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Old 09-08-09, 12:40 AM   #1
big scholar
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SoCal commuters -- use fenders?

Hey guys. So I moved to SoCal from San Francisco in May, and I've experienced about one hour of rain so far. I'm yet to remove my fenders, but I can count on one hand the number of people I've seen using them.

Do you guys use fenders down here? When does the rainy "season" start, and how long does it last? I'm in Santa Monica, if that makes a difference. Thanks!
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Old 09-08-09, 01:10 AM   #2
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I don't think you need to worry until "fire season" ends.
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Old 09-08-09, 01:27 AM   #3
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Guess I'm one of those you missed counting...lol. Most people don't add fenders if they didn't come with the bike and they tend not to ride in the rain. Those that are dedicated bike commuters or ride cruiser bikes will tend to have fenders: sand, dirt, rocks, etc kicking up can be just as bad as water/rain conditions.

As far as rainy season, it depends on if it's a El Nino or La Nina year. El Nino is forming right now and it is predicted to be a wet winter...so expect it to start late Oct or Nov and run thru March. But rainy season down south isn't like what you are used to in SF. The total rainfall and number of rainy days is a lot less but some storms can drop a load in a short time and that can cause a lot of flooding, esp out in the valley.
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Old 09-08-09, 09:47 AM   #4
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I moved from the southeast and quickly removed fenders from all but one bike. By this time of year, it seems like it has not rained in a decade, and everything is brown. If it did rain I would be happy to go out and ride without fenders for a day. It would truly not concern me to be caught without. You might want to have a bike with fenders for the odd rain day in the winter.
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Old 09-08-09, 09:48 AM   #5
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I don't find the need for them, but if I were to change my mind I would get the kind that snap on and off as needed.
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Old 09-08-09, 10:49 AM   #6
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It's not just the rain. There's also the urban drool from the masses who over-water their absurdly green lawns. That's the stuff that'll really get you.
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Old 09-08-09, 10:52 AM   #7
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Come to think of it, my rear rack kind of acts like a fender...
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Old 09-08-09, 12:33 PM   #8
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I don't have fenders, but then I don't ride in the rain. Of course, it only rains a couple times a year.. I tried riding to work in the rain once and it was just a pain. Plus i'm scared of L.A. drivers in the rain. They're always crashing into things and other cars when there's even a light drizzle.
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Old 09-08-09, 12:41 PM   #9
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It rains so little here that most cars have bald tires and rotted windshield wipers. A bad combination when given the fact that most drivers here don't adjust speed to wet conditions. That's why we have massive accidents. That's why I won't ride when its raining. I don't mind getting hit with water but 3000lb of steel is another story.
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Old 09-08-09, 01:00 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by big scholar View Post
Hey guys. So I moved to SoCal from San Francisco in May, and I've experienced about one hour of rain so far. I'm yet to remove my fenders, but I can count on one hand the number of people I've seen using them.

Do you guys use fenders down here? When does the rainy "season" start, and how long does it last? I'm in Santa Monica, if that makes a difference. Thanks!
"it never rains in southern California... "
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Old 09-08-09, 02:05 PM   #11
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Thanks for the input, everyone. Come to think of it, whenever I remove my wheels, I notice a layer of gunk under my fenders, so they're definitely fending off something.

I'm interested to see what October and beyond are like. Yeah, the rain is probably not that big of a deal compared to other places, but unlike SF, I'm not able to take transit quite as easily. Since I have no car and only one bike, I'll leave the fenders on for now.
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Old 09-08-09, 02:27 PM   #12
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I have just a rear fender. I think I took off the front one a year ago to get the bike into a car and never got around to putting it back on.
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Old 09-08-09, 02:31 PM   #13
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I added fenders to my commuter last winter even though I don't commute on rainy days (either of them ). No matter what time of year it is, it is rare I make it to work without running through a far amount of water. Mostly from people overwatering. It definately keeps everything a lot cleaner than running without and a few ounces of fenders aren't going to impact my ride enough to notice.
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Old 09-08-09, 03:18 PM   #14
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I've lived in L.A., Monterey ( very much like S.F.) and Portland . So Cal rain doesn't come very often but when it does it can rain hard. It can be very dangerous, oil built-up on the roads and drivers inexperience on wet roads.
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Old 09-08-09, 03:38 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by alicestrong View Post
I don't find the need for them, but if I were to change my mind I would get the kind that snap on and off as needed.
Same here. I've been thinking about getting one of those seatpost mounting fenders for a couple of years but the rain always stops before I have a chance to buy it.
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Old 09-08-09, 04:02 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by thenomad View Post
It rains so little here that most cars have bald tires and rotted windshield wipers. A bad combination when given the fact that most drivers here don't adjust speed to wet conditions. That's why we have massive accidents. That's why I won't ride when its raining. I don't mind getting hit with water but 3000lb of steel is another story.
Some folks I work with use this sort of reasoning against me when I ride to work in the rain. My retort:
This is precisely why I wouldn't want to drive in the rain. Cars are death traps.
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Old 09-08-09, 10:04 PM   #17
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The splash from passing cars gets me far wetter than what is thrown up by my own tires. My racks do tend to ward off some of the liquid. I just don't like to mess with fenders - I ditched mine right after I shed the training wheels.
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Old 09-08-09, 11:48 PM   #18
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My Specialized Globe 6 came with full plastic fenders and I'm sold on them. Every commute by bike, I run through sprinkler run-off or spew from a garbage truck that made a right hand turn. In the case of Hollywood, every toxic or biohazard thing you can think of. Even on the driest of summers, you run the chance of getting wet or filthed up. For commuting, the right fenders can make your commute better.
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Old 09-09-09, 12:05 AM   #19
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I commute 1-2 days a week and usually not on the five weekdays a year it rains. I'm o a MTB and only 2.5 miles to work.
Plus, we have showers at work.

So, no fenders for me.

They're almost like snow tires here - an unkown entity.
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Old 09-09-09, 10:00 PM   #20
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I commute every day including light to medium rain days. Last "winter" rain season I don't think I missed riding the bike on any work days because of rain. Even worse than rain days are heavy fog drizzle days which can occur in spring and even early summer. That creates a gritty, wet sludge that can coat the chain with crud. I have full coverage SKS fenders on both of my commute bikes, and leave them on year round. I bike commute daily but I sure don't want to clean my chain that often, or even once a week. With fenders, my chain is good for about 400-500 miles between cleanings. The front fender with mud flap extension blocks nearly all of the junk that the front tire would otherwise throw onto the chain, bike, lower headset and me. Did I mention I have not changed my Shimano Ultegra headset in 7 years / over 30K miles of use? Thanks, fenders.
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Old 09-10-09, 12:22 AM   #21
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wondering the same; probably will get fenders by halloween. i have 3 bikes and at least one of them should be geared for wet weather riding.
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Old 09-10-09, 12:30 AM   #22
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Sprinkler runoff creates a lake at the end of my street pretty much every day in the summer, so I commute with fenders. I suppose they'd be useful in the rain as well.
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Old 09-10-09, 05:21 AM   #23
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They're not just for water:
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Old 09-10-09, 08:14 AM   #24
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+1 no fenders and just take the bus when it rains. if i have to go far i take the car.
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