Chris Gomez: Keeping Your Rear Covered
What’s your name?
Chris Gomez, founder of Dry Patch.
What’s the best idea you’ve had on your bike?
I have commuted in and out of London on 2 wheels my entire working life (in fact I was on 2 wheels at university and school as well). I am one of those commuters that does NOT wear Lycra. Like the Scandinavians, I have always favoured my normal clothes… because I am not a Tour de France cyclist. And over the years, whilst I have always loved being on 2 wheels, many things have bothered me. None more so than the ever present threat of the wet bottom. So one day, as I cycled home after an impromptu rain shower, sitting on a crisp packet I suddenly had a flash.
Why is there no really functional, really cool seat cover? Why must I chose between a shower cap, a crisp wrapper or full wet weather trousers? I started thinking what might work, in terms of materials and looks. By the time I was home, 25 minutes later, I was pretty sure I had it. That evening, I sat with my laptop, a sketch book and a pen, and set about designing a seat cover that would work perfectly, look great and fold away smartly. The result was the Dry Patch Velo Seat Cover.
Tell us about what your business does?
At Dry Patch we are 100% pro 2 wheels, but 150% anti Lycra. We feel there is too much stuff out there that works really well but doesn’t really fit with the lifestyle of the new urban, city commuter. London has had a massive rise in commuters on 2 wheels, and out of the 800,000 plus daily cyclists, how many of them want to wear “bicycle kit” to work? Well, our research says not many!
The aim of the team at Dry Patch is to create innovative, evolutionary kit that not only works really well, but looks really good and is accessible (ie, you don’t have to be a Shoreditch based entrepreneur to afford and find). We want to be part of the 2 wheel revolution (sorry), and we believe the more kit that is designed to fit the lifestyle of the urban commuter, the more people we can entice out of cars and pubic transport and on to 2 wheels.
Why do you do this?
I love being on 2 wheels and I want more people to share this love, but getting on bikes and riding to work. But really, I think where this all started was that I wanted a kit I couldn’t find. I wanted to have cool, clever, quality stuff that did the jobs we, as 2 wheel commuters need. So I made a few prototypes and talked to people. And the more people I spoke to and got involved, the more seemed to agree with me that there was a place for this kit. I also desperately wanted to run my own business.
When I had the idea for Dry Patch I was working for two amazing entrepreneurs from whom I learned an enormous amount. When I told them about what I wanted to do they could not have been more supportive. So with theirs and my family’s support I want to make this happen.
How long has this business been running for?
What bit of advice would you give to your younger self?
I pondered this business for a long time, before acting on it. And I wish I started even one year earlier so “go for it” is the first rule. But the best advice I ever got was from an ex-military guy whose business had been running for 18 months or so and doing well. I met with him fairly early on. I needed direction because I was getting caught up in the maze that is “the business model” and “research models” and “the business canvas model” and “best practice”. He said to me: “right, you’ve got an idea. You believe it works. You have spoken to people that agree. You need to just get on with it and make it happen!” Those words struck a chord with me, and one month later I was touring Guangzhou, China, sourcing a factory to make my products. I had made the REAL leap.
One of the key things we want to do is to create a “tribe” of commuters on 2 wheels that will be part of the on going product development. With their help we will try to answer the ultimate design question “What do you want, and what do you want it to look like?” At Dry Patch we encourage people to connect with us. You can find us on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. You can also email me directly, especially if you want to discuss any ideas that you want turned into kit.
At CycleFox we believe the bicycle has a big role to play in building happier, more vibrant and connected communities. Our mission is to help more people enjoy the fun and freedom of cycling.