The Rover Safety, the first bike for everyone

In 1885 in England the 'Rover safety' bicycle invented and marketed by John Kemp Starley. It was the first bike that was suitable for a large audience and the original version of the bike that we know today. The advantage of the Rover safety was that one could safely on constant cycling without running the risk of falling, such as in the previous models. That's why this bike came to us also known as the safety bicycle. After a hesitant start, he was a resounding success. Therefore developed the bike from sports to actually transport. Article arrangement
  • Bike models before the safety bicycle
  • The search for a better bike
  • The designation 'safety' in the 19th century
  • A bicycle chain
  • Development of the Rover Safety
  • Tires, indispensable addition
  • Other brands
  • The first lady's bike
  • The safety and road bike
  • The importance of the safety and transportation

Bike models before the safety bicycle

On the eve of the invention of the safety bicycle, which in the Netherlands usually 'safety' was called, the package of bike models was extremely diverse. That seems remarkable for a product that was only for lovers. Probably it was because all available bikes were so flawed. Which makes it more and more new models were tried and that anyone developed different preferences therein. Moreover, many bicycles were anyway made by hand, so it was easy to give up the personal demands. At the cycle one could thus make a choice from numerous variations on the following basic types:
The high bi
The bicycle with the large front and small rear wheel and the pedals on the front wheel was around 1880 the most common bicycle, it does it mainly for sport-tuned men. While in the UK, USA, Germany and France, the high bi became especially popular. Of all the available types of the high bi was the fastest and a real race bike.
Low wheelers
These were on the high bi-inspired cycle, but with a low front wheel and lower seating. Why had these bikes are still the pedals on the front wheel. These "machines" were considerably softer than the high bi and were designed primarily for men who could not or possibly with heavy high bi from the feet of women, all showed that only very rarely seen on a bicycle.
Between Models
In an era where inventing was everyone's favorite hobby was the number of patents that was requested for new bikes as numerous as in many other products. Around 1880, the majority of these models, an intermediate form of the bi and the subsequent high safety bicycle, with or without the bicycle chain. The operation of these bikes usually was not ideal, but they were here and there and sometimes strictly sold locally.
During the last quarter of the 19th century tricycle for adults was pretty popular. Before the invention of the safety tricycle was the only way to stable bike. Moreover, he offered relatively much comfort. There were also here again all sorts of shapes, but in general they had two rear wheels and one front wheel. Tricycles went but slowly forward and kicked usually heavy. They were particularly suitable for Sunday rides in the park, although some matches were ridden. They were often ridden by women than most other bikes.
This also came in all shapes and sizes. Actually, it was more pedal cars. They provided space for an entire family or a large pile of luggage. The four-wheeler called for strong muscles or more persons who pedaled.
The idea of ​​a tandem is already quite old. Almost all bike models discussed here came in versions for two.
Poster 1898

The search for a better bike

What none of these bike models good enough for eternity? That's because there were two problems that were both solved by any existing model. These were the problems of inertia and safety.
If the bicycle in question it was built to be safe, he was above slow. So slow in fact that he often went no faster than a pedestrian. That people used such a bike anyway, came especially because they had already understood that cycling is a very healthy form of exercise is. At a time when no motorized traffic still existed it will also have been interesting to move on such a shiny machine. The combination of fun, fascination and need for healthy movement made slow the bike still a beloved object.
The high bi was the only bike that actually managed to get a high speed, so you also could make it longer distances. Unfortunately, the high bi was an accident waiting to happen. This was not only because it was so difficult to keep your balance on that huge monster or because you could not on the ground with your feet. It was mainly because you could slip easily with the ordinary, especially on slippery and / or steep roads. That was the result of the fact that at the high bi, the weight of the rider was resting on the rear wheel. That worked really slipping in the hand.

It is clear that the challenge to design a bike that are both fast and safe had attracted many inventors.

