Well, this morning I finally got the planetary alignment needed to sneak in a holiday-break ride. Woke up early and snuck out while the rest of the family was still asleep. Yesterday’s rain washed most of the remaining snow and salt off the roads. While it wasn’t exactly great biking conditions, it was the best we’ve had in the last 10 days or so. And the sun actually came out, too.
I did around 25 miles on the road bike through Ellicott City, Oella, Catonsville, and Arbutus, finishing up with my usual ride home through Relay and Patapsco State Park. I took the road bike. 2 observations. First, my back tire was still slipping quite a bit, mainly on New Cut Rd and in Ellicott City. I stopped briefly and let a bit of air out of the tire, which seemed to help, that is, the tire didn’t slip any more after that. I’m not sure if I’m hitting black ice, or if these tires (Continental Ultra Gatorskin) are just really bad when the roads are the least bit slick. I’ve taken dozens of rides on them in really wet, albeit warmer, conditions, and had no problem, so I’m a bit puzzled. In any case, I may see if riding them at around 90-100psi (vs 110-120) does the trick.
The second observation is that my rear fender is still giving me problems, even after removing it and spending ½ hour adjusting it prior to the ride. I’m also a little confused as to why the fender is suddenly so prone to rubbing, after working fine for over a year. But regardless, ½ hour is too long to have to spend fiddling with it to keep it from rubbing. The problem with this bike is that there’s just not enough clearance for the fenders between the brakes and tires. The fenders will fit, but if they fall even slightly out of adjustment, or if the wheel goes slightly out of true, the fenders start rubbing. When they work, they’re great, but when they don’t, it’s aggravating.
I think I’m going to try moving the fenders to the fixed-gear bike, and make it my bad weather bike, at least for this winter. The fixie has a lot more clearance for fenders, so I want to see how well they work. It lacks rear eyelets, but I can fit a couple of p-clamps around the seat stays to attach the struts. It may turn out to be just as big a hassle, but at least I’ll have tried.