1928 Columbia Girlcycle Tricycle

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The 1888 cross frame safety bicycle made by Columbia (above) subsequently became known as the ‘camelback’, due to its extra strengthening tube above and between the main tube and integral rear mudguard. The seat post fitted into it. This distinctive design allowed Columbia’s safety bicycle to stand out from the crowd. Was it purely coincidental that when the company’s juvenile tricycles were redesigned in the late 1920s, a girls’ model named the ‘Girlcycle’ was developed with a similar profile to that historic Columbia?

Equally mysterious is the fact that girls were not normally offered a ‘velocipede’ tricycle – ie pedals in the front wheel. Over the years, that had been the province of young boys, while daughters were encouraged to ride the ancient ’tiller & treadle’ style of trike. By this time, chain-driven tricycles were also coming onto the market, and they were much easier for girls to ride while maintaining their modesty. I suspect that the age of The Flappers had influenced the company to make such a machine. However, the notorious stock market crash of 1929 appears to have scuppered the model. I suspect it was only in production for a year.