The Pure Genius of Plume

Dan McMahon, the Genius behind Plumemudguard

Dan McMahon, Brooklyn, USA

I ride a beautiful 30yr old vintage Raleigh racing bicycle and like many others who ride beautiful bikes, mudguards are an ongoing subject of conversation. Stylish bike lovers often don’t want an ugly mudguard on their streamlined fashionable mode of two wheeled transport…..and living in London where it rains fairly regularly makes this a logistical challenge! It was just that which inspired Dan McMahon (pictured above), when he was studying at Camberwell College of Arts, part of University of the Arts London and riding around London having to choose between getting wet or defacing his bike. Dan decided to try and find a design led answer to this challenge and after years of research, planning, a crowd funding campaign and blood, sweat and tears of course….PlumeMudguard was born! Plume is the world’s first recoiling bicycle mudguard.

Sleek, stylish, minimal Plume

Sleek, stylish, minimal Plume

It was when working for Chelsea College of Arts myself, I recently received our staff newsletter and spotted a story about Dan and his product being shortlisted for the 2014 Design of the Year. Finally, someone had invented a sleek utilitarian and yet stylish product to match my needs, and the needs of tens of thousands of riders around the world. I signed up for the Plume newsletter to find out when it would next be in stock. I was hooked!

Plume recoiled

Plume recoiled with it’s added reflector

Then I spotted that Plume was based in London and Brooklyn. I happened to be heading to Brooklyn soon after to visit friends so I got in touch with Dan to catch up with him and his awesome Plume. He was coming back from some travel the day before I left Brooklyn but we managed to cross paths a few hours before I flew back to London. It was great to meet the creative mind behind a product which I honestly believe is a little stroke of genius!

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As I truly believe in this product and feel the world should know too…I want to spread the “Gospel of Plume” so tell all your friends and feel free to re-blog or share this because if those who read it are half as excited about Plume as I am then they will be joyous of your sharing!

Dan McMahon, Brooklyn, USA

Dan McMahon, Brooklyn, USA

See Plume in 2014 Design of the Year exhibition in London until August and get in line for 2014’s hottest new product. And if you see this man….please shake his hand…for he has changed the cycle industry forever…Ride On Dan McMahon.


Josh (Joshua), is Don’s unofficially adopted son. They were brought together through the world’s kinder forces when Josh was around 14yrs old. Don was working in the social arena and wanted Josh to have the best chance in life. I have to admit that anyone coming into contact with Donald Clark will most likely end up with a better chance in life…because he’s an inspirational man! If you are ever near Sydney please don’t be shy to ask me for Don’s contact details and he will gladly have a Chai with you and his dog Cobber (and whomever might be staying with him from Couchsurfing at the time).

It took a few days for me to get to know Josh a little. He’s not the most talkative at first but as soon as we understood each other I was very pleased we got on well. As a portrait photographer I am always very sensitive to people’s different characteristics. Some people want their photo taken, others don’t and then there are some who just take a little time to gain their trust. I’m glad I had the time to gain Josh’s trust as I was and am very interested in his cultural and heritage.

I took this photo that evening when he came home from work and the kitchen was full with Don cooking, Sambath taking film footage, Sam Brown sitting with us and me as usual with camera in hand. For those of you who don’t know the tattoo on Josh’s arm is the Aboriginal Flag. I had to be a little cheeky to ask him if I could photograph it when I noticed it peeking out from under his t-shirt…but that sensitive audaciousness of mine worked out well…resulting in one of my favourite portraits from my time in Sydney. By the way the rabbit behind is from the rugby football team Sydney Rabbitohs.

Thanks for sharing your home with me brother Josh 🙂

Sam Brown

Samantha Brown (Sam), is a friend from Leeds where I used to live. When we both found out we’d be in Sydney at the same time as she was relocating to work as an Accountant, we’d said that we’d catch up for a drink. Little did we know that she would be living less than a minutes walk from where I happened to be staying with Don. She came round and I made us all Chai and Don cooked the most wonderful curry…photos to follow. It was lovely to be able to introduce Sam to one of her new neighbours so she’d have a friendly face in the area.

Vegemite in a roll anyone??