Posted by: Dale Franks
on Saturday, April 08, 2006
One of the problems with having a recumbent trike is that it's really hard to do simple things that regular bikers take for granted. In my case, it was getting a rack and saddlebacks for my Catrike Pocket. If you take long rides, like I do, you need a place to carry your stuff. I like to take along a camera, some snacks, a Camelback canteen, and whatever. There is a rack that will fit the Catrike, but it costs $120 bucks, which is about 4 times the price of a regular bike rack. Last summer was a real pain, because I didn't have a rack, and I couldn't carry anything, except what I could jam into whatever spare space The Lovely Christine had in her trike.
But, today, I finally found a rack and some pannier bags that worked. Cyclepro makes a Pletscher-style alloy rack that fits the Pocket perfectly, and costs less than $30. With that, I was able to mount a pair of Avenir Excursion large panniers.
Although it works, a little jury-rigging is required to secure it. The front of the rack is a solid horizontal bar, and it has to be mated to the horizontal aluminum bar that runs across the top of the seat back. But, that's what they make hose clamps for. Well, actually, they make hose clamps for hoses, but they work really well. Also, the cardboard product tag from the rack wraps around the frame of the Pocket just right, and makes a perfect cushion to prevent the mounting bar or hose clamps from rubbing the paint off the frame.
Another problem that has to be overcome is that panniers usually hook to the bottom of the bicycle frame, to keep them from flapping back and forth, and to help keep them on the bike. That's not possible with the Pocket's frame shape, so I had to remove the hooks, and wrap the hook strap around the rack's mounting bar.
The Pocket has machine screw mounting holes for a rack already drilled into the frame. The CyclePro racks mounting bars swivel, so the bars mate perfectly with the frame.
What isn't perfect though is that, if you want to have a bright orange flag mounted on your trike for visibility—and, believe me, when your head is only 26 inches off the ground, you do want a flag—the rack mounting is a very tight fit.
There is no free space at all between the rack and flag mounts. You can jam both on there, but just barely. When you do, though, it means the flag can't stand straight up from the mounting. Instead, it now sticks backwards at about 20 degrees. That's not a problem for visibility, but, usually, that would mean that the flag mount would eventually swivel backwards until the flag was dragging on the ground. However, since the hook straps are already wrapped around the rack mounting legs, you can also stick the flag pole through the straps as well. This prevents the flag from dropping during the ride.
So, while it took a little bit of ingenuity, the mounting was easy, and it seems to work well. Best of all, it was a lot cheaper than buying the "official rack" for the Pocket.