Posted by Steve Newbauer
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.
A 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 …