They were known as velocipedes, bone-shakers, penny-farthings and safety bicycles. The early bicycles of the 1800s had various names and various designs as makers around the world worked to improve on the increasingly intriguing and popular mode of transportation.

One of the earliest pedal designs involved a very large wheel and a very small one — looking like a British penny and farthing next to each other — and despite its difficult-to-mount and dangerous design, helped increase the popularity of biking among the population.

But it was when the “safety” bicycle was invented later in that century, with its two smaller, same-size wheels, that the average person began to see the promise of biking.

For a brief history of early bicycles, go to

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