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MY NEW CANOPY

For many years I have wanted a canopy on my trike. However I could never afford one and although I can fabricate everything I lack the sewing skills and equipment needed to make the material part of it. I mean … the frame isn’t going to do me much good without the material over it. Those small diameter poles/rods just don’t provide much shade. 😉

Recently a posting on Facebook Recumbent Trikes Group showed a kayak canopy installed on a tadpole trike. It looked pretty good and the price … well, let’s just say it is affordable … like $56 with free shipping from Amazon. With another $15 for various hardware type items I had a canopy for a total of about $71. BTW, after buying mine thru Amazon for $56 I found it for only $36 on Ebay. That is par for the course. Right now as I compose this the price on Ebay is higher than $36 as it seems to fluctuate. Even so Ebay offers it for less than Amazon.

As you can see I selected the safety orange which, of course, adds even more to safety as I ride as it really stands out. Of course, like all other colors and fabric it fades out some by the sun as time goes by.

I have seen other canopies on tadpole trikes and watched them bob around every which way. I am pleased to report that this kayak canopy is very stable. I have had it up to 28 mph in 16 mph winds and it was rock solid. I am very pleased with it. (And I have been out in even stronger winds since I first wrote this. It did great!) And it is larger than most trike canopies so it offers a little bit more protection. It measures 2 foot wide by 4 foot long and the rear vertical part comes down 7.5 inches. I didn’t know if I would like the rounded front end as all the canopies I have ever seen are rectangular.

The material is some sort of nylon (I think) and it is made like a sleeve (pillowcase) which simply slides over the frame. The frame is aluminum tubing like modern day tent poles … sections which fit together and have an elastic cord inside of them connecting them all together. Being aluminum tubing rather than fiberglass rods they don’t flex nearly as much which is what makes the canopy so stable. I shortened the height of the canopy by 7.5 inches to get it closer to my head so that it offers increased protection. I had to add the arched support piece to hold the canopy up higher in the back so it is away from my head. Once I get up to 8 mph the air moving against the material will raise it up and back and keep it off of me but I didn’t like it touching me when I slow down or stop so I added the support piece to eliminate the problem.

I added an additional support to raise the canopy up higher right above my head. That way I can have the canopy down as low as practical to provide maximum shade and protection.

There is plenty of “spring” in the aluminum tubing so that when the front is not hooked down into riding position it raises way up out of the way making it easy to get on and off of the trike. Please note that it is very necessary and important to hang onto the front tie down(s) if unhooked when it is windy. If it is windy I immediately refasten the canopy back down once I have gotten up out of the seat as the wind could do damage to the frame of the canopy.

I first mounted it using plastic cable ties just to get an idea what it would look like as well as help me figure out what I needed to do to come up with a proper mounting system. It was a fairly easy task and what I came up with works great. I used two 15 inch long pieces of 1/2 PVC pipe with caps on the bottom so the canopy tubes can’t go past the bottom end of the PVC pipe.

With this setup it is very quick and easy to install and remove the canopy from the trike. It takes about the same amount of time as it does to put my two safety flags in their holders. Again, I could not be more pleased with the way this all works.

Here is my view with the canopy in place …

As you can see I have a V tie down which I prefer over the single tie down in the center of the front. The V is more stable than a single cord in the center and it eliminates having to look thru a single tie down in front. It fastens down to the front derailleur post. I removed the plastic plug in the post and replaced it with a rubber pipe plug. I used a 5/16 eye bolt in a rubber pipe plug replacing the 5/16 inch bolt which came in the rubber plug.

And here is the front view …

And here is the rear view. As you can see I have complete protection from the sun on my backside which is really nice. Much to my surprise and delight it does not cut off the air flow any appreciable amount.

 

Here is a closeup view of the mounting area …

I already had some of the clamps used to mount the PVC pipe on the top end to the seat frame.

I bought these others shown in the picture below. I got 5/8 inch for the PVC pipe and 1 inch for the trike frame  (rear stays) at the bottom of the PVC pipe.

Since I first posted this I have redone the top mount of the pvc tubing on the top of the seat back frame. I did away with the plastic pieces replacing them with the same kind of clamps I used on the seat back frame … only a smaller diameter clamp.

The bottom line is … At this point I am a happy camper with this canopy setup.

