Rover Safety Cycle

In 1885 John Starley, an English inventor made history when he mass produced a chain driven rear wheel drive bike with two similar sized wheels, making it more stable than the previous high wheeler designs. His affordable Rover Safety Bicycle, an immediate hit, was copied widely and was responsible for a massive uptake of transport cycling in the late 19th century.

In 1893 on the other side of the planet 26 year old Percy Armstrong undertook what must be one of the earliest endurance rides, pedalling 3200 km from Croydon QLD to Melbourne in 7 days.

Armstrong moved to WA during the gold rush and established cycle courier agencies in Coolgardie and Perth as well as Rover Cycle Agency selling Rovers to the fair citizens of WA.

In 1897 Percy created the Rover Road Race, from Beverley to Perth, a distance of 116 miles (185km). Menzies Bike shop Manager, John Beck, won with an overall time of 6 hours and 47 minutes riding a bicycle similar to the Armstrong over cruddy pre-car tracks. In short order this popular race became the Beverley to Perth. One of Australia’s great endurance races it ran it’s original route until the 1990’s and is now commemorated each October as The Beverley Heroic.

Percy went on to be the first owner of a motorcycle in WA and completed several cross country motorbike runs. He was a founding member of the RAC. His moustache may never be equalled.