Despite being a fan of fenders, I’ve recently contemplated removing them from my Dahon Boardwalk S1 folding bicycle. Normally I don’t worry about weight for utility bikes, but to take the “monkey bike” on the South Shore not only must I fold it up, but usually I have to place it in the overhead luggage racks as well. At 31.5 pounds, however, this can be an unpleasant task on a moving train. Accordingly, I’ve been motivated to lighten the monkey bike, and I’ve been thinking about ditching the fenders.
Yesterday, however, convinced me to seek other solutions.
I had plans to join a geological field trip of the IN Dunes National Lakeshore area, and I was glad to realize that, rather than drive, I could bike to the airport, take the South Shore to Beverly Shores, and then (for the first time!) ride along the Calumet Trail most of the way to the field-trip-starting-point at the Dunes Learning Center.
Everything worked out well, but as you can see in the photo, the crushed-limestone surface of the Calumet Trail is quite flooded in some sections. The expansive puddles weren’t deep, but without fenders I would have arrived at my destination a muddy mess. The fenders, however, did their job, and I stayed clean and dry. It was a beautiful day, and the ride was a lot of fun.
Although I don’t often ride on flooded trails, this ride convinced me that fenders are indeed essential for my utility cycling and, accordingly, I’ll need to seek other options to put the monkey bike on a diet. Much to my wife’s chagrin, however, I’m starting to lean toward a wholesale upgrade to a new folder!