HUTCHINSON — Whenever Kenny Manche goes out for a ride, he attracts a lot of attention. After all, it’s not often people see someone sailing down the Hutchinson streets.
But with the enjoyment he has found with his vintage RANS sail trike, he wonders why they are so rare.
“It’s a blast,” Manche said. “You get that wind behind you, you feel that power pushing you along. It’s a lot of fun. The grandkids love it, too.
“I’m surprised they don’t have more of them around.”
Manche said he got his sail trike last summer. His father, who buys and sells antiques, picked it up, and Manche bought it from him, then set out to fix it. He said it was in really rough shape when he got it, and he already has put a lot of effort in to repair it.
That has often meant substituting parts or making his own, because original parts have been near impossible to find. Approximately a month ago, he got a new sail on it to replace the tattered one. Manche made the sail by cutting down an 18-foot sailboard sail.
He said one of the hardest parts was figuring out the ropes for the sail rigging.
“YouTube is a good thing,” he said.
The sail trike can get up to surprising speeds in good conditions. He said with a steady wind in a clear area, he can get up to 35 mph.
“It’ll actually fly pretty fast,” Manche said.
And with a good wind, it can go whether it has a tailwind, a crosswind or even a near-headwind. As long as the bike is pointed about 30 degrees away from a headwind — the distance between the 12 and 1 on a clock — it can use the wind for propulsion, Manche said.
Riding in town is where things can get tricky for the sail, with trees and buildings frequently blocking the wind. For those situations, the sail trike has pedals and a three-speed gear system.
And how does sailing a trike compare to sailing a boat?
“I’ve never went sailing on a boat, but I imagine it’s a lot like it,” Manche said. “Probably not as rough. This is actually pretty smooth.”