Thursday, August 8, 2013


At 6:30 this morning dark clouds and thunder were rolling in.  This leads me to write about how a Nihola works in the rain.

Niholas of the child-carrying forms have steel frames, plastic box sides, and aluminum box floors.  The optional child seat is plastic with an aluminum bar underneath, with an optional removable cushion on top.  There is an optional rain cover made of strong fabric with plastic windows, supported by two aluminum bows.  The only thing here that is effected by standing around all day in the rain is the cushion; it will soak up water if the roof is not installed.  It dries out easily enough.

The roof itself appears to withstand any amount of rain for any number of days, so many people (maybe most people) in Denmark never remove it.  I think this is a poor idea.  The roof stands between the rider and any human cargo, making it harder to see or hear.  Its visually huge, it wiggles a bit on bad bumps, and it pushes around a lot of air to allow its passage.  The roof works on my mind, making the whole trike seem bigger, clumsier and slower.  It also gets ugly with time, getting bleached in the sun and stretched in the rain, and the windows can deteriorate.  I always take it down when its not actually raining (or unless there is some other good reason, perhaps to protect cargo in a parked trike).

So, its good news that it can be taken down and put up easily.  The supporting bows sit snugly on the floor of the Nihola, where they rattle only a little, because they flex slightly when being laid down, thereby holding themselves in place.  The rods can be removed while the seat is installed, but there isn't a lot of extra room for maneuver.  Cargo and children in the box makes it harder, but children cargo can sometimes cooperate and lift up their legs on command.  The roof itself can be folded or otherwise mashed under the seat without difficulty.  The process is easy, repeatable, and without surprises.

The bows in storage position.
The bows without the roof.
Roof up!

When the roof is up, the ends of the bows sit in small cylindrical holders in either side of the box.  There is nothing holding them in there except the roof.  They will wiggle themselves free if left to themselves, and probably they would be easily damaged anyway.  They are just aluminum rods, after all.  The rods and roof seem to reinforce each other somewhat.

We have two different models of the rain roof.  The more fancy one has a strap that allows the "front door" to be rolled up and held in place.  Otherwise, the door can be pushed behind the heads of child cargo without being rolled up.  It can also be draped backwards over the top of the roof, but the Nihola company advises against this, because it can apparently harm the zippers.  Better yet, the whole roof can be taken down.

The easy way to get the door out of the way.  Not recommended.

Lots of headroom.  Not a lot of options for partial openings.

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