I may try tinkering with it … adding something onto the sides to help provide more shade. But for now for a fairly low cost I have a very functional canopy and my plan is to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

If you are interested I have written other articles about canopies previously.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

Below is a video of another triker’s kayak canopy …

And here is his video showing how he mounted his canopy …

 

Lastly here is his video showing how to lower the canopy by shortening the aluminum tubes …

RECUMBENT RAG TOPS

Recumbent RagTops

Canopies are an item which can be a real blessing to have. They can help shield us from the hot sun and even offer some protection from rain. I have a friend who slips a large plastic bag over his to make it totally waterproof if he has to deal with rain while out riding. Some people make their own canopies. My friend made his and another friend made his. There are only a few manufacturers of canopies that I know of. Prices range considerably as do the design and build. I have written about CANOPIES before. There are a very few companies around who offer them. One of them is Recumbent RagTops. There is also VelTop which offers canopies for recumbent bikes and trikes. This posting is featuring Recumbent RagTops as I have never written about them before.

I think it is safe to say that this design would catch a lot of air especially with the rear flap down over the mesh “window” so no air can flow thru and out the back. Also it is domed quite high which makes the canopy much higher than most others I have seen. Personally I would want the canopy much lower down than this … just a few inches over the top of my head. I have no idea how it handles winds. Also I wonder about visibility of traffic lights as one approaches them

Here is a video with a review of this canopy which addresses all of this and more …

 

Speaking of homemade canopies, I came across this video which I really like so I am sharing it here …

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

OH FOR SOME SHADE

high heat thermometer

Sunshine on my shoulders, in my face, on top of my head, on my arms, legs … all over me. That’s okay when it is 30 degrees F., but when it is hot and humid it makes it mighty uncomfortable out there riding as well as dangerous and even deadly. Consequently I can’t go along with the song lyrics of it making me happy. Carrying around our own personal shade tree just isn’t practical and so riding in the shade of trees is most appealing.

So I ask ya … which trail would you prefer to be riding on?

sunshine vs shade

There certainly is a world of difference. That shade feels soooooooo good! Actually these pictures are of the same trail (Maumee Pathway near Fort Wayne, Indiana). Fortunately it is mostly shaded. And it is my favorite local trail to ride, especially during the summer months when it is hot. I mostly ride on it just so I can be in the shade and take advantage of the cooler temperatures found there. I would guess that about 6.5 miles of the 8 miles or so I usually ride back and forth on is well shaded and another 1/2 of a mile is somewhat shaded.  And depending upon what time of the day one is riding out there some of the remaining trail is shaded for awhile.

Now I ask ya, doesn’t that look inviting?

shaded trail

and this?

shaded trail 4

Over exposure to the heat is dangerous and deadly. So be careful while out riding when it is quite hot and humid. Be sure to stay well hydrated and avoid being out under direct sunlight anymore than necessary. We need the sun, but be respectful of it as it can do a number on you. Heat can make you feel miserable and even kill you. I am not a medically trained person, but I know that if we start to feel overly hot, flushed and weak we need to stop and find shade to get relief from the heat. We should do something to help cool down our bodies, especially our heads. Pouring water over us or soaking a cloth of some sort to use to wipe ourselves with will help. We should relax and allow ourselves to cool down and recuperate before trying to go on. If we are by ourselves it is most important that we discipline ourselves as we have no one to give us aid should we need it. If we are with others we need to watch out for one another as there may be signs we miss that someone else picks up on. Slowing up and not keeping up the pace may be such a sign as heat can zap our strength.

sweating on trail

The older we get the more we need to be concerned about all of this. Even so a young person can be overcome by heat exposure. A 12 year old boy died from the high heat while hiking on a trail just recently out near Phoenix, Arizona.

We all want to safely …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

Oh, before ending this article I want to mention the use of canopies. They do help in comfort while riding. I certainly have nothing against them and would myself like to have one on my trike. However, I can’t for a couple of different reasons I won’t go into here. What I want to point out is that they only offer immediate shade and usually only partial shade at best as they don’t shade all of the body. And the bigger factor is since it is only local shade and not constant shade over the entire area where we are riding they don’t lower the temperature. It is still hot. I really enjoy riding along a very shaded trail as it feels so much more comfortable than out under the sun. The difference in temperature can be considerable.

handheld umbrella shade

trike rag top 2

In June 2019 I finally put a canopy on my trike and I am loving it. Here is a picture of it …

FREE GIFT awaits you!