The high-wheeler was like the boneshaker except that they had made the
front wheels very big and the back ones very small.
The reason for this was that they were trying to make it so that
the bike was more balanced. The
front wheel in some models ere over 5 feet high!
It came out in 1870. It
could reach speeds of 20 mph but such high speeds also brought danger. The front wheel went very smoothly over bumps and dips in the
road but a large stone could bring up the back wheel and the rider could
find him or herself flying head over heels over the handle bars onto the
ground. Seeing as you were
so high up, it would be a very scary fall!
This kind of accident was called “coming a cropper” and
stopped a lot of people from cycling.
Just above the
back wheel was a small step that the rider used to step up on so that
they could reach the seat. It
was a lot better to get started up against a wall where you could hold
yourself up and balance yourself. Once
started if the bike began to tip to one side then the wheel could be
turned to the side of the fall to stop it.
On the road if the rider had built up enough speed then they
could coast and put up their feet on the footrest.
To get off of this bike the rider would throw his legs down over
the handlebars and jump down. The
high-wheeler was also nicknamed the penny-farthing because the big and
little wheels reminded people of 2 coins, the penny and the farthing.