It feels like rain drops … so many rain drops … it feels like rain drops falling on my head. So go the words to a popular song from my teen years. Personally I try not to ride in the rain but I know some cyclists choose to go and ride boldly ride in inclement weather.
I used to carry rain gear with me on my trike but I have not now for several years. I don’t even know if I still have any. I never have had any “quality rain gear”. I know it is expensive. The one above is $450 and that is just for the jacket. I think that is an outrageous price … about 4 1/2 times more than it should cost. I find that the rider’s seat position on a tadpole trike makes it difficult to get proper effective protection compared to what the rider of a bicycle has. This is mostly the lower part of the body I am talking about. If I were a rich man I would have quality rain gear and the means of carrying it along with me on my trike. Maybe someday, but I am not going to hold my breath waiting for it to happen.
Here is a pair of $190 rainproof pants …
Being a big person (I am talking about FAT) it is quite challenging and difficult to get in and out of rain gear, especially the pants. It is hard enough to put them on at home but when I am already out riding it is extremely difficult to do.
What about canopies, you ask? They are great for providing shade but they don’t help much when it comes to rain, especially when the rain is coming down on an angle and wind is blowing it about. At best they might keep the face, head and neck dry. But if the wind is blowing the rain much … huh uh! I speak from experience. And most canopies offer no protection for the feet and lower legs.
There are canopies which offer more protection … on the sides and the front. Of course, they cost more.
And then there are velomobiles which offer great protection. The one shown above even has a windshield wiper.
I know I don’t like riding in the rain. I have done so many times out of necessity … I got caught out in it … and I got quite soaked just like I had been in swimming with my clothes on.
Lastly, there is always the concern of getting electronics wet. Water and electricity still don’t mix. Cell phones, GPS devices, etc. must be protected. Many of us have electic motors on our trikes. The motors themselves are water resistant but wiring, batteries, switches, connections, and display consoles can be a concern. I have had moisture get inside of my computer and my display console. Both took days to dry back out. I had a perfectly good battery get destroyed by getting wet inside. That was a costly mistake.
Trident offers several accessories for their trikes. One of the newest to be added to their offerings is a canopy which also incorporates a neckrest in its design. I have been seeing pictures of them lately. In 2019 Trident won the BentRider Recumbent Accessory of the Year Award for their canopy. I don’t know if there is any adjustment for the height but the frame is solid as in ‘not flexible’ so I don’t know how difficult it would be to get in and out of the seat since the canopy doesn’t move out of the way like those which are “spring loaded” and move up and out of the way when the front tie down is released. Perhaps it is short enough not to be in the way.
Without a front hold down I don’t know how this canopy would do in high winds or high speed. Definitely the canopy’s tubing framework would get a workout. The thickness of the tubing would come into play in this scenario. Hopefully it is thick enough not to bend when encountering wind. From my personal experience with my canopy I would be quite concerned about this canopy holding up to high winds.
I saw a picture of a tandem trike with two of these canopies installed on it. I would love to show the picture here but I don’t have permission to do so so I won’t. In the picture the canopies are low enough to offer more shade than they would be if they were high like the picture above.
Definitely canopies provide some protection from the sun and precipitation and help us to …
I have written about this before but I did not have the personal experience then. It has turned hot here in northern Indiana recently. I am not a fan of hot weather. I hate it. In the past when it got hot outside I would start my rides earlier in the mornings so I could end by 11 AM or so … before the heat of the day really came on. As many of you know I installed a canopy on my trike just under 3 weeks ago. I have really been enjoying it. Today I got to try it out dealing with the summer heat. It is 87 right now (and climbing). I just got back home from a 43 mile ride where I remained out riding in the heat. Thanks to my canopy I remained fairly comfortable. Of course, I was riding 15 to 20 mph in order to create the breeze that helped keep me comfortable but the portable shade I had with me made a world of difference. There is no doubt about it. Mind you it is not the same as riding thru a well shaded area such as this …
What do you think? How much protection from the rain can one expect from a canopy on a trike? I had always heard/read that canopies don’t offer much protection from the rain.
Personally I have only been out riding in the rain twice since I installed a canopy on my trike. The first time was in a light rain with very little wind. The rain was coming down relatively straight. I stayed pretty dry and was impressed and hopeful. However the next time it was raining harder and the wind was blowing quite a bit. I was hoping that at least my face would remain dry but I was drenched like a drowned rat. The canopy did absolutely no good whatsoever. So there is the answer … IT ALL DEPENDS!
