Although they don’t offer riders anything close to the protection you get from properly fit, full-coverage mud guards, I was reminded this weekend how nice it is to have at least an 80% solution, courtesy of our SKS Racer Blades.
We’ve had these for several years, as they provide a nice hedge against ending up with your stoker’s back getting soaked from wet roads. Now, for folks who live in the Pacific Northwest or other places where riding in inclement weather becomes the norm during the fall, winter and spring, these quick release, 1/2 coverage mud guards certainly won’t hold a candle to the aforementioned full-coverage mud guards that y’all use. But, for those of us who ride tandems with skinny tires and not a lot of clearance around our compact caliper rim brakes, brake bridges and fork crowns in mostly dry conditions, they’re certainly better than nothing when riding in wet weather can’t be avoided.
We had our ’98 Erickson tandem set-up as our “mud bike” with 95% full coverage SKS mud guards last spring, and that worked well for those early season wet morning rides. I covered some of that in a blog entry back in March.
However, a few weeks back we had some friends in town who wanted to borrow a tandem and ours fit the bill, or was at least “close enough” such that I’d be able to get it sized to fit the guest captain with the addition of a 130mm stem. As I got the tandem prepped for their use, I pulled off the mud guards. After our ride I decided to leave the Erickson “as is” in case they wanted to borrow it again so it wasn’t quite ride ready on Saturday.
So, when we decided to take advantage of our unseasonably warm weather this weekend, I opted to pull out the old SKS Racer Blades and throw those on the Calfee. Amazingly, their clear storage bag and all of the rubber bits were still soft and pliable despite having been in storage for a couple of years. It took all of 5 minutes to strap them on the rear stays and front fork and we were good to do.
Again, they worked great: kept the really heavy wheel spray off of Debbie’s back the lower front part of the tandem and me!