Rover Safety Bicycle

Contributed by Coventry Transport Museum

The Rover Safety Bicycle was developed by J.K. Starley during the 1880s. It is the forerunner of all modern bicycles.

This form of bicycle revolutionised our ability to travel and became the most important form of personal transport.The Rover safety bicycle was developed during the 1880s in response to the need for a 'safer' bicycle than the large wheeled Penny Farthing bicycle in common use at the time. Cycle makers experimented with a number of designs but the Rover, create by J. K Starley, became the most successful and most copied. We would recognise all is features on a modern bicycle. A diamond shaped frame, pedals below the saddle that power the back wheel through a chain and gears, handle bars to the front wheel, and forks supporting the front wheel. These elements are all still part of the modern bicycle. It can be argued that the bicycle has brought more social mobility to more people than any other form of transport and is perhaps ready to become the future of personal transport as climate change means other forms of transport may no longer by viable. If so the significance of the Rover Safety Bicycle cannot be over emphasized.

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