Wednesday, August 08, 2007


I love zip ties. These things are right up there with duct tape, red wine and polio vaccine on my list of Shit I'm Glad Someone Invented.

After getting sloppy wet a week or so ago while riding home in the rain, I was really missing the fenders I used on my old commuter bike, which is now a stripped frame in a corner of the backyard shed. Problem was, my old '96 Stumpjumper was designed as a race bike, so the frame is devoid of braze-ons and threaded eyelets for stuff like racks and fenders. That was cool in 1996 but now that the beloved Stumpy has been put out to pasture as a commuter and errand bike, its streamlined frame is more of a liability.

That's where the zip ties come in. I decided to try mounting the fenders with nothing but plastic, and it worked like a charm. I stripped all unnecessary bolts from the fenders, zipped everything to frame and fork in approximately the appropriate places, and voila, the Stumpy is a nerdy but utilitarian machine.

The zip ties were a cheap, efficient solution—especially since I'll be yanking the fenders in a couple of months when the rainy season gives way to the sleety, snowy season and I have to ditch the slicks for studs.

I have mixed feelings about fenders. They're great on rainy days, but I still feel a little self-conscious about riding around with them. I feel a little better when I remind myself that I don't exactly look like Lance on a bike anyway, so what do I have to lose, other than muddy legs?

At least I'm not on a recumbent. Right?


Jeff Moser said...

Zip ties come in handy when taking hostages too. You don't have to remember all those crazy rope knots.

Anonymous said...

I really like my fenders, because when I was kid my dream was always to ride a bike while looking like my grandmother.

Seriously, though, I dig not getting the skunk stripe and I'm generally a fan of utility over fashion. A guy who looks like me pretty much has to be.

Anonymous said...

Pretty excellent tips and no rusty metal to worry about! Thanks.

Jerome said...

Leave the bents alone!! Feelings man, feelings.

SiouxGeonz said...

Vanity, all is vanity. People *respect* fenders.

Dano said...

What about velcro?

Tim said...

Velcro has its places, dano, but I'm not a huge fan of the stuff -- mainly because it is often used where it shouldn't be. I hate it when manufacturers use it in gear that should last for years, but then the Velcro craps out because it's dirty, full of lint, and worn out.

A few straps of the stuff might have worked to attach my fender brackets to the seat stays, but I wouldn't trust it to handle the stress at the seat-stay bridge. Besides, Velcro wouldn't have fit through the little holes on the fender mounts.

Zip ties win again!

darcy said...

zip ties rock... I agree with you 100%... your blog rocks and i love that you bike in alaska.. i do year round in MPLS, MN, people think I am crazy, then I send them to your blog :)

Smudgemo said...

I'm all about the fenders and zip-ties.