Though a speedy and efficient form of individual transportation, the Ordinary (‘penny farthing’) was totally unsuitable for use under war conditions. It presented an easy target, was a danger to the rider at speed on poor roads, and could not carry sufficient luggage. The tricycle was only useful on good road surfaces and was too bulky to carry over obstacles.
It was not until 1886 that a feasible safety bicycle came onto the market. The cycle industry now had their eye on commercial usage of bicycles. It was not easy to land a contract with the British Government to supply military equipment. But the new style of safety bicycle made this possible and led to many trials of bicycles under simulated wartime conditions.