Who Invented the Tricycle?

 A tricycle is a human-powered vehicle supported by a three-wheel system. Often known as trike, some of this mode of transport is used for commercial purposes. Cycle rickshaws and freight trikes are one of the most commonly used tricycles around the world. In some developing countries, particularly in Asia and Africa, tricycles are operated by a powered engine.

Washington, D.C.-born Matthew A. Cherry was the inventor of the tricycle. Owing to his passion for revolutionizing transportation, he prefaced his craft by improving the utilization of velocipede. A vaunted prototype of a modern bicycle, Cherry’s tricycle was made of a metal seat frame and three wheels. 


Up to this date, there have been divided claims and beliefs on who invented the tricycle. The creation of tricycles is believed to trace way back even before the invention of the first bicycle. One of the first historical evidence of tricycles comes from the mid-late 17th century, a century and a half earlier, when a bike was discovered.

An early example of a tricycle pattern was made by German watchmaker Stephan Farffler, who cannot walk independently. The aging watchmaker forged a carriage fit for a single person that contains three wheels. This invention had a simple front wheel mechanism that allows the person to move forward and translate the acceleration power to the wheels.

Another account of a three-wheeled device in history came in France when a pair of Frenchmen connived for the first three-wheeled system operated through pedals in 1797. It was believed that they were the first to coin the term ‘tricycle’ as the device name. Up to date, that name went on to become synonymous with the vehicle used by many people across the globe.

Matthew A. Cherry, the most prominent figure related to the three-wheeled device, received his patent for the tricycle in May 1888. In today’s generation, tricycles are still the preferred transportation for many people owing to its safety and convenient features. Over the years, tricycles have improved stability from the third wheel, making it practical to carry items to different places.

Common Types of Tricycle Today

Considering that tricycles were invented centuries ago, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there have been many kinds of three-wheeled device produced from that period. Presented here is the list of tricycle types that were formulated since its discovery.

  • Delta tricycles– this kind of tricycle has wheels placed behind the vehicle or beside the driver.
  • Tadpole tricycles– opposite to delta tricycles, its two primary wheels are located in the handlebar’s front.
  • Convertible tricycles– this tricycle type can be transformed into a delta or tadpole structure.
  • Recumbent tricycles– the recumbent type is formed with both delta and tadpole configurations. The position of the rider is usually placed in a low and lying down degree.
  • Manual tricycles– similar to a conventional bicycle and tricycle, manual is operated using the user’s feet or hands.
  • Motorized tricycles– a regular fixture in Asia and Africa, this type of tricycle is powered by combustible engines. In recent years, the use of electric tricycles has also boomed.
  • Children’s tricycles– inspired by the delta prototype, children’s tricycles are crafted to bring comfort and safety for kids who use them indoors and outdoors.

Tricycle Buying Guide

There are several factors to note if you’re planning to pick the ideal tricycle for you. Considering that tricycles aren’t built to carry you on a mountain groove, you must focus on finding the most fitting and comfortable model available. With that, check out these essential buying guides before you purchase your own tricycle.

Adult Tricycle Buying Guide

Recumbent Tricycle Buying Guide

Kids Tricycle Buying Guide

Stroller Tricycle Buying Guide

Individual Tricycle Reviews


In choosing the right and fitting tricycle for you, check on some of the aspects that you think you’ll need onwards. Among those aspects include the large baskets, step-through frames, and electric motors.

  • Large baskets– An ideal tricycle basket measures around 2 feet by 2 feet. Whether you intend to carry your goods after your grocery stroll or bring your pet along to shops, this size would be perfect to choose from. Large baskets are usually placed in between your tricycle’s rear wheels.
  • Electric motors– If you’re up for an uphill climb every time you go home, it’s safe to say that you’ll need an electric-powered tricycle to avoid fatigue.
  • Step-through frames– this feature is made without a stabilizer bar to give users an easy-on step-through frame and easy-off accessibility.

Consider Where You’ll Be Riding Your Trike

It’s understood that tricycles aren’t built for the racecourse. But don’t overlook the fact that your trike can carry you to different places in the city. And the quality of your tricycle must depend on the average distance you plan to use it. Try to check out your trike trails and tires and see if you think it’ll last for an extensive use down the stretch.

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