We just spotted this new rain canopy for cycling here in (rainy) Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its similar in principle to the partially covered scooters popular in Paris. Perhaps somebody developed the bicycle canopy out of frustration resulting from the constant rain this summer. There have only been a handful of sunny days in the past months.
Using a car in Dutch cities is hopelessly inconvenient and expensive so most people commute, do their errands and transport their kids by bike. Rain, thus, has little effect on whether people cycle or not. .. but that doesn’t actually make us enjoy cycling in the rain.
Bicycles with complete mudguards (“fenders” for you in America) protect the rider and passenger(s) from dirty road spray, but rain still falls from the sky. Until now its been a choice between rain suit, cycling poncho or umbrella to stay dry, or just accept getting wet. Unless its really raining hard the rain suit seems too much trouble. Carrying an umbrella for short cycling trips can actually work if you don’t also need to carry something else (flowers, grocery bags…) or talk on your mobile phone. But if its windy you can forget about the umbrella. Cycling ponchos unfortunately only work on bicycles with a sportive sitting position where you lean over the handlebars, and not on upright dutch bikes.
So the bicycle canopy would theoretically fill a niche somewhere between the other rain protection options. Cute idea, and quite nicely executed according to my colleague who saw it. Aside from looking somewhat silly the canopy would probably work about as promised. Add some Rain-Legs to keep your thighs dry and you’d be well protected from the elements. As a bonus the canopy would even provide some protection for a front child seat.
A couple questions though:
- What do you do with the canopy when you park the bike?
- How will it affect handling and efficiency in the Dutch gale-force winds?
- Can it be stowed when not needed?
- How easy and quickly can it be deployed and stowed?
- Why is the fellow in the photo using the canopy on a perfectly nice day?
- Will there be a pimped out version with tinted windows?