Singer tricycle, c 1888.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Because of the height off the ground of its seat, the ordinary or penny-farthing bicycle was only suitable for long-legged men to ride. The development of the tricycle in the 1870s made cycling a more accesible pursuit for women as well as men of shorter stature. Tricycling became very popular in the late 1870s and early 1880s, with a large variety of designs of tricycle being tried. Singer first produced a tricycle in 1879 with a large lever-driven rear wheel and two small steering wheels in front. This later design is completely different, with two large rear wheels and a small front wheel. Tricycles declined in popularity from 1885 with the development of the safety bicyle, similar in design to modern bicycles.