A (el cheapo) Magnum Canopy

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.

That’s not quite right !

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.

Lots of plastic piping !

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.

Getting better – the back looks good.

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.

That’s it

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.

Trial Run

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.

Conclusion

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.

Stay tuned!

Author: antc1946

Born in 1946 I learnt to cycle about 10 years later. On a bike with rods connecting brake levers to the brakes - anyone remember those? I emigrated to Australia (from the UK) in 1974 and moved to Tasmania in 1984. Bicycles were in my life for most of that time although sometimes they were replaced by motorised two wheels for a bit more excitement. On reaching 70 I decided to stick to pedal power but in 2019 an electric recumbent made an appearance. It is good!

6 thoughts on “A (el cheapo) Magnum Canopy”

  1. Looks good (bright orange must add some good extra visibility) but I recon some of those strong Tassie winds will present a challenge! Can you pack it down while out on the road in case you do encounter crazy crosswinds?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting I had thoughts on doing this years ago I still have an old nylon tent in the shed bought from the tip shop for the job, never got past the planning stage and the poles got used for my flag.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think the key to success is having the front come down a bit so you have a bit of a. Curve in the roof so the wind goes over the top and not under. Also with our Veltop having the two front poles separate and rigid ( you could make by inserting a length of tent pole in a casing ) does not allow the roof to flop around up and down.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Pam. I just used the canopy on a 5 day ride around northern Tasmania. It works OK as I am tensioning the front more and, as you say, this makes it stronger. Surprising how much shade it gives for what is a fairly narrow canopy. Of course early morning and late afternoon some sun peeks out onto my neck but then the UV strength is lower anyway. And I still wear sunscreen ‘cos I can get burnt by the rays reflecting off the road!! So, all good so far. I will stick with it this summer and then think about a Veltop or Big Leaf for next year.

      Liked by 1 person

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