If any of our readers desire the luxury of a ride on a velocipede without the necessity of taking lessons, or the danger of getting a fall, they will find “Bradford’s Four-Wheeled Velocipede” ready and able to afford them the pleasure. The inventor of this vehicle, Mr. C. K. Bradford, has devoted the greater part of the last five years to experiments upon the velocipede and took out his first patent three years and a half ago. The machine, as now constructed and improved, obtained its American patent October 13th, 1868. It has since been patented in England, France and Belgium. It is made of the best material and finished like a gentleman’s trotting wagon. It weighs but sixty-five pounds and combines in a high degree both lightness and strength. Any man, woman or child, can learn to guide it easily with but a few moments practice. The inventor claims that it is able to maintain a speed of a mile in three minutes and that the extraordinary time of a half mile in one minute and forty-five seconds, has been made upon a country road. It can be driven by almost any man, at the rate of a mile in four minutes, on almost any road, without greater exertion than is ordinarily used in walking. This velocipede, unlike all others, is seen to best advantage on the street. In Mr. Bradford’s tasteful little curricle, the rider can sit at ease as carelessly as in a carriage, giving himself up wholly to the exhilaration of the rapid movement and the pleasurable exercise of the muscles, which is just enough to make the machine skim over the ground and give an enjoyable sense of power. The increase of friction, which would naturally result from the additional number of wheels, is prevented by an application of anti-friction rollers, which reduce the labour of propelling the machine to a minimum, a requisite of the highest importance to a person seeking either recreation or utility. This velocipede has an adjustable seat, which may be placed nearer or further from the pedal crank, to suit the rider’s length of limb. The seat is furnished with a high, strong back, which, besides adding materially to the rider’s comfort, serves him as a point d’appui, a firm base from which he can exert a powerful force in propelling. The steering device is simple and complete and is the same principle upon which one guides the horse. It is guided by the hands and the large rear wheels are operated upon by means of a wheel and cord arrangement, conveniently placed beside the seat. It is claimed that the machine can be steered almost to a hair’s breadth. It is used by many city firms for the purpose of carrying messages and parcels and can be seen upon Broadway in the thickest part of the travel. It does not hesitate at curb-stones and will run over most roads as easily as any light wagon. It can be ridden up almost any hill without a fatiguing expenditure of force. It offers excellent advantages for carrying refreshments and various articles of light baggage, necessary in a flying trip or excursion. Though this machine requires more room for its accommodation than the bicycle and cannot be stored against any wall; and though it does not give the peculiar and fascinating kind of exhilaration which balancing upon the bicycle affords, it will be seen to have many advantages over the two-wheeled vehicle. This velocipede is especially adapted to ladies and children.

The velocipede: its history, varieties, and practice, J. T. Goddard (1869)


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