Quadracycle bicycles are one of the earliest forms of human-powered transport vehicles in history. They commonly feature a four-wheel system that is driven by pedals. They are also known as quadricycles, pedal cars, quad cycles, or four-wheeled bikes. This article goes into detail about the rich history and evolution of quadracycles. Before we even debate how far you can ride in a day with one of these, let look at their history.
The earliest recorded pedal-powered quadracycle bicycle was exhibited in 1853 in New York City. This was about the same time that two-wheeled bicycles started to become popular. Quadracycles were one solution to the problem of low-speed stability in early cycles and were typically multi-seat models.
These early versions featured the use of both tandem and sociable seating systems.
In 1869, the Andrews Quadracycle was the first predating design that featured one inch-square iron and was propelled by long horizontally moving foot lever ellipses. The Sawyer Quadricycle followed in 1855, featuring lightweight construction, front-wheel steering, iron tires, and wooden wheels.
Unlike the first two mentioned models, the Coventry Rotary Quadracycle of 1885 used the traditional bicycle-style rotary pedals for driving. In contrast, the 1888 Rudge Quadracycle became the first modern four-wheeled quadracycle. It was much lighter construction than all the other models, required three tandem riders, and was steered by front seat levers.
Other notable quadracycle bicycle production include the Canadian Royal Mail Quadracycle designed to deliver mail throughout Toronto in 1901 and other replica models until World War II.
The more extensive advancements in the bicycle industry rendered the use and manufacture of quadracycle bicycles obsolete throughout the 19th century. Still, a resurgence occurred in the early 20th century with the introduction of Mochet’s Velo cars.
This happened in France in 1924 when Charles Mochet built the first two-seat sociable pedal-powered quadracycle for his kid. Production then picked and progressed throughout the years, where the modern-day quadracycle can be categorized into six groups.