Hey, even though a canopy doesn’t offer the protection from rain we would like it to it is still better than what this poor guy is dealing with …
Of course, there are things which can help. Some people mount their canopies up quite high. I don’t understand that as the higher the canopy is the less protection it offers the rider … even from the sun. When I installed my canopy I knew it needed to be lowered so I cut 4.5 inches off of the aluminum poles used in the frame. I am talking about cutting the vertical pieces, of course. That helped but it still wasn’t enough so I cut another 3 inches off. The canopy still is about 3 inches above the top of my head so it could have gone even lower. Every bit helps in the protection available. Certainly the physical size of the canopy comes into play. Obviously the larger the canopy the more protection it offers. The shape of the canopy also makes a difference. Some are quite flat while others are domed. Some are even concave on the top. Most are pretty much open in the back. A few are closed such as is mine pictured below. I have to admit that I really like having the canopy come down in back of me. It not only keeps the sun off of me but it definitely keeps the rain off as well..
One can add some sort of side pieces onto the canopy to offer further protection from both the sun and rain. And even a “windshield” could be placed on the front to help keep rain, bugs, and other foreign matter from coming upon the rider. I don’t think I would ever do that as I like having air hitting my face and body. I also would be concerned about the vision thru the windshield deteriorating over time.
Veltop offers considerable protection … at a price …
I can’t say I am disappointed with my canopy as I didn’t have my hopes very high in regards to rain protection. It works pretty good when it comes to sun protection and that is why I installed it. It definitely helps me to …
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 …
(in case you haven’t figured it out that is suppose to be a shade tree mounted on the trike)
As much as we may like the idea of having shade trees to ride under when it is hot and the sun is beating down on us I am pretty sure it is not likely it is going to happen. A portable shade tree is just not too practical. Many of us would like to have a canopy on our trike providing portable shade that goes with us, but we find the cost prohibitive. Some riders have made their own and have done so saving a bunch of money. Not everybody is gifted so that they could do so or for whatever reason they just don’t want to mess with it. (I haven’t because I lack the sewing skills as well as the sewing equipment. I recently ordered the $56 kayak canopy shown below. I expect it may prove to be a bit challenging to mount, but I am confident I can succeed at it.)
There are a few low cost alternatives to the DIY route. That being said be aware that there may still be some DIY work involved to get them mounted and functional. As one might expect “made in China” comes into play. I looked at two recently … both are made for recumbent tadpole trikes.
As I write this the $114 one is nearly out of stock (only 1 black color remains) and the $150 one is completely out of stock (sold out).
And then there is the option of a canopy made for a kayak which Amazon sells for $56 … but I found it on Ebay for only $36.
The side screens were added by the rider. They don’t come with the canopy. Here is a picture of what you get …
It is 4 foot long, 2 foot wide and the back vertical part comes 7.5 inches down.
Some riders have used baby stroller canopies …
Obviously it doesn’t extend very far forward so it only shades the head and possibly the neck and shoulders at times.
Here it is in the down position. It definitely would catch the wind.
Even kites have been used to make a canopy on a trike (…
And one can use a canopy made for a bicycle …
Lastly, an umbrella has been used as a canopy …
It is so high up it doesn’t offer near as much shade as it could if it were lower. And I am sure it would do very poorly in the wind.
I am adding this here as an idea as how to fasten the front of a canopy down. The front derailleur post can be used to anchor to by placing a rubber pipe plug with an eyebolt and adjusting lock nut into the top of it. First the plastic plug in the derailleur post needs to be removed.
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 …
Here is a rather unique canopy which may or may not appeal to you. Since I like having the air on me it has no appeal to me whatsoever. But if it “flicks you Bic” it is available. I had a very hard time finding the price on the website. However, I finally found it in their catalog. Here is what they show:
“Our popular M4 canopy can be used for many HPV applications for a simple wind and rain fairing. The 8 lb acrylic tinted (or clear) canopy is adaptable but you must make your own attachment and support system. $400 plus $150 shipping.”
In other words all they supply is a hunk of plastic. You are on your own when it comes to mounting it. That has no appeal to me. If I buy a product for my trike I expect it to come with whatever is needed to use it on my trike. I am not at all impressed with what I see on this website. They don’t even have the canopy mounted on the trike they are using to display their product. Instead the guy sitting on the trike is holding the canopy in place with his hands. It is not even centered on the trike when you look at the front view. That seems very unprofessional to me.
There it is folks. Just selling a piece of plastic that one has to figure out how to mount. Nope, I’ll pass. I would expect most people would. They need to offer mounting hardware if they are going to sell this product. I wouldn’t know where to begin to come up with what would be needed nor would I want to. How about you?
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
In June 2019 I finally put a canopy on my trike and I am loving it. Here is a picture of it …