In the 1890s, cycle racing was the world’s No 1 sport. In the boom years of the 1890s, the cycle industry could not make bicycles fast enough to supply the demand from chaps who wished to emulate their racing heroes …and maybe even set their own records on the country’s roads.
As well as the established manufacturers catering to this market, hundreds of smaller companies purchased parts through the trade and built their own bicycles. After Humber introduced a safety bicycle with an upward sloping top tube in 1892 – similar in appearance to their racing model – many of the trade suppliers copied the design. It was often described as a ‘Humber Pattern Frame’.
As you can see in the advertisement below, it was offered without a transfer (decal) so that the “maker or agents may put their own transfer…”
1894 ‘Humber Pattern’ Solid Tyre Safety Bicycle with upward sloping top tube
This majestic safety bicycle has solid tyres, which was the cheapest option at the time. The other possibilities were cushion tyres or pneumatics, the latter being considerably more expensive. It’s a typical example of the prevalent style of the day.
After bicycle design changed in 1885/1896 to a diamond frame with a horizontal top tube, this style of machine with an upward sloping top tube became a bit of a ‘dinosaur’, even more so if it had solid tyres, the most ‘old-fashioned’ option.
Unlike the 1890s, we no longer want to see the latest in cycle design. Instead, it takes a machine featuring state-of-the-art technology from 125 years ago to charm us. This solid-tyred safety is in great condition and ready to ride.