RUDGE-WHITWORTH TRICYCLES: AS RIDDEN BY HRH PRINCESS BEATRICE
These tricycles have long been recognised as the most satisfactory and easy running in the market. There is a steadily increasing demand for them, which has enabled us to introduce important improvements and still to make a substantial reduction in the price. Tricycles are strongly recommend for nervous or elderly riders, to whom they present the enormous advantage over the bicycle of being absolutely incapable of sideslip.
– 1909 Rudge-Whitworth catalogue description
Along with Premier and Humber, Rudge-Whitworth was one of the few cycle companies to enjoy royal patronage. The Royal Family had been keen supporters of the British cycle industry since Queen Victoria purchased several tricycles in 1881. Though there are no reports of her riding a tricycle herself, as a result tricycles became fashionable for ladies to ride around Hyde Park.
With the advent of the safety bicycle, the young royals took up cycling too. Princess Beatrice (1884 –1966) rode this model of tricycle. Called ‘Baby Bee’ by her family, she was Queen Victoria’s grand-daughter. Beatrice later married into the Spanish Royal Family. Her husband was Alfonso de Orleans y Borbon, a first cousin of King Alfonso XII.
1901 Rudge-Whitworth No 31 Special Lady’s Tricycle
with optional Rudge-Whitworth Freewheel and Front Rim Brake
28″ Front wheel. 26″ Rear wheels
This lovely old Rudge-Whitworth tricycle came from the Lincoln Museum, the collection that formed the basis of Great Britain’s current National Museum. I bought it from a lady named Beryl who rode it on many club runs.
The front rim brake was an optional extra in 1901, fitted for no extra charge. It was the first year the company offered it. Earlier models had fixed wheel with a front plunger brake that acted directly onto the front tyre. A particularly interesting feature of this machine is the set of Rudge-Whitworth patent V section tricycle rear mudguards.
The machine is in excellent all round condition and ready to ride.
These machines are a speciality, and are gaining every day in popularity, especially with elderly and nervous riders who are not inclined to adopt the bicycle.
The Lady’s Tricycle particularly is much approved by many Lady Bicyclists, who use the Tricycle in wet or slippery weather.
– 1901 Rudge-Whitworth catalogue
CYCLING MAGAZINE, 27th May, 1908:
‘WELL-KNOWN ACTRESSES WHO CYCLE’
1901 RUDGE-WHITWORTH CATALOGUE