Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hoopla about the hoops

My Christiania trike has a prarie wagon-style canopy to protect cargo or passengers in the box from the elements. The canopy is supported by aluminum hoops. My hoops buckled horribly under a lot of snow one winter (above, hard to see how bad they actually are), and have since been almost useless, causing the canopy to sag.

I have certainly proven to the world that I can live happily unconcerned about appearances, but that sagging canopy collects rainwater and it all gets rather messy. Say what you wish about the good people who make the Christiania, but they do not really bust their asses off trying to sell their products or accessories. They have not even bothered updating their web page since 2001 and their closest representative can't be bothered replying to emails. The only way I can get new hoops is by travelling to Denmark or sourcing some aluminum retailer around here.

I decided to try improvising by using some plastic Pex tubes instead. This extremely competent bicycling family built some canopies for their kid's seats using Pex.

I straightened some parts of the original hoops in a vice, and filed them on one end (above). I then inserted them into the tubes. This way I can use the existing mounting hardware.

The new hoops (above) look much nicer. Not entirely unexpectedly, they are sort of flimsy. The canopy still sagged!
I managed to fix this somewhat by sewing velcro straps to fit on the hoops. This way the canopy itself functions as a brace, keeping the hoops in place.

All in all, it's ok. But I don't really recommend Pex tubes for projects of this size.


fatbob29r said...

If I may make a suggestion... why not look for replacement poles from a camping type outfitter? The poles supplied for most tents will still be pliable enough to form the "hoops" you desire, while being strong enough to withstand the weight of *some* snow. You may even be able to find the right thing at a second hand store and re-purpose the tent material for pogies or some other project.

Northmark said...

You are absolutely right. I just got carried away with the idea of "using stuff lying around". I will probably try to find some poles.

the_big_smile said...

Try to get some pole made from fibre glass!
You can find fibre glass poles in modern tents or try to get some of the pole used for attaching these little flags to childrens bikes.