Advertisement for the Rover safety bicycle, 1888.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The Ordinary (Penny Farthing) bicycle was extremely popular from 1870s-1880s, but was unstable and difficult to ride. With the availability of better materials and improved technology, a safer design of bicycle was produced, and because this was much lower and more stable than the 'ordinary' bicycle, it became known as the safety bicycle. This was one of John Kemp Starley's (1854-1901) improved designs and a prototype which set the trend for future development and commercial production.