One story I did not expand upon in Our Towne is the one about the John Kemp Starley and the Rover safety bicycle. It is fascinating!
Starley's safety bike came out in 1885. I imagine he called it the Rover because one could rove over the roads freely and safely. He designed it in response the to dangerous Penny Farthing or high wheel bikes.
|Top is a high wheel, bottom is the classic "safety" bicycle.|
In 1897, J.K. Starley & Co became the Rover Cycle Company. After J.K.'s death, the company carried on manufacturing motorcycles and Rover motor cars. One of its first cars was the Rover Eight two-seater, and eventually we have the iconic Land Rover brand of automobile and even the modern day Range Rovers. While the corporate structure has certainly changed over the years, it still all ties back to the original Rover bicycle! Pop yourself over to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rover_Company for more info. And check out these pictures of the Rover Eight http://www.lightauto.com/Rover%208.html
I read about Starley in Carlton Reid's Roads Were Not Built for Cars which expands on the idea that early bicycle enthusiasts lead directly to the take over of the roads by automobiles. (PS I was able to borrow this book through the Bethlehem Public Library's eBooks program.)
And finally, I found this great picture at the Albany Institute website. Now I am wondering about the the connections between bicycles and sewing machines!
|Photo circa 1895 from the Albany Institute of History and Art|