Dirty Mudder Trucker

With lousy weather predominating in recent weeks, riding opportunities have been limited. I did get out on a few rides to test out my new fenders, with mixed results.

A late-season snow gave me an opportunity to ride the Long Haul Trucker in a few inches of the white stuff, and the bike (and fenders) worked great.

The same wasn’t the case a week later, on a Miami County gravel ride. The ride started off nice enough, despite stiff wind and relentless hills. This picture was taken just west of Paola, on a hill with Osawatomie in the distance:

East of Paola, I led us to the abandoned bridge across Victory Road. Once we’d dodged the barricades and picked out way across the old structure, which was missing a few too many deck boards for comfort, but otherwise sound, we took to the old road leading north.

It was solid enough for about a quarter mile, then it turned into a mud pit, an absolute quagmire. The center of the road was covered with water and gooey mud, and only the shoulders were solid. I took the left shoulder while my riding partners took the right shoulder.

After a hundred yards or so, my shoulder all but disappeared, while theirs was still solid. Oh well, soldier on.

Ultimately, I ended up walking on a soggy shoulder and pushing the bike through the mud. The knobby tires proved adept at catching and holding mud, and the fenders were soon jammed full, and the wheels would no longer turn. I had to stop at least twice to clear out the fenders as best I could, but I eventually made it to the end of the mud.

The picture below doesn’t begin to do it justice. That was after cleaning off everything I could…

The rest of the ride was a slog. I just couldn’t get all the mud off, and my bike felt about ten pounds heavier than normal.

The picture below is from the next day, just before I gave the dirty mudder trucker a bath:

So in this case, the fenders, although they kept the rest of the bike reasonably clean, didn’t really work out. They’ve worked well otherwise, and I don’t plan to take them off, but I’ll try to stay out of mudholes in the future.

DirtBum Written by:

I enjoy riding bicycles all over -- city streets, suburbia, rural roads, gravel roads, dirt roads, rail-trails, and singletrack. I love exploring the countryside and finding the interesting and historical treasures hidden in plain sight. You can follow my rides on Strava.

One Comment

  1. April 20, 2009

    I’ve had the same problem on my fendered LHT with wet snow, but I have thus far managed to avoid riding in anything quite that muddy on that bike.

    Just think, though, how much mud would have been all over the rest of your bike, had the fenders not been there. Seems like a worthwhile tradeoff.

    Great blog and photos, by the way!

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