AS RIDDEN BY H.R.H THE PRINCE OF WALES
There could be no finer endorsement for a Humber tricycle than knowing that H.R.H The Prince of Wales also rode one. The eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (known to his family as ‘Bertie’) became King Edward VII in 1901. He was a keen cyclist, and below you can see him with Princess Victoria, and Prince & Princess Charles of Denmark, starting for a bicycle ride at East Cowes.
The Beeston Humber ‘Model 14’ Convertible Tricycle
Built in 1898, sold in 1901
Removable top tube to convert to a ladies’ tricycle
with Humber Patent Double Action Band Brake to Main Axle
18″ flat handlebar
26 x 1 1/2″ Wheels
Frame No 81147
The Beeston Humber Convertible Tricycle has a removable top tube and Humber ‘First Grade’ style front fork, in the style of the 1898 ‘Model 14’. The chainwheel is also the 1898 pattern. Though the frame number #81147 suggests 1901 manufacture, these specifications are shown in the 1898 Beeston Humber Roadster Tricycle catalogue illustration below, though not in the 1900 or 1901 catalogues.
I previously sold frame number #81152 with the same specifications. Humber manufactured a larger batch of tricycle frames than were sold at the time. Tricycles sold in far fewer numbers than bicycles – a tricycle was two to three times more expensive than a bicycle – and cycle makers rarely updated the tricycle illustrations in their catalogues. In my opinion, Humber over-produced for several years and used up their tricycle stock later. By 1905, a tricycle no longer appeared in the Humber catalogue: two models of motor-bicycle and five styles of automobile had taken its place, though the tricycle was still available to order.
You can understand why His Royal Highness liked it, as the Beeston Humber tricycle is an imposing machine and definitely king of the road in the pre-motorised era. It’s hard to tell from its patina if the paint is original or if it was repainted decades ago. A picnic basket is strapped to the back. It’s fixed gear, with footrests on the front forks in case you wish to put your feet up as you coast downhill with pedals spinning …and trusting in the effectiveness of the Humber Patent Double Action Band Brake on the rear axle when you reach the bottom of the hill. The handlebar grips are taped up and the pedals rubbers worn, otherwise it’s very presentable. The Beeston is fully functional and ready to ride.
1898 HUMBER CATALOGUE EXTRACTS
This style of Beeston Humber Gents’ tricycle – i.e. with a parallel top tube rather than an upsloping top tube – was introduced by the company in 1896, and named the Model 11. Modifications in 1899 included a shorter seat post, optional front rim brake, and the new design of Beeston front fork which incorporated a duplex pattern to make Beeston machines instantly recognisable.
HUMBER DOUBLE ACTION BAND BRAKE
1901 HUMBER CATALOGUE EXTRACTS