M994X.2.43 | Velocipede

1850-1900, 19th century
154 cm
Available for adoption
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Velocipede (1)
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The first velocipede or "penny-farthing" bicycle made its appearance in Canada in 1869, but did not become widely popular until the early 1880s. The big front wheel of this bicycle was between 1.2 and 1.4 metres in diameter, and the saddle was placed above it. This meant that the rider was perched about 1.5 metres off the ground, as high as if he were riding a horse.
The first bicycle club was founded in Montreal in 1878. Bicycles were expensive and so became a visible outdoor statement of high social standing. From 1869 to 1900 owning a bicycle was the ultimate indicator of modernity.