Singer 'Xtraordinary' safety bicycle, c 1884.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This bicycle was built to a design patented by G Singer in 1878. It was a modification to the traditional high-wheel ordinary bicycle or penny-farthing, designed to be safer and more stable to ride. This was accomplished by lowering the rider's centre of gravity by moving the seat back behind the front wheel and putting the pedals on levers. The rider was therefore closer to the ground than on a traditional ordinary, but still able to reach the pedals driving the large front wheel.