Content can be downloaded for non-commercial purposes, such as for personal use or in educational resources.
For commercial purposes please contact the copyright holder directly.
Read more about the The Creative Archive Licence.


This bicycle represented an advance on earlier designs. Thanks to a smaller difference in the size of its wheels, the Facile was safer to use than the traditional ordinary, or penny-farthing. Its sun-and-planet gearing, converted the rider's pedal power into a rotation of the wheels. It was also made safer and more stable to ride by lowering the rider's centre of gravity by moving the seat back behind the front wheel and putting the pedals on levers. The rider was therefore closer to the ground than on a traditional ordinary, but still able to reach the pedals driving the large front wheel.

An advertisement by the manufacturer read as follows:

'We claim the following advantages for this machine:
Ease of Learning - There are many who would like to ride a bicycle but fear they could not acquire the balance. With the 'Geared Facile' learning is really no trouble. With a little judicious assistance anyone who has the full use of his limbs may learn to balance and ride alone for, say, a few hundred yards in from ten minutes to an hour'.

Source: Wilson Museum, Narberth and Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library (

Comments (0)

You must be logged in to leave a comment