My answer to How to carry a bicycle in a canoe? includes the image below.

Adult recumbent trike sitting in a 17 foot canoe, the canoe is on land

The following question was asked in a comment, and to give it a decent answer, I am posting it as a new question.

Serious question - can you sit on the comfy trike saddle while in the water or is it too high and top-heavy?

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    Just curious, how often is this situation actually faced by anyone? Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 3:29
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    @Ricketyship, well personally every time I have the trike in the canoe, which happens fairly often when the weather is nice. Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 12:44
  • Related Towing with a Recumbent Trike, Tadpole or Delta? Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 16:28
  • Yep, I meant the trike being used in a canoe Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 16:35
  • It is hard to say. When I google 'trike canoe' most of the images that pop up are me. There are a couple of others example. I would suspect the actual percentage probably follows the same as any bike to trike comparison. Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 16:45

1 Answer 1


Yes and No.

There are challenges: While the trike does sit with all 3 tires on the the bottom of the canoe, it only fits in this one position, facing forward in the front half of the canoe. You can get two people and two bicycles in canoe, but with a trike one person is probably the limit.

You can just barely see it in the photo, but the front canoe seat is between the trike saddle and the peddles. While you could sit in the trike saddle there is not a good place to put your feet. The canoe seats are an intricate part of the structure. Removing the canoe seat would require some structure redesign.

Assuming you did redesign the canoe structure so the there was a place for your feet. You could definitely sit on it and paddle. I normally travel on the rail trails and rivers near Pittsburgh PA with this combination. Me in the back paddling and the trike sitting in front. That big comfy seat blocking a good part of my view. So I often stand up in the canoe and paddle it like a standing paddle board. Standing is much more top heavy then sitting in the trike saddle would be, so no it would not be to high and top heavy. Yes there would be an increased risk of tipping over.

Canoe seats are not equal distances from the ends. The front seat sits closer to the center so there is leg room for a forward facing occupant. This is why the trike only fits in one place. You may notice in the other photos at How to carry a bicycle in a canoe? when I have the bicycle in the canoe, it is in the center and I sit in front seat facing backwards, essentially turning around and driving it backwards. There are multiple considerations for one person in a canoe, a few are outlined in What is the most effective means of paddling a canoe, against the current, under a bridge?

The next challenge is steering; unless you are fighting strong winds or currents, the most effective place to paddle is near the back, but far enough forward to keep the bow in the water (varies with load). Paddling the canoe effectively while sitting on the trike in the front of the canoe, would be unpleasant/difficult. The trike would need to be farther back to make paddling and steering more pleasant and effective.

The next challenge is getting in and out of the canoe. Unless you are at a dock and/or have assistance, the standard landing/launching with one person is to have the back of the canoe out in the water, with the front on land. You climb in the front walk down the center of the boat and push off after settling your self in the back. With the canoe afloat, it would be very difficult to get to the seat from either end, climbing over or around the seat or handle bars would be difficult in good conditions, a little wind or current and you would definitely get wet. The canoe in the picture is 17 feet long, you could beach sideways (and I have) but it requires a large launch, many of the launch points on the Monongahela and Youghiogheny Rivers are to small for this

Don't forget extra flotation, How much flotation does a canoe need? if/when you flip the canoe over, if the trike is strapped in (as it should be) the canoe and the trike will sink together.

There are a few other challenges, but overcoming them requires rebuilding the boat so it is not a canoe. a Scanoe might be wide enough in the rear to place the trike far enough back to be functional. By the time you get this working, you would be better off starting out to build a canoe bike

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    While standing is top heavy, you can move very eaily from side to side to maintain center of gravity over the boat center. When seated in the trike, you would not be able to do this. It would be very unstable.
    – user5330
    Commented Apr 1, 2018 at 2:41
  • @mattnz "Very Unstable" might be a bit overly pessimistic. Any seat that is higher than sitting flat on the bottom, which is more unstable than laying flat on the bottom of the boat is going to make it less stable. Additionally sitting does not prevent you from altering your center of gravity from side to side, you just need to lean the top half farther to achieve the same results. Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 12:42

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