Epic Festive Base Rides and the Rainbow Bands

This Christmas I’ve been struck down with a virulent cold and cough which has necessitated the cancellation of all riding for the past 7 days. I have filled the void with a medicinal concoction of chocolate, ale and baked goods.

It seems as though everyone else has been out and about, building up their base mileage with impromptu 100 mile jaunts out onto the quiet and damp roads. Some people have even undertaken the ‘rapha festive 500′ which involves riding 500km between the 21st and 30th December. I’d have struggled with a Festive 50km.

Today I threw caution to the wind and headed out on the winter machine. I’d just about stopped sniffing and leaking mucous on a biblical scale and my cough no longer sounded like keats’ dying moments (The phlegm seem’d boiling in his throat). It seemed as good a time as any to get reacquainted with the bicycle. A week off can seem like a heck of a lot longer in bike years.

I managed an epic 24 miles and nearly made it to the Mendips, veering off towards Yatton at the last minute. It was grey and pretty damp and i saw nothing of note until I came across a bona fide world champion. Elliot Davis was wearing the rainbow bands on his way home from work; it was a resplendent sight. If i’d earned the right to wear the rainbow bands I don’t think i’d ever take them off. Elliot earned his stripes in the points race at the UCI World Masters track Championship at Manchester Velodrome this year. He also took a silver in the pursuit. That counts as a pretty amazing season.

I noticed that Elliot had ‘crudguards’ on his winter machine. Following on from crudguardgate earlier this year I can confirm that Elliot almost certainly rides properly and his testing of crudguards can be taken as evidence that they can work in certain conditions: when allied to a rainbow jersey earned in competition. Elliot used to ride a Colnago with Gilko tubing as his winter hack and pub bike until he destroyed it.

I may even go out again tomorrow. Steady the Buffs.

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Crud Catcher Mk 2 vs SKS Race Blades

there’s a pretty large gap in the market for a mudguard that can bodged onto a frame that doesn’t have mudguard eyelets or bosses. unfortunately there’s not a similar sized gap between the fork crown and wheel. crud catchers are quite popular on the club run. i have a winter bike, but wanted to find some way of using my old summer bike in winter, so have been experimenting with ‘mudguard solutions’.

if looking for some sort of winter saver for your ass, then you have 3, or possibly 4 choices.

1. get a winter bike. use winter bike. problem solved completely. make winter bike fixed wheel for extra kudos and old-skool points.

2. try sks race blades. i have tried these. they keep your ass dry but not your feet, and unfortunately deposit all the mud on the back brake. they generally last ok but can slip and move around a bit. i used to have to gaffer tape the clips. they spray the person behind you.

not my bike. SKS race blade in situ.

3. try crud catchers. i have tried these. they keep you dry, in the main. however, they rub and make all kinds of noise and don’t stay put and don’t work satisfactorily with anything else other than an ultra narrow 18mm tubular tyre. they are frustrating to fix in place, not that they can be fixed in place. they are, in short, awful.

Not my bike. Cruds in situ.

4. some sort of miraculous bodge using p-clips and proper mudguards, like they would have done back in the days of yore.

to summarise, i would avoid crud catchers like the plague. i would prefer to get horribly filthy than ride with these shonky pieces of plastic shit. rumour has it that SKS are putting out a ‘race blade long’. i am optimistic that this just might be the solution to my woes.