Sunday, March 6, 2016

MY HOMEMADE TRIKE HEADREST and HOW IT GREW

My trike headrest has been drawing a lot of notice, curiosity, and even admiration. This is its story...



My trike headrest didn't start life as a headrest, but as a solution to the chronic recumbent bike & trike, "How do I mount taillights?" problem. I have a mesh seat so I needed clamps that didn't go all the way around the frame tubes, and I found them. Yay!


I bought one, and used it to mount a piece of 3/4" (about 1" o.d.) PVC tubing vertically on the left side of my seat, so I had a place for a taillight or two high enough that people in cars might see them. I bought the clamp from Amazon and already had some  PVC tube around.
So I mounted it on my trike and it worked. I don't have a good photo of the first iteration, but here's more or less how it would look today if I'd stuck to the original taillight idea. 

Note that I have two taillights. The top one is fancy to the point of silliness. It has more blinking patterns than I'll ever use, including Morse Code "SOS." It also has an inertial sensor that lights it up solid when it detects braking, which is not very practical (bumps also trigger it) but is very cute. $9 and more than worth it. 

The lower light is a generic one that cost me less than $3. It sells under a number of brand names. All cheap "China lights" including this one have crappy mounting hardware, but if you're careful it won't cause problems and ought to last at least a couple of years. 

See, I'm an American. If excess is good, excessive excess is better. So why not add a light mount to the right side of the trike's mesh seat and have lights on both sides? It looked good that way, and the visibility couldn't be beat. Car-driving neighbors told me my trike was more visible at night than any bike or trike they'd ever seen. 

Then came the headrest idea


It was a connect-the-pipes moment. Two "L" fittings (cost maybe a buck each at Lowes) and I made a horizontal bar to connect the two verticals and suddenly I was hit with a big HMMMM....  

Why not add some (dirt-cheap, like $1.39) foam pipe insulation to make a comfortable place for my head? Like, you know, a head rest? This didn't work out. Foam pipe insulation is hard and uncomfortable. But what if I went to the fabric store and got some 1" soft foam and some fake fur? Ah ha! Suddenly I had a comfy headrest that, after some adjusting and trial & error, fit perfectly at the base of my skull. 
To make the headrest strong and stable, I added a second mount clamp on each side. Another $6.36 for the pair. Big money! And a big wait, since the cheapies come with "free" shipping from China, which takes 4 - 6 weeks. (If you're in a hurry, you can spend $7.99 per clamp and Amazon Prime will get it to you in two days.)

Only one more fabrication step: Paint it Black. I also added a sportcam mount (I have a cheap GoPro knockoff). And that was that. Lots of lights, someplace to rest my head, plus a great camera location. 



Finished.

And my dog Terri said, "W00F!"