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addition to ones metioned so far, a Tricycle is listed, lever driven – all sizes for £19. The X traordinary was introduced: it was lever driven, and claimed to easier for mounting and dismounting, but still a maximum of 50" driving wheel. For 1880 another tricycle was in producton – this time a folding machine – The


alternative fork parts to give a proper trail for solo use, but of course n/a in those early post-war years. The earliest catalogue I have is for 1878, and in


production applied to the new Safety which wasn’t readily available until some months after it had been announced. Anyone who has tried riding one of the early penny farthings will know that the steering might be described as ‘twitchy’; this is because the forks are vertical; in 1878 Singers introduced the Xtraordinary which had a ‘trailing’ system of steering; in other words the forks were raked at an angle so that continue the line of the forks down to the ground, that point is in front of where the wheel touches the ground; trail is an important feature for steering; my first proper motorcycle, a 1934 600cc BSA, an ex-East Sussex CC sidecar outfit had negative trail –much easier, because the steering effort needed is less, but the very devil when tried solo, and with any wear led to a steering wobble; virtually unrideable though I took it on my first excursion north of the border, as far as Inverness, and across to the Isle of Arran in 1950. It took some time to find that BSAs supplied


driven – chain drive was still in the future – it had been invented by Harry Lawson and had an 84" driving wheel – far larger than the largest penny farthing wheel, of course. And Singers put it into production. What I wrote recently about catalogues and


consolidation went on; whilst producing well made, and for the period, expensive machine, suited to the leisured classes who made up the cycling fraternity of the time, they had also built up a number of agencies in order to market their machines more widely; but the important development of that decade was when proper safety machines began to be developed ; the Courier seems to be the first of these in which, at last, chain drive to the rear wheel had been introduced, which meant the rear wheel could be smaller, and so, a radical change in cycle design, and hence, a plethora of models: it reminds me of Lepidoptera, where, from time to time, a particular species occurs in enormous numbers – the air seems to be full of butterflies, and it is during such periods of plenty that a species undergoes slight modifications in appearance: and heredity being what it is, this is continued in succeeding generations; so with bicycles – lots of ideas, lots of developments, lots of changes, until the final outcome is machines which remain the same for years; such was what happened in my youth, and was roughly coterminous with the 20th century: the end of the 19th was a period of great change; the 21st has done the same again for cycles; in 1987 when I first went o Zambia, I saw one ‘sports’ cycle, the rest were ‘black bikes’ (traditional roadsters); when I was there in early 2012, the whole range was there: yes, lots of roadsters still, but lots of mountain and similar cycles.


Michael Staines


Challenge No.1 which folded, costing up to £21, but available non-folding for a pound less, known as The Dublin. During the early 1880s it seems a good deal of


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