I have been using a number of items to keep the sun off my head, face and ears. I burn easily and regularly have sun damage burnt off or cut out. 50+ sunscreen works OK but only for so long – and trike rides can be long. So, minimising sunburn is important.
At the moment wearing a head cover under the helmet, a Da Brim on the helmet, fly fishing face mask and collar up keeps the sun out but the cooling breeze doesn’t really get through.
I have been casting YouTube glances at trike canopies, wondering if they work. While watching Veltop and Big Leaf videos I noticed a bloke (Youtube channel Ihoppoet) who developed a much cheaper option – a modified Kayak canopy. I would really like to know how such a device would handle the Tasmanian winds, so, the cheap and cheerful option looked the way to go.
Available from Melbourne I ordered one from eBay and it made it to Tassie in just under a week – not bad for these covid times.
I got to it and set up the canopy using bits of irrigation pipe and plastic junctions. Ihoppoet uses brass gas pipe fittings which would be a lot stronger but I am trialling using what I have in the shed. If the top proves successful I will upgrade the fittings before we go on tour.
Yes, as can be seen, the canopy comes with long rear “legs” which needed to be shortened. I knew this could be easily done after watching Ihoppoet’s videos and so soon had one section of the aluminium shock-corded pole removed from each of the two ends. That lowered the back enough.
Having settled the back I tackled the front. Initially using a rope I tied the front down and set off along the street to see if the canopy stayed in place. It did but wind soon got under the front trying to make it lift up.
I dug around in my cycling boxes and found a more permanent mounting for the front. A short rope between top and front fitting brought things under control.
The afternoon was sunny and reasonably windy, so I set off for Bishopsbourne for a trial run. The sun is not at it’s highest point now we are well past the longest day. Much of the trial trip was ridden with a cross wind and the sun off to one side or the other.
How much shade does the canopy produce? Well, a bit! For most of the ride my head, ears and neck, one arm and half a torso were in the shade – nice. Towards the end though the neck was copping a bit.
How did it handle the wind? OKish. At one point there was a strong cross-wind and a truck passed. The wind from the truck added to the cross-wind blew the rear leg out of the fitting. The canopy landed on my head! More work on the rear fittings required! Generally though the canopy behaved well. I would like to pull the front down some more which should bring the rear down too – thus maybe helping with the shading. I am a bit concerned that pulling the canopy down further at the front may tempt the wind to push it down even more. More testing required.
Drag. Yes, there is some drag. Just how much I haven’t got a feel for yet.
It’s worth continuing the experiment. Can the front be lowered safely? Could side screens be added? The answer to these and maybe other questions will be answered in the coming days.