DeFender of Rain and Cold
It takes some convincing to head out for an off road ride in cold Winter rain but after the first few minutes you realize it’s well and truly worth it. Riding off road in the rain is great fun, equal parts peaceful and crazy slippery. Plus how else can you test if a new mudguard works? With the Topeak Defender M2 fitted to my KH 29′er I headed out into the forest, onto a loop I know from experience puddles up well.
Here’s a short video of the ride – ‘Spinning Wheel by Blood, Sweat and Tears’
Riding in the wet, slippery, muddy forest reminds me of night riding off road where you rely more on feeling what is happening through the tire at the time versus in the dry where you read the terrain ahead and often just go with that. It’s a fun feeling when you relax and go with it.
The WTB Stout 2.3 worked great offering a huge amount of grip which lets go progressively. I had a lot of fun trying to break traction in mud, spinning up the wheel and subsquently UPD’ing. You can really feel the side knobbies on the Stout claw into the mud while traversing slopes. Yeah I think the Stout will be a great winter tire!
The Topeak Defender M2 Mudguard worked great! I found myself seeking out puddles, along with climbing and descending hills on the wet line as the rain came down vs my usual practice of keeping out of the wet line. Not that it completely makes sense – it was raining and I was getting wet anyway, just that my butt and back weren’t getting spray off the wheel. Like other unicycle related gadgets, it’s not so much what the gadget is but what you end up thinking and wanting to do due to knowing the gadget is in play – like leg guards!
As the light started to fade I headed for home, dropping down fire tracks to cross the Loddon River. It was the same place, same weather conditions, same time of day last June that while testing the Panaracer Rampage 2.35 I had a heavy UPD damaging my left knee which still aches 12 months on. Bummer.
I arrived home just on dark, soaked and elated – nothing like a crazy fun ride in cold Winter rain to know you are ALIVE!
Time to dry everything out by the fire, for the next ride…