Not long ago, I finished rebuilding an old Trek for my weekend fast commuter. Once I had it all together, I realized that the frame- to tire clearances were pretty tight, and there were no mounting eyelets on the frame or fork for fenders. There was NO WAY a traditional set of fenders was gonna fit on this baby! Normally I reserve this bike for sunny days when I don’t have anything to carry, but I wanted a bit of protection just in case I got caught out in the rain…nobody likes “swamp ass” or a muddy stripe running up their backs!
Inspired by the beautiful wooden works of art that Fast Boy Fenders makes (the “Stubby” series in particular) and also inspired by the wacky and wonderful D.I.Y. creations of Kent Peterson (“The Coroplast King”), I got to work scrounging up some goodies to make my own stubby-style fender.
First, the raw materials:
I had a few pieces of aluminum strip stock floating around in my shed, and I “liberated” a sheet of corroguted plastic (“coroplast”) from the myriad illegal signs that litter my neighborhood. Election season is a good time to harvest coroplast…especially before the losing candidates collect their no-longer-needed signs. A can of spray paint and a roll of 3M double-sided foam tape rounded out the materials I needed to get started.
I cut a length of the aluminum stock and bent one end to clear the sidepull calipers of my bike. I then bent the entire length to the same radius as a 700c wheel. Finally, I drilled a hole in one end and mounted this aluminum “spine” underneath the brake arms — the drilled hole needs to be big enough to allow the brake mounting post through.
Here is the “spine” mounted and ready to receive the fender:
Using a utility knife and a long straightedge, I cut a section out of the coroplast sheet, spray-painted it to match my bike’s frame and mounted this piece to the aluminum spine with double-sided foam tape. Here’s the finished product:
The entire assembly weighs about 2 oz. I could have made it even lighter by shortening the aluminum spine or drilling it out or by narrowing the fender piece — coroplast is fairly rigid on its own, but until I rode with this attached I wasn’t sure how stable the thing would be. Besides, I wanted good rain coverage. Sure enough, this thing works like a charm…it bobs up and down a little bit, but is otherwise totally stable. It IS a bit “hoopty-looking” (frankly, it looks like a piece of spray-painted cardboard up close), but for the princely sum of $0.00 I now have a little bit of splash protection for my rear end.
Speaking of hoopty-looking D.I.Y. projects, I discovered to my dismay that I have run out of handlebar room on my Euro-style “Grocery Gitter“. The basket mounting brackets took up the last bit of room, and I was struggling with a way to mount some bike lights to the basket. Suddenly, I remembered a few lengths of 1″ schedule 40 PVC pipe that live under my house. I crawled under the house and retrieved a dirty, scratched-up length. I drilled a couple holes in the pipe, threaded it through the front of the basket and ziptied it into place. The two Serfas lights I wanted to use now mount to the ends of the pipe using the original handlebar clamps.
The lights are separated just enough that now I’ve got a nice wide patch of light in front of me at night (I just took this bike to the grocery store and back to test the light pattern). Hoopty it may be, but this and the fender project cost me absolutely nothing…that’s the best kind of project at all! Function over form in both cases, too, but a little bit of creativity could make something a bit more sleek and glamorous…