Recumbent Trike Roof Rack

* Introduction * Wheels in the Garden * Wheels Outside the Garden * Garden Trails * Two Cats *

* Catrikes * Mountain Trikes * Tri-Sled * Quadraped * Delta Work Trike * Speeds * Mt Bike *

* Recumbents and Sea Kayaks * Upright into a recumbent (and back again) * Roof Rack * Trailer *

The roof rack came home from the lumber yard as a pile of cedar boards.

The rack is made from 5/4 cedar decking. It is stronger than 1x4 cedar house trim, and has rounded edges. Cedar is not as strong as other woods, but very light.

My original plan was a two-trike rack. I built the frame around the trikes to get the angles and distances right.

The two trikes fit, back to back. But about this time, I realized I didn't need two trikes on the roof, since the Tri-Sled fit inside the Outback, and we wouldn't be taking passengers if we were going triking.

The nice thing about making a rack this way is that you can modify it as your ideas change, or as you discover unforeseen problems. And there were others.

So I just trimmed it down to fit one trike at a time. The wheel two wheel blocks on the left are for the different tracking widths of the Tri-Sled and the ABBT. The block on the floor fits into the far crosspiece where the front wheel rests. It needed to be two inches closer for the Tri-Sled. The positions of the wheel blocks and front wheel cross piece are critical so that the wheels drop low enough for a solid seat but not so low as to hit the roof of the car.

You can see how the rack fits into the larger frame. A closet pole serves as a roller to move the rack along into the frame. By starting at the end, it moves half the length of the frame while the rack travels the full length of the frame--a neat little trick since it rolls two surfaces at once. That allows you to tilt the rack down into its locking position in the frame. (Note the angled front end.)

Here are all the finished pieces. (Well, I forgot to paint the rails.)

The rack was made to attach to the round Yakima bars on either the car or truck.

The rack leans against the rear crosspiece of the frame and the closet pole. To keep the pole in place until I lift the rack level, I laid a piece of vinyl window molding in front of it. Once I start the frame rolling, it goes over the molding and rolls along the frame.

I added the two removable extensions to increase leverage and working room. They are temporarily held in place with four steel pins.


Two rails are made from 1x2 cedar house trim. The vertical pieces guide the wheels and provide rigidity and support. They are laid in place, but not attached. I originally had the rack turned around, with the trike in the back, but it was difficult to raise and move the rack. Lifting the trike into position was also awkward, so I added the rails. They can ride on top with the rack.

Another unforseen problem cropped up. When I lifted the leaning rack, the front of the frame came up. To solve that, I inserted pins in it and attached them to the bar with vaccuum cleaner belts. (This is not meant to secure the frame during transit--only loading.)

Note also how the cross piece locks the frame between the bars. The other one is wedged agains the front of the rear bar.

After the front of the frame is in place, I remove the closet pole and the two extensions, and drop the rack into the frame, securing it with pins.

It is now ready for final securing. I use ratchet straps, with rope backup, going through the trike , around the frame, and under the crossbars and car roof rack.