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Holland, Belgium, France, and Spain in September- Fenders?

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Holland, Belgium, France, and Spain in September- Fenders?

Old 08-21-23, 11:34 AM
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Holland, Belgium, France, and Spain in September- Fenders?

Hello! My wife and I are planning our honey moon ride of approx 1100 miles through the aforementioned countries in September. We have a route planned of mostly EV and other established routes and are very excited about the regions we will be crossing. Our tandem has couplers and can be packed into two luggage boxes to check. It is currently a pretty tight squeeze to get all our stuff packed, and I am wondering if people familiar with these countries this time of year (we will mostly be in France) would recommend bringing fenders. From what I can tell online it sounds like we should expect rain but generally light rain. I am from the Seattle area in Washington state and fenders are pretty much a must have starting in October, but it would be really nice to not have to pack them.

Also more generally speaking, is there anything that I should know about riding a tandem across these countries? We are planning on mostly camping but will be trying for lodging every few days for comfort. Our particular tandem is very long and I worry about hotels not being able to accommodate its size, or it taking up too much space parked on the sidewalk.

Thank you so much!
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Old 08-21-23, 12:13 PM
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I don't do touring, but during my rides I do make contact with many who are touring through the area. Our State Park here in Bastrop is a favorite pleasant camping area under the Lost Pines of Texas. Most tour-ers don't mind showing off their gear to someone who is interested and I have found that serious tour-ers always have high quality rain gear and high quality fenders. The most popular being the aluminum ones with dimples. Most have also been tediously modified to make a better fitting around various types of panniers and racks. One of the tandem bikes I saw was heavily loaded. They only needed half fenders as the panniers and bags offered most of the rooster tail protection. The half fenders were positioned in the rear facing the seat tube and on the front facing the down tube. That bike was carrying panniers front and back plus a handle bar bag and a log roll on a rack in the back. They were making their way to Florida from Phoenix so I do believe the system was proven.

It might be easier to pack half fenders to take over there but then again what about the tools, hardware, and mounting? Ya could be just opening up a bag of worms...
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Old 08-21-23, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by zandoval
I don't do touring, but during my rides I do make contact with many who are touring through the area. Our State Park here in Bastrop is a favorite pleasant camping area under the Lost Pines of Texas. Most tour-ers don't mind showing off their gear to someone who is interested and I have found that serious tour-ers always have high quality rain gear and high quality fenders. The most popular being the aluminum ones with dimples. Most have also been tediously modified to make a better fitting around various types of panniers and racks. One of the tandem bikes I saw was heavily loaded. They only needed half fenders as the panniers and bags offered most of the rooster tail protection. The half fenders were positioned in the rear facing the seat tube and on the front facing the down tube. That bike was carrying panniers front and back plus a handle bar bag and a log roll on a rack in the back. They were making their way to Florida from Phoenix so I do believe the system was proven.

It might be easier to pack half fenders to take over there but then again what about the tools, hardware, and mounting? Ya could be just opening up a bag of worms...
Sound advice. I did a 2 month tour down the West Coast a while back and had fenders the whole way. Only really needed them for one day, and even then I would have been find without them. However this will be our first time in Europe so I am very interested in opinions
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Old 08-21-23, 12:58 PM
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Unlike France, Spain requires cyclists to wear helmets - or on the spot fines can be expected.

Beware also of Spanish road closures. The police consider roads closed to cars to be closed to cyclists too, even if Google Maps appears to have been informed that cyclists (and pedestrians) are exempt from the closure.

I wouldn't go anywhere without mudguards - in any month. Thunderstorms happen even mid-summer (especially in the Pyrénées). It is possible you could purchase a cheap set on Amazon to be delivered to one of your European destinations.
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Old 08-21-23, 01:01 PM
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Where in Spain? str might have some helpful advice.
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Old 08-21-23, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Where in Spain? str might have some helpful advice.
Ending in Barcelona, riding West from Montepellier. I think I am less worried about rain in Spain compared to the Northern countries but that is not based on much.
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Old 08-21-23, 03:43 PM
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If I was worried about packing fenders because of lack of room, I would simply buy some on arrival. No shortage of bicycle shops in Europe that stock fenders.
You realize of course if you install fenders it won't rain, however if don't install fenders it's pretty much garanteed to rain.
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Old 08-21-23, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by gerryl
If I was worried about packing fenders because of lack of room, I would simply buy some on arrival. No shortage of bicycle shops in Europe that stock fenders.
You realize of course if you install fenders it won't rain, however if don't install fenders it's pretty much garanteed to rain.
This is exactly my dilemma! That is a good point. I would hate to be wasteful and buy one-time-use fenders but maybe I can find a place to donate them at the end of our journey if we do buy some.
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Old 08-21-23, 11:15 PM
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My wife and I rode through all of those countries toward the end of a 3-month ride starting in Lisbon. We experienced 35 days of rain toward the end of our trip. It rained all day on some of those days , and short showers on others, but it did get wet. We've ridden through Belgium, the Netherlands, and France three times and experienced significant rain on all three trips (total of 7 months and 6500 miles). Spain and Portugal are the only countries that we did not experience rain out of the 10 countries we rode through.

This site will give you a pretty good idea of what to expect: Weatherspark

This slide from a presentation we made of our 2011 trip pretty much says it all.


