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First taste of freedom: Toledo Treadle Tricycle


For many of us, our first taste of freedom came in the form of either a tricycle, or a bicycle. The excitement of going where you wanted to, going as fast as you wanted to, and perhaps, even being a little mischievous out and about with the freedom those wheels granted you. This Toledo built treadle style tricycle is in great survivor condition and would make an awesome ride for a young Barn Find member. Perhaps a steep cost for a tricycle, this Toledo is offered with a buy it now price of $1,695. Find it here on ebay out of Mickleton, New Jersey.


Power is derived from a treadle style system that is then transmitted through a bent crank shaft axle, much like a pedal car. Power is dependent upon fuel, often high power candy, various sodas can yield faster ET’s. There is no gearing, only the direct drive axle that propels this tricycle. This Design reins from the 1880’s, and in fact this Toledo is a smaller version of what early bicycle riding women would have road in the 1880’s.


The seat at one point or another has been reupholstered, but it is not immediately apparent. The chassis of this tricycle is mostly rust free with only a few areas where the paint has been scratched or chipped. The only concerning issue with this tricycle is the passenger side rear wheel is slightly bent, needing to be straightened. The steering handle on this tricycle can be flipped over to allow this tricycle to be pulled, much like modern tricycles where the parents walk with their child in tow. The wheels are steel, and the tires are solid, but the seat is sprung making for a somewhat cushioned ride.


This Toledo is certainly different from the modern day tricycle that so many of us grew up with. Though different from the norm, this Treadle style tricycle is actually a comfortable ride. Plus you would have the coolest kid at all of the swap meets, and car shows! Would you pick up this Toledo for your young Barn Finder?


  1. Bingo

    Excellent and witty write up Brian but I think most of us barn finders are done pedaling… bring on the negatives!

  2. Howard A Member

    For some reason, I’d think this would be more at home on the streets of Hong Kong, than Toledo Ohio. Actually, in response to Bingo’s post, I still have my mountain bike, and I love bicycling, just not too many hills, please. Probably someone with mobility issues would like this, just not too fast.

  3. S Ryan

    Bet I can fit an LS in it.
    Or at least a B.S.

  4. Alex B

    Pretty cool pedal system.

  5. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    The thing is pretty cool. I’d like to see one in person and go for a spin. It kind of reminds me of the old plumbers nightmare thing.

  6. BradL

    Been cycling for 28 years. I’ll take it – just not at that price.

  7. David J David J

    Awesome list, Barn Finds!

    Now, I have to research what these classics go for. I’d ride one of these along the bike path, all day. It would make me stronger, as well.

    Great stuff!

    Cyclist Dave

  8. BradL

    I just did a bit of research. The 20″ rear wheels means this is a child’s tiller tricycle for ages 4-7 and dates from 1880-1900.

  9. Howard A Member

    It’s got “shoe heel” brakes.

  10. CarNut from Winnipeg Member

    If it has a passenger side wheel does that mean it seats 2?

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