Seattle cyclist Don Cox has developed a product that every wet weather Pacific Northwest cyclist can appreciate. Mud flaps.
That's not real sexy, but very useful in a region that averages 140 days of “measureable precipitation” every year.
I was introduced to Don Cox and his RainyDayBiking mud flaps on one of those days that exhibited an extreme amount of “measureable precipitation.”
When I biked through the rain to the Seattle Bike Expo on Saturday, I was soaked from head to toe. As I dripped across the lobby and followed the crowds upstairs, his RainyDayBiking booth was the first I noticed. Given the name, I reckoned this guy might have something I'd be interested in.
When I realized it was mud flaps, I cornered him, took out my pad and pencil, and asked him about the product.
Don said that he's lived and been riding his bicycle in Seattle for 30-some years. Whenever he rode with a group of friends in the rain, he'd get caught in the overspray from a rooster-tail in front of him.
As luck would have it, Don owns a sign company and knows something about lightweight, durable materials. He made a few mud flaps for his cycling buddies, they liked them, and he decided to share them with the world.
He chose a durable plastic — reflective polycarbonate — as the material for his flaps.
Their reflectivity helps make the bike more visible on dark, rainy days, or at night. Don also sells “prismatic” reflective mud flaps that gives a slightly wider angle of visibility to the flaps.
I bought one pair of mud flaps for the front fenders of my bikes to keep the drivetrain clean. This time of year, many of the roads on the eastside are covered in sand and other crap that sticks to my chain and chainring like glue.
They're easy to attach (hardware is included, but you might have to drill through your fender if it doesn't already have a hole).
More concerned about my drivetrain than anyone pulling up behind, I attached the longer flap to my mountain bike's front fender, and the shorter one to the front fender of my road bike.
I stopped halfway through a 20-mile ride and took a picture underneath the fender. It was covered in stuff that would have ended up on my drivetrain. By the time I got home, my chain and bottom bracket area looked cleaner than usual, in spite of the wet sand and debris that had piled up along the shoulders.
You can check out Don's mud flaps online at RainyDayBiking.com. There are several styles. Also, you might be interested in the “spring sale” on the website.