Outside the wall

Dan and Sarala’s blog from Hohhot

Three-wheeled contraptions

20 Sep 2014

In China, tricycles aren’t just for toddlers. The streets here are chock-full of three-wheeled contraptions. Gas-powered, battery-powered, and pedal-powered, all sizes and shapes, and all ages (both vehicles and riders). Here are a few we’ve seen lately.

This is a standard old-fashioned “pickup trike”. Despite being pedal-powered, these are commonly used for hauling loads.

The flywheel-like thing in the center of the rear axle appears to be a drum brake, which is operated by a hand lever near the downtube.

Many of the old-school pedal trikes have been retrofitted with electric motors. On this one you can see some of the control boxes in the upper right, and the cylindrical motor housing in the shadows below.

At the other end of the spectrum, here is a modern scooter-trike tailored to the comfort-conscious commuter.

And here’s a more heavy-duty trike with a motorcycle engine. These are common for package deliveries, maybe because they are faster than the pedal trikes.

This one appears to be a unicycle with training wheels (?!):

And this one is perhaps the awesomest we’ve seen yet: a tricycle steamroller! The picture doesn’t show it very well, but it has one big steamroller wheel in front, and two smaller ones behind. Sorry for the bad photo, it was moving surprisingly fast down that pedestrian-choked street.

We're still collecting tricycle photos, so stay tuned!