As the saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention.” Today rain was my mother [?] and the necessity was to keep dry, specifically, keep my ass dry. (I don’t know if that sentence made any sense). I have made the mistake one too many times of going out for a bike ride on a damp day only to find that when I’m done biking, it looks and feels like I pissed out my ass and some of the spary got on my back. Today however, I decided to stay dry by fabricating a makeshift fendor for my bike.
There is a company called Full Windsor* that specializes in making detachable fenders -that are shaped like neck ties- (hence the name of the company) for bicycles. I however, didn’t have the time to order one of their mud guards from the UK and wait for it to ship to my house, I needed to leave right away. Plus they wanted £14.99 for it and I was like, forget that. The thing is is that their design is simple, clean, straightforward, and genius. It is one of those “why didn’t I think of that” inventions. It is so obvious and so simple and you easily could have come up with it and made a million dollars… but you didn’t.
Too cheap to buy an actual product? Why not make one yourself? As I said in a previous post, sometimes it is easier and/or more fun to make things yourself rather than buy them. Sure they might lack the quality of the real product, but you have the satisfaction of knowing that you are the one who fabricated this useful item.
I borrowed the shape, features, and overall concept of their simplistic design, and got to work on my own mud guard. I took a piece of foam board and cut it to size. Next I cut a slit into it near the top end and once at the center, cut out a circle. Think of it like a big “Do Not Disturb” sign that hangs on a hotel door. Next I slipped it around the tubular bar that supports the seat and angled the reflector so that it would support some of the weight of the fender and therefore it wouldn’t drag on the back wheel.
After a successful (my butt and back were dry) test ride to my friends house I concluded that there were a few more tweaks to make. Namely, covering the foam board in duck tape to increase structural rigidity and to prevent the foam board from becoming water logged. Trimming some of the fat off the edges so it is more narrow and less bulky. Also, cutting an angle out of the right side so my leg doesn’t bump into the corner of the fender while pedaling. Lastly, I want to add a center triangular support to put under the fender so it stays off the tire even better. Overall however, the concept was there and the prototype or Mark 1 model did the trick.
*Warning their site is flash based and turns your mouse into a giant monkey hand which makes the site super annoying to navigate.
Sidenote: in all likelihood I will probably break down and buy a legit mud guard from them, but for now, this will suffice.