The rosalie (Ill. 1), or cuistax (in Walloon) or billenkar (buttocks cart for a literal translation from Flemish), is a vehicle typical of tourist places, and particularly of the Belgian coast where an entrepreneurial spree swept through in the 1920s (Dekien and Kalman, 2020). It contributes to people’s well-being offering a fun way to relax doing a moderate physical activity.
It is a human powered quadricycle equipped with several pedals, with two arranged in a line in the smaller two-seater version, and more if so desired. The inevitable touch of modernity saw the electrically assisted version, which goes to show that nothing ever stays the same.
It is also a performance stage for the driver who generally sports the widest smile due to constant jokes, provided of course that they take on board one or more “instigators” to attract attention and put on a show, adding a socialisation dimension. Promenades along the seafront are particularly used but so are avenues and streets, so much so that sometimes access is prohibited by regulations, as shown in figure 2.
The rosalie was first presented at the World’s Fair in New York in 1853 (Wikipedia). It then mainly conquered the seaside resorts of the Atlantic and the coastal seas, probably because there was more space there than elsewhere, but it also went on to conquer the world, as shown in figures 3 and 4. Similarly, it is not limited to seaside resorts and sometimes ventures into the city (Ill. 5). However, no census seems to have been carried out. There is much scope therefore for scientific research on this subject, especially if we expand to other vehicles for promenade that are not “buttocks cart” per se but that resemble rosalies (Ill. 6).
- «Rosalie (cycle)», article Wikipedia consulté le 22 avril 2022.
- Dekien Manon et Kalman Laurence, 2020, Trappenzee aan. Een Reis Op De Billenkar. Kleurrijke Traditie, Coastal Heritage, Ostende.