The 10 Best Tricycles
This wiki has been updated 22 times since it was first published in February of 2015. If your toddler is just about ready for a little vehicular independence, consider one of these tricycles. A far cry from the trikes of your youth, these three-wheeled bikes come in some awesome designs with innovative features. Plus, they can help your child develop and improve balance, stamina, muscle strength and motor functions. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best tricycle on Amazon.
What Separates a Good Tricycle From a Great One?
The only area where this could be a concern is if the tricycle's rear bar - or platform - tends to scrape along the pavement.
Metal frames are fine, and plastic frames, a little less so.
At a glance, most tricycles appear to be created alike, but this can be deceiving in terms of versatility, safety, ride-ability, and more. If you're purchasing a tricycle, it pays to do your homework. And a tricycle's frame may be the best place to start.
Steel is the industry standard when it comes to tricycle frames. Metal frames are fine, and plastic frames, a little less so. But a steel frame remains durable, and largely resistant to weathering, which is important if you plan on passing a tricycle down from one child to another.
By and large, you'll want a tricycle to feature bright, perhaps even reflective, colors. Bright colors allow a tricycle to stand out, which has immeasurable value when and if you take your child out for a bike ride at night.
Certain tricycles feature rubber wheels, which are preferable to the less-traditional plastic. Rubber wheels have built-in shock absorption, which makes for a smoother ride when kids are pedaling over cracks in a sidewalk. The same can be said for any tricycle with a cushioned seat, in that the cushion is not only comfortable, but it's also much more prone to keep a child from sliding off.
Tricycles are built low to the ground to accommodate small children while also preventing the risk of certain accidents (see below). The only area where this could be a concern is if the tricycle's rear bar - or platform - tends to scrape along the pavement. You can sidestep this by confirming that any tricycle you're interested in features a rear bar that rests at least a few inches off the ground.
How To Keep Your Child Safe On a Tricycle
Tricycles, by their three-wheeled nature, have been designed to help children avoid falling. With that said, we all know that youngsters are capable of doing things that might be unwarranted. The good news is that you can minimize your child's risk of injury by teaching him or her some very simple rules. Let's take a look at where some of the most common tricycle hazards are hiding.
Said guard, while effective at deflecting dirt and gravel, could also cause an injury if your child's foot or hand gets caught in the well.
Consider a tricycle front wheel, for example. A lot of tricycles have been built with a metal guard around the top of that wheel. Said guard, while effective at deflecting dirt and gravel, could also cause an injury if your child's foot or hand gets caught in the well. Same thing goes for any tricycle's spokes. If a tricycle is in motion, jamming a limb into either of those areas could result in a serious laceration, or worse.
Be mindful that young children are prone to mimicking older brothers and sisters, who they might see popping wheelies in the street. While the majority of tricycles are mechanically incapable of popping wheelies, it doesn't hurt to teach your child to wear a helmet from an early age. You can't predict when an unavoidable accident might occur, and a helmet can protect your child from any minor head injuries (to say the least).
Beyond taking these precautions, it's important to supervise your child at all times when he or she is riding a tricycle. Make it point to keep your child away from any intersections or high-traffic areas. Sidewalks are the golden rule. Public parks and secluded areas are even better.
A Brief History of The Tricycle (AKA 'The Trike')
The first tricycle was invented toward the end of the 18th Century as an extension of a three-wheeled wheelchair that had been designed almost a hundred years before. This hybrid tricycle, which was engineered by a pair of Frenchmen, remained little more than a curiosity until 1818, at which point a British coachmaker named Denis Johnson began to manufacture tricycles, which he referred to as pedestrian curricles, based on a newly-patented approach.
Today, almost every family with small children owns a tricycle or a big wheel, or some other three-wheeled contraption featuring two pedals and a seat.
Over the ensuing 60 years, inventors across Europe fiddled with various conceptions for a tricycle. One version of the "trike" was built with all three wheels running parallel, while another was powered by hand levers. All of this trial and error eventually resulted in the first-ever front-steering tricycle, which was introduced by the Leicester Safety Tricycle Company in 1881.
Tricycles became a major trend throughout England toward the end of the 1800s. Ironically, these British trikes were being built for adults. British women preferred a tricycle because it sat lower, which was beneficial when riding in a dress. British men preferred a tricycle because it was considered a symbol of sophistication, much like a modern-day BMW might be considered a symbol of success.
The introduction of the automobile caused the adult trike's popularity to wane during the early 1900s. Consequently, tricycles were largely reimagined for a prepubescent audience. This idea of a children's tricycle took off throughout America where it has remained a constant ever since. Today, almost every family with small children owns a tricycle or a big wheel, or some other three-wheeled contraption featuring two pedals and a seat.
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