European Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History


A tricycle (often abbreviated to trike) is a three-wheeled vehicle.

Tricycles generally follow one of two layouts:

Delta, with two wheels at the back (of which one or both may be driven) and one steered wheel at the front.

Tadpole, with two steered wheels at the front and one (usually driven) wheel at the back.

Not all trikes fall into one of these two classes. For example, some early pedal tricycles used two wheels in tandem on one side and a larger driving wheel on the other. It is common for tricycles to have front and rear wheels of different sizes.

The word tricycle has been in use since the early 19th century. The first recorded usage is in 1828, signifying a "three-wheeled horse-drawn carriage." Tricycles have evolved to include various forms of propulsion including pedals, steam and internal combustion engines. The abbreviation trike has been in use since 1883.

The Races

For the amusement of visitors to the show, and as leaven to the serious business of examining the numerous interesting exhibits which are hereafter detailed, the committee arranged motor tricycle races and a motor gymkhana, all of the events included in which greatly interested the numerous assemblage.

The first event to attract the public was a match between the Hon. C. S. Rolls, riding a De Dion motor tricycle, and a well-known trotter named Gold Ring, driven in the regulation trotting sulky by a resplendently-garbed driver. The hay-motor was evidently flurried by the contiguity of the "purring, spitting motor," and broke again and again, so that the event was not quite serious. It was evident, however, that Rolls's machine was distinctly faster than the horse.

Then came a mile match between those two daring and expert motor tricyclists Messrs. C. Jarrott and S. F. Edge, both riding De Dion motor tricycles, although we believe Jarrott's motor was but one and a half horse-power to Edge's two and a half horse-power. Edge got first away, but was quickly passed by Jarrott, who took a long lead, and though Edge closed up the gap considerably before the last lap Jarrott won by three lengths.

The Autocar, 24th June 1899

Sources Graces Guide

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