My final major investment in Chicago’s local economy went toward a new Bianchi. As many of you know, it was love at first ride. The fit was perfect, the seat was comfortable and the presence of brakes made it a far more logical commuter than its predecessor—the silly, but wonderful Fuji Obey. Yet, even with all its perfection, I still wasn’t satisfied with a “stock” bicycle. The risk of running into someone on the street with the exact same ride was too much to bear, so I had to make changes.
I started with the handlebars and the grips. Then I moved on to the crankset. I considered new wheels, tires and a saddle, but decided to stop the insanity and settle—just as soon as I added fenders. In my mind, full fenders would be the key to creating the perfect Chicago commuter. I made arrangements with the crafty mechanics at Boulevard Bikes and marveled at the idea of making way through the slush of Chicago’s nasty winter whether, dry and happy—fully protected by a new fender set.
Then we moved to Kansas City. Suddenly the bike that was destined to be a Chicago commuter was on foreign streets and I worried my fenders would go to waste in a place where the winters are mild by comparison. Then, after three straight weeks of sunshine, I was certain my Bianchi was strapped with unnecessary accessories.
But a rainy Monday morning was all it took to change my mind. Today, I rode my Bianchi through the rain-soaked streets of KCMO without taking on any water. By the time I got to work, my fenders were drenched in an oily combination of street muck and rainwater, while I remained almost perfectly dry. With a big smile, I decided my Chicago commuter is going to adapt quite well to its new role as a Kansas City cruiser.