When we first made plans to go cycling with Luke, our biggest worry was the summer heat.
Luke’s Chariot Cougar 1 trailer has a fair amount of ventilation but some light does come through the tinted windows on the side. We wanted the option to have him in total shade on very hot and sunny days.
Thanks to the wonders of the internet, we had a conversation with another mum, Christine. She’s written a very helpful article about bike touring with a baby, and immediately had our solution: a homemade sun shade.
Christine sent pictures to show exactly what she was talking about.
We loved this idea and decided to follow Christine’s lead.
We bought red nylon fabric (210D Ripstop) and webbing from a Dutch company, Radical Design. We also purchased velcro and thread from our local fabric shop.
After tracing out a pattern, followed by an hour of cutting and sewing, Andrew came up with this:
He made one for each side. Here are the shades fitted on the Chariot.
The shades totally block any light from coming in the carriage but all the ventilation slots remain open. They’re also lightweight and water resistant. They can be easily removed and stored under the seat when not in use. Success!
As part of the process of making these shades, we also talked to two other parents about cycling in the heat. Stuart (from the Family Adventure Project) and Thomas gave us these helpful tips.
- Aim for shady routes (not always possible or practical)
- Get up early or cycle late (depending on existing routines) and nap during the hottest part of the day
- Dress the baby in cool loose fitting clothes, or even just a nappy (watching out for sunburn)
- If you don’t make your own shades as we did, then rig light cotton cloth shades over the buggy to minimise direct sunlight (simple cotton diapers can be used for this purpose and can also cover baby’s feet)
- Put a drink bottle in trailer so the baby can drink on demand (if old enough)
- Put damp clothes on to keep the baby cooler
- Put a little battery operated fan in the trailer
- Stop for drinks and ice lollies and ice cream
- Go to a colder country or travel off season!
5th July 2012 at 1:43 pm #
You can also try putting wet towels on top of the trailer, works really well as a portable air-con! 🙂
6th March 2016 at 10:38 pm #
Hi, Travelling Two!
Amazing idea, thanks for sharing. We’ll be travelling along the coast this summer with our chariot, and this may be just the DIY sun protection thing we need.
A related question: have you ever had leak problems in the Chariot when confronted with heavy rains? I’ve heard different things from people, and am wondering if that’s a serious issue – and if there are perhaps creative solutions for that issue, like the one you’ve just shared.
Thanks very much!
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