By Bob Baker
Today, the bicycle is a recreational vehicle. From the late 1800s until early 1900s, people saw the bicycle as a new, exciting form of personal transportation, less expensive than a horse and perhaps faster.
In the 1870s, the “ordinary” or “Penny-Farthing” bicycle was available. To mount, the rider gripped the handlebar, stepped on a small step on the back of the bicycle, pushed off with his right foot and lunged forward, hopefully landing his feet on the pedals and his rear on the seat. Using pedal speed to slow down or stop, to dismount, the rider reached back with his foot to the small step and hopped off. Many novice riders stopped too abruptly and did “headers” over the handlebars. Average people found the “ordinary” bicycle difficult to operate and dangerous to ride.