucky. Still, they do offer a good level of protection including chainstays, etc.
- SKS Raceblade Pro. One of the more popular options, which attach to seatstays. They have been revamped recently and greatly improved. They are detachable but the fit can vary and they can be fiddly. They don’t offer a great amount of protection…although much, much better than nothing.
- SKS Raceblade Longs, mk2. These clip on to a small bracket added to the brake bridge and are my favourite solution. They are solid, not overly heavy, and can be removed ‘easily’ (note: this does take very strong thumbs, a certain knack and a lot of practice!). Not everyone gets on with these…but then getting the right solution for you can be a personal journey!
There are lots of other options out there but anything other than full traditional mudguards will always come with a compromise somewhere.
Finally, getting out in the winter and enjoying it means wrapping up warm so, if you haven’t got one already, then don’t forget that our very own Joseph Hole designed a really natty club buff, produced by the genuine Buff company, and FREE to all club members. They really are versatile and can be used as a plain neckerchief, head band, earwarmer… In fact the instructions (yes, really!) show about 10 different ways to wear one. If you want one then let Robin know (email or via the Contact page for the Membership Secretary) and he will bring one to the AGM, which is coming up at 19:30 on the 16th November at the Exmouth Arms.