The designation 'safety' in the 19th century

The search for safe products during the late 19th and early 20th century, can also be seen in a broader context. The techinsche renovation went faster than ever before, and came to the assembly line of new or improved products to the market.
Most of these products, safety was not the strongest side. All sorts of accidents and misery were the order of the day. Hence, a product that it could invoke his 'security' and 'safety', the highest was the best sold. Inventors and producers thus took great pains to be able to stick this title to their stuff.

A bicycle chain

In the search for a safe bike one particular part invention played a central role: the bicycle chain. The bicycle chain as such was not new in the firmament. The first bike with chain drive already built in 1869 by Frenchman André Guilmet. His bike, however, was still too difficult to compete with the then popular velocipede Ernest Michaux.
Nevertheless, it was clear that the bicycle chain had potential. Chain Drive was the best way to pick up the rider weight of the wheels and better distribute the bike as a whole. They just did not know how the bike for this purpose could best be constructed.
In 1876, the Englishman John Lawson built first a fairly useful bike with chain drive, the. When was this bike, in accordance with the zeitgeist, the front wheel a little bigger than the rear, though the difference was not as extreme as at the high bi. The chain was attached to the rear wheel and the seat was in the middle on a short frame, directly above the pedals. The control was right in front of the saddle, and was by means of an angled rod connected to the front wheel.
Lawson was the first who dared his bike a 'safety' call. Yet this does not hit with the audience. Probably the heavy steps, since one had to drive the large front wheel via the small rear wheel.
First Rover 1885

Development of the Rover Safety

The problems with the bike lawson did the Brit John Kemp Starley realize that the basic model was profoundly change the bike to exploit the chain optimally. And while he was a nephew of James Starley, the inventor of the high bi. In 1885 he came with his partner William Sutton to a more definitef model.
On their first attempt was the rear wheel still slightly smaller than the front wheel, but it did not matter much anymore. Starley also built a simple but effective, slightly curved frame, the center of gravity between the two wheels came to be. The chain was still connected to the rear wheel, the saddle, but was much shorter at the rear than at the Lawson bicycle. The steering wheel was on the tube of the fork.
In the following years Starley and co performed quickly a few changes. The frame was straighter and stronger tubes. They also prescribed the so-called "diamond frame" that is still used and which actually two triangles are formed. Meanwhile, the wheels were the same size and the seat came to be a bit forward.
They gave the bike the brand name 'Rover'. The accompanying image can be seen that this was touted as 'safety tricycle', or as a two-wheeler that was as steady as a tricycle. So the Rover Safety was born.

Tires, indispensable addition

Initially, it was also the Rover safety no resounding commercial success, despite the sizzling reputation of Starley's cycling field and despite the benefits. Real bike lovers looked somewhat and were interested in a bike that is not so easily slipped away. With a larger audience hit the all-new bike does not like that yet.
The final breakthrough came after John Boyd Dunlop from Belfast in 1888 foresaw the safety of tires. The combination of both inventions only really appeared to be the golden egg. The safety could be now and fast, safe and comfortable cycling. Now the bike was ready to conquer the world.
Safety of the Quadrant brand. Diamond frame visible.

Other brands

Obviously, it did not take long for following the good example of the Rover was followed. However, the British bike industry was still far predominate. Except Rover was particularly Humber a very successful British bike brand.
In Germany, however, came too different manufacturers with successful models. Very became known as the 'Germania', developed by Seidel and Naumann. But Adler, Opel and Dürkopp came around 1890 with safety on the market.
In France especially were Clément and Peugot leader in bicycle safety. Peugot would long remain the most famous French bicycle brand.
The first Dutch bicycle industry experienced with the safety still the 'bicyicle boom. Several bicycle brands also had a successful period, including brands like Citizens, Simplex and Hollandia.

