I’ve spent hours riding in rain of all sorts: heavy rain, sprinkles, thunderstorms (not recommended), icy rain. Sometimes I have rain gear, sometimes not. Sometimes I use an umbrella (yes, I do this for short distances). Consequently, there is one accessory that is on every bicycle I ride… fenders, or as they are known across the pond, mudguards.
Granted, when it is raining fenders do little to keep you completely dry, but they do help. Mostly, they keep things clean – like you and your bike and your cargo. If you ride in the winter on slushy roads, fenders keep your bike and your backside cleaner. Winter is hard on bicycles and ruinous to bicycles without fenders.
In addition to being a practical accessory, they also can dress up your ride. Thankfully, over the past 7 or 8 years, we’ve seen plenty of new choices. I use Gilles Berthoud fenders on my Mercian, Planet Bike Cascadias on my commuter and Velo Orange stainless on some of my other bicycles. But there are plenty of other fine fenders out there.
The one thing all of the fenders I use and recommend have in common: they are full coverage. There is nothing worse than riding on wet streets with a front fender that is too short to keep the front tire from spitting a rooster tail on your feet, and thus arriving at your destination with sodden shoes and socks.