Fitting fenders tends to take some time, and tools to do it right. I 'd suggest that you fit the fenders on your bike before you leave and then take them off the bike and pack them separately. I'm almost certain that fenders will make the trip more enjoyable. Living in Seattle, you probably have good rain gear already.

Last edited by Doug64; 08-21-23 at 11:27 PM.
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Old 08-22-23, 12:46 AM
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We did a 4 month and a 3 month tour in Europe without fenders. If you have a pack on top of the rear rack, most rain is stopped from flicking up. The front is a minor nuisance but you could buy a cheap plastic guard to tie onto the downtube if you want.
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Old 08-22-23, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64
My wife and I rode through all of those countries toward the end of a 3-month ride starting in Lisbon. We experienced 35 days of rain toward the end of our trip. It rained all day on some of those days , and short showers on others, but it did get wet. We've ridden through Belgium, the Netherlands, and France three times and experienced significant rain on all three trips (total of 7 months and 6500 miles). Spain and Portugal are the only countries that we did not experience rain out of the 10 countries we rode through.

This site will give you a pretty good idea of what to expect: Weatherspark

This slide from a presentation we made of our 2011 trip pretty much says it all.


Fitting fenders tends to take some time, and tools to do it right. I 'd suggest that you fit the fenders on your bike before you leave and then take them off the bike and pack them separately. I'm almost certain that fenders will make the trip more enjoyable. Living in Seattle, you probably have good rain gear already.
This is amazing! Your route through France is almost identical to what we are planning (assuming you were following the Rhone). Okay, this is convincing me to bring our fenders. We currently do have full plastic fenders that are well fitted, only nuisance is that we have 26" wheels so they are rather bulky. But I bet I can make them fit. If you have any existing write-ups or advice about your past trips I would love to see them. Thank you for the reply.
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Old 08-22-23, 12:31 PM
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"The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain...." What we call fenders are called mudguards (garde-boue ) in other countries, There is lots of other stuff on roads that mudguards will keep off you. Especially in farming areas.
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Old 08-22-23, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by ironwood
"The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain...." What we call fenders are called mudguards (garde-boue ) in other countries, There is lots of other stuff on roads that mudguards will keep off you. Especially in farming areas.
That is the truth! My wife had a flat tire about 10 minutes after we got off this dike.


Most of the mud was captured by the small mud guard on my wife's bike. Notice that the mud stayed low, close to the bottom bracket on the cross tube, and did not splatter onto the chainring.

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Old 08-22-23, 10:20 PM
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I suggest picking them up there. Decathlon has some economical models that are easy to mount.
https://www.decathlon.co.uk/p/24-26-...754?mc=8328053
https://www.decathlon.co.uk/p/26-29-...953?mc=8824953
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Old 08-23-23, 05:24 AM
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SKS makes many styles, including the quick-release Veloflexx and Raceblade models.

https://www.sks-germany.com/en/produ...ies/mudguards/

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Old 08-26-23, 10:39 PM
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The pictures were taken on the return trip from a concert we attended the night before. My wife and I rode over the previous day, stayed at a motel after the concert, and rode home the next day. It was only 90 miles (round trip), and we were expecting rain on the ride home. I had just picked up a beautiful Cannondale touring bike the week before, and really wanted to give it a good test ride. However, I didn't want to put fenders on it until I was sure I wanted to keep it.



We took a break and did a quick comparison; it showed a significant difference in the amount of water and dirt on our rain gear. My wife and her bike were a lot cleaner than me and my bike, and this was only about the middle of our ride home.



Many of the cycle routes the OP is planning on ridding can have some dirt or crushed gravel. Most of the water and mud on my legs were kicked up by the front wheel.

These pictures were taken on a paved but muddy farm road between Belgium and the Netherlands used by farmers harvesting produce from the fields. The bike tires were more aggressive then the tires in the picture above, picking up more water and mud. The front fenders deflected a significant amount of water and mud away from me.





I'm may be be little biased, but l like my fenders

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Old 08-30-23, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by antmaster5000
Ending in Barcelona, riding West from Montepellier. I think I am less worried about rain in Spain compared to the Northern countries but that is not based on much.

Avoid the "RED" national roads in Spain. Also avoid the "RED" national roads on the coast! lots of traffic, lots of tourists.
If cycling on the coast use only the "WHITE" comarcales roads. There are nice villages on the coast, Cadaques, Roses, El port de la Selva ...... but now in summer I guess all very packed with humans )))
I would cycle inland on "WHITE" comarcales roads, from little village to little village. Maybe visit Figueras, DALI museum. Girona is very beautiful!

all best.

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Old 08-31-23, 08:07 AM
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Some of the pictures are self explanatory. Beside rain, you will ride on agricutural areas. For instance sugar roots trucks in the north. ´Manure here and there etc.
I did some wild camping in the Netherland, it's really hard to find remote places, it's the same in most of Belgium. It's much easier in France and Spain. In France there's always drinkable water inside cemeteries. In Spain it's fountains at the centre of the villages.
Euro Velo are, from my point of view boring, I particularly hate the Via-Rhona which is straight and flat.
some french cities have relatively unsafe suburbs
(Valence, Nîmes, Beziers, Narbonne) : always keep an eye on your tandem.
The road from Argelès to Portbou is worth the trip !!
feel free to ask
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