The first lady's bike

The safety was the first bike which is also a women's specific model on the market with a custom frame. Which had never been discussed in other models. That was not so much because very few women cycled, but because until now there was little of the frame. The trappers usually sat on the front wheel, so you can not do anything to lower the step, except make a much smaller wheel. As mentioned, the existence of such 'low' bikes, but which were not specifically on women and made skirts.
Safety first for women The custom bike safety initially had a very low step. The frame ran from the pedals horizontally to the front wheel arch and then join up with the front wheel. Here was chosen to provide enough space for the long, full skirts that women wore back then. According to an advertisement the berijdster could count on her gown itself 'would settle itself "when she first stepped standing a few times.
The rear wheel and the chain, moreover, were covered with protectors in order to avoid that the skirts got stuck between them.
However, the construction of this bicycle proved too weak. Therefore soon found a new type. Here, the ladies bike received a double straight rod to bottom in order to maintain the low access, but still to strengthen the structure. This is the ladies' frame that we still know today.
Very important for women also showed the addition of the pneumatic tire. For women it is a bumpy bike worse than for men. Without the comfort that offer the tire had, there were probably never really cycling women.
All this did not mean that cycling women now have a generally accepted phenomenon in the streets. In many people ruled for various reasons, a great resistance to that idea, and it would still take decades before the plea was finally settled. That does not mean that the Rover Safety has put the bikes for women on the agenda ..

The safety and road bike

The Rover would supplant the high bi not just as popular racing bike, especially on the track. That was partly because they had doubts initially about which bike was the fastest. In competitions appeared both types of bike safely side by side within the lane. In addition, it was also a financial issue. The high bi was very cheap after the safety of tires had been introduced. That was especially important for amateur riders who signed up at the many local competitions. The pros naturally got the latest and greatest bike models provided by their sponsors, the well-known bicycle brands.
Cycling Vedette Charles Terront It was in this context already talk of special racing bikes, which were different from the "ordinary" bicycle, but they were not all the same. Things had to prove themselves making experiments occurred regularly. Hence, there have been various types of road bike available with deviations in the frames and / or the sizes of the wheels. Variations on the window frame made it to the other none. In particular, experiments were conducted with the cross bar, for example, by allowing it to run obliquely instead of straight. Eventually, however, the triangle with straight rod was still the best.
A number of developments would be typical of the known road bike.
  • The 'racer' was a lightweight bike. You get along with a light bike faster than with a heavy, was then not hard to guess.
  • The racer had special thinner tires. These were not as strong because the stronger the bond, the slower the bike. The disadvantage was that the race tires often annoying leak reason.
  • During the 90s of the 19th century, a first step was taken towards a horn handlebar. In parallel to the ends of the handlebar has not been finalized, but they all bowed down. The main reason was probably that the cyclist so could take a morsel race attitude. You do not need to know anything about aerodynamics nevertheless tend to have to bend over and minimal wind to catch if you want to ride hard.

The laws of aerodynamics the time were in fact not yet known. More than the above was therefore not adapted to the bicycle. That would be in the 30s of the twentieth century happen.
The semi-racer
For the wealthy hobbyists were like racing course affordable, but for most cyclists they were too expensive. Therefore, there also were given so-called "semi-racers. Those were bikes that were up in weight between a road bike and a standard model. Early 90s they weighed about 16 kilos. Often there were also extra proper tires at the semi-racer.
Jules Cheret, Humber Cycles, ± 1898

The importance of the safety and transportation

Until the invention of the safety bicycle, the bicycle was thus mainly a 'machine' in which people could exercise. Getting healthy exercise was the reason for people to go cycling. Although particularly tricycles are used for recreational purposes.
The safety changed: the existence of the sulphite echters dramatically and it became an important means of transport. That brought two new features in the picture:
  • Cycling as a serious transport. Everyone could now use the bicycle to move herself with reasonable speed from A to B. That was a lot easier and cheaper than the horse. The consequences were considerable. It was now possible for large numbers of people from the lower classes to live further from their work than walking distance. Therefore especially workers and women were suddenly much more employment opportunities. A situation that has encouraged the emancipation of both groups.
  • Cycling as a recreational activity. The tourist bikes now boomed. Bike Clubs shots like mushrooms. In addition, they went together make cycling trips. That was primarily a social event, albeit a long time mainly to the higher social classes.

After the invention of the safety and the addition of the tire, the street scene in any case would change.