Bicycling on Three Wheels — Transportation of the Future? (154)


In Peak Moment’s very first field production, bicycle enthusiast Galen Shumacher takes us for a spin on a three-wheeled “tadpole.” This human-powered vehicle (HPV), built for competition by the Chico State University HPV club, has two wheels in front and a single in back. Janaia’s unrehearsed ride shows that it’s easy to learn, comfortable to ride, stable, highly maneuverable, and fun! Galen also shows us the improved model being built for the upcoming competition. (P.S. they won!)

Watch videoAudio | iTunes | Transcript


  1. What the authors ignore is that cycles represent almost the epitome of technological advance. To produce them on a large scale requires advanced metallurgy, ore extraction, smelting, cnc designing and manufacture, assembly lines and energy to run them, paved roads and the energy to build and maintain them, etc. What about the tires that must be produced from oil, and the technology required to produce them to the uniformity to fit mass produced rims? Bicycles or tricycles or quadricycles or whatever cycles are no more a long term solution to human transportation problems than mag-levs or gyrocopters. If humans survive at all (a consumation devoutly to be deplored) they will have to rely on hand-built ox carts and such.

  2. For me, the cargo trike is transportation and shipping for me right now. The one I have will carry 250 lbs. Others will carry more weight. Most LBSs carry them whether they advertise the fact or not. General Motors even uses cargo trikes to move stock around their plants.
    So, the future is already here.

  3. I just read about a couple cycle shops in Oregon that are selling a “utility” version of the HPV trike you mention in the video above. I thought you and your readers may be interested in these examples of what you eluded to in the interview.



  4. Hi again! 🙂

    I should have also mentioned that every time I bring up the subject of recumbent cycles I am continually recommended to check out Gold Country Cyclery as the place to start test riding in our area. I guess this shop has been around a long while and is well versed in all things related to utility cycling and HPV transportation. So if your interest in this form of transportation hasn’t waned since this filming Jania perhaps you should head an hour down the hill to Shingle Springs, CA. I’ve been meaning to check it out myself. 😉


  5. Hi Janaia and Robyn,

    Thank you for a fantastic insight into the HPV potential. Tammy and I have considered living in a rural area but have resisted because of the likelyhood of having to own another car. The HPV’s seem to keep popping up to us as a viable solution to this dilemma. It was hard to contain a smile while watching Janaia squeal with joyful surprise while experiencing a test ride. 🙂



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