Out of a former yarn dyeing factory on D Street in Kensington, one company is helping everyone pedal their goods throughout the city.
Haley Tricycles, founded by Stephen Horcha, has been constructing custom trikes for a wide array of organizations and companies both locally and nationally since the company was established in 2005. Available in multiple designs, the trikes can, among other things, transport cargo, display artwork and even serve as mini pop-up shops.
Horcha’s trikes, with their looks bearing a strong resemblance to those produced when they were at the height of their popularity in the early 20th century, are known to turn heads.
“They get a lot of attention,” Horcha said. “People will come up to you and ask what the trike is about and what you’re doing.”
Originally born in Michigan before moving to and growing up in Savannah, Georgia, Horcha developed a passion for trikes and other retro commodities, having gotten his first trike when he was a toddler. He went on to study historic preservation, which focuses on the restoration of old buildings, at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
During that time, Horcha also was a drummer for a local band. He eventually started to realize that he needed a more efficient way to transport his equipment around the neighborhood.
“I was moving my drum set around with my car, and it was taking too long,” Horcha said. “I just decided that my life would be much simpler if I had a bike that can carry my drumset.”
Unable to find a bike that could sufficiently suit his needs, Horcha constructed his own cargo trike fitted with a storage box for his drum set. It didn’t take long for Horcha’s unique mode of transportation to catch people’s eyes, and he began receiving many requests for custom trikes.
He then established Haley Tricycles, the name drawing inspiration from the trike’s resemblance to a comet, namely the famed Halley’s Comet. Initially headquartered in Savannah, Horcha soon moved to Philly, where his company now has its permanent home in Kensington.
Over the years, Horcha’s services have been employed by dozens of organizations. The Free Library of Philadelphia utilizes Haley trikes to transport books around town. Coffee company La Colombe uses a Haley trike to showcase its coffee citywide. Out west, the Los Angeles Public Library has a Haley cargo trike that Horcha said has developed its own following on social media. Horcha even helped assemble a custom trike for The Clay Studio that comes equipped with a pottery wheel powered by the trike’s pedals.
The trikes, while acting as an environmentally friendly and efficient mode of transportation, are also very effective at drawing people in, as Horcha pointed out.
“There’s something about the tricycles that is kind of disarming, so people will come up to you and ask you what you’re doing,” Horcha said. “It’s a good way to engage with people.”
Horcha hopes that as sustainability and carbon emission reduction become more pertinent goals for companies, more of them will turn to cargo trikes as a way to meet those objectives.
“The cargo tricycle is just a much more simple solution,” Horcha said. “We’re showing people how much you can do with your own power.”