Fenders... or panniers? A clean dry butt ... or cargo space? Crap.
I went out to MEC last week to get a new helmet. The old one was shedding bits of plastic shell all over the place, banged up and dented, and the chinstrap finally popped out of its moorings at the back, rendering it more or less pointless. So, I headed to the store for a new one (and was quite happy with the one I picked up - smaller profile, less... racer-looking, and at least on appearances more sturdily built. And since wearing it - admittedly over a hat for the moment - it also feels safer. More coverage of the back of my head. Slightly more of a skater design than those tall, top-of-the-head aerodynamic numbers from Bell that the Spandex crowd seem to favour.)
Anyway, that's not the point. I also picked up some fenders from Planet Bike (all my accessories seem to come from Planet Bike - they're inexpensive, and a percentage of the profits goes to bike advocacy) - wide plastic mudflaps, basically, that they said would install on any bike with 26" wheels.
Sadly, it looks as though the rack I already installed for my panniers... gets in the way of the fenders. Damn. Why oh why should I have to choose between the two? My panniers and rack are already salt- and grime-encrusted. . . and I'm not giving up cargo space. Sigh. Guess I'll have to head back to MEC and ask one of the staff there if they've got any ideas. I don't want, in the middle of winter, to have to hose down the whole frame of my bike in order to remove the rack, install the fenders, and then (maybe) get the rack back on again. At the very least, I want to wait until spring before taking a wrench to the nuts - they're so gritty right now I shudder at the prospect of trying to free them up until I can take a bucket of water to them first.
And this, along with the ergonomic grips I bought last summer that I found didn't fit on my handlebars (I think because of the placement of my gearshifts), ought to teach me that not all bike parts are created standard, and maybe I should ask the folks at the shop before buying them, getting them home, breaking out the toolkit, and running headlong into compatibility issues. Double sigh.