Fenders are usually designed to keep the rider dry, but very rarely do they extend low enough to prevent a spray tail from rising to splash a friend riding behind you, or to keep your feet dry. In places where it rains a lot you’re likely to see all sorts of DIY and store-bought ways riders have found to keep the road spray to a minimum, often made from bits of old tubes or water bottles.
I’ve seen some really nice buddy flaps that you can buy, but I thought I could accomplish the same task on my own, and for less money. Roving the halls of my local big-box home improvement store I was looking for something that was somewhat stiff, but still plenty flexible for inevitable bumps and bangs.
I settled on this For Sale sign, and because it was so cheap, just $1.99, I bought a large 15-by-19-inch one so I would have plenty of material to work with. You can find these signs on the “mailboxes” aisle, where I also grabbed some silver reflective tape for $3 a pack. Even if it’s dry the extra reflective material out back is certainly not going to hurt visibility.
I also grabbed some extra zip ties I already had, so the total cost investment here was $12.
The first step was the measure how long you want your flap to be. This fender used to have a rubber flap extending it, but since it had long ago shuffled off its mortal coil I would be adding about 15 inches of the new flap.
Since the sign is 15 inches tall, measuring was simple. I drew it to flare from two inches at the top to three inches at the bottom.
Then I drilled some attachment holes. Word to the wise: it’s probably a good idea to remove your rear wheel for this step, lest you drill a hole right through your tire.
I test-fitted the flap and marked some holes to punch.
Then I added the reflective tape. Because the tape was only available in 2-by-24-inch strips I had to get creative with how to apply it, though I’m sure some mathematician readers could fill me in on how to do it more efficiently. The flap attaches by zip-tying through the holes. Tighten each of them a little bit at a time so you don’t get stuck with a crooked flap.
I had a few stickers left over from a Fiks Reflective sticker pack, so I added those on there to cover the blank spot.
The camera flash shows just how reflective the tape is. I only used one pack so my total investment here is $5.
I had plenty of material left over to add a little flap to the front fender and on my other bike too.
Share your story
Let us know if you try something similar, either in the comments or send your story to [email protected].