Buenos dÃas de Costa Rica once again lindisimos Bike Commuters! In honor of Friday and my stream of consciousness blog-barfing, I decided to muse on the unusual phenomenon that is the Skunk Stripe – prevalent throughout the downhill aguacero commutes of TurrialbeÃ±os. Â As I am (gasp!) shamefully still bikeless for over a month now, I’ve been forced to commute by foot. Â However, I’veÂ turned each bout of foot commuting into an opportunity to practice my new hobby… Similar to the popular hobby of bird watching (a.k.a. “birding” for short), I like to call my newfound sidewalk speculation bike watching (a.k.a. “biking”).
In my biking adventures here Ive spotted a resurgence of skunk stripe bikes in this rainy season! It seems that fenders here area luxury not afforded by most TurrialbeÃ±os… Other varieties of skunk stripes can be seen migrating through the Central Valley this winter such as the yellow-tail poncho, and the umbrella crest.
We’ve reviewed quite a few different types of fenders on our site, (see here,Â here, and even here forÂ rooster tails). Â So let’s put together a basic breakdown of all things fender fantasticÂ for any rookie winter riders – ticos or otherwise-Â who want to say adios to the skunk stripe. Â Let the winter bike commuting begin!
DIY Fenders – for the third world countryman in you!
For those of us with more time than dimes, check out Ghost Rider’s DIY po-boy Fender project here. Â DIY Fenders can be customized to fit your needs and can washed away that skunk stripe with some bent aluminum, corrugated plastic, a can of spray paint. Â This tutorial is a great option for some road bikes that don’t come with fender mounts built into the frame.
Clip-on Fenders – great for muddy commutes
Clip-on fenders could be a good option for muddy commutes or bikes without fender mounts build into the frame. Â The idea is to protect the rider from the water or mud from the top of the bike: front fender can mount via the steer tube and rear fender can mount via the seat tube. Â Since there is plenty of clearance between a clip-on fender and the wheel, you won’t have a problem with mud jamming up underneath. Â Prices can range between $20 -$50 for a set. Â They also make removable clip-ons like these in case you’d like to groom your fender plume regularly. Â To do away with the skunk stripe on your roadie, take a look at this article for other clip-on options.
Full-Coverage Fenders – staying high and dry
Full coverage fenders get the best coverage for any rider who is encountering lots of rain this season. Â They mount onto fender stays that are usually built in to the frame of touring, hybrid, or bike frames targeted towards utility cycling. Â I used to commuter on my Kona Dew with a pair of yellow planet bike full fenders. Â They kept me dry through the Seattle winter and I was never caught with a skunk stripe like those tricksy hipsterses on fenderless fixies… Â The only problem with full fenders is they can require frequent adjustments to keep from rubbing on the wheel – if you will be cramming your bike into car trunks or cinching the front wheel on a bus rack, you may be better off with the clip-ons and wet legs.
So, dear Bike Commuters, do you rock the skunk or do you skip the stripe with a pair of fenders? Â Why or why not? Â Post to the comments box if you have any DIY tips for readers, or other fender ideas to share…! Â Muse on and enjoy your weekend!