1885: First Chain Driven Bicycle – “The Rover”
Traditionally, bicycles had pedals attached to their front wheel and utilized a substantially larger front wheel than rear. They were dangerous to operate and the rider was at a safety risk during any collisions due to his height off the ground. These older style bicycles were difficult to mount and were only ridden by enthusiasts during the 1870s when cycling became popular. The chain driven Rover bicycle was first exhibited in London in early 1885 by designer J.K. Starley. This new design allowed for a smaller front wheel, as the pedals were now attached via chain to the rear wheel. This allowed the overall height of the bicycle to be lowered substantially and they became easier to mount. The Rover became known as the “safety bicycle” due to these improvements and it became a viable and popular mode of transportation for many people in the area. By the 1890s, the ordinary bicycle was obsolete.