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Starley Network

The Starley Network is a network of cycling and walking trails in the West Midlands. It’s named after the Starley family from Coventry, who were innovators of the modern cycle.

We’ve worked with local authorities to launch the network. We’ll keep extending it.

The Starley Network covers 500 miles of connected routes. This includes:

You can download a map of the Starley Network. You can also look up routes using the interactive map.

Starley Network map

Starley family timeline

Starley Family Timeline. Circa 1830: James Starley, an English inventor known as the father of the bicycle industry, was born at Albourne, Sussex. 1856: John Kemp Starley, James Starley’s nephew and inventor of the famous Rover Safety Cycle, was born in Walthamstow, London. 1861: James Starley comes to Coventry to make sewing-machines, becoming the Coventry Sewing Machine Company. The company later started to produce bicycles, making Coventry the centre of the British bicycle industry. 1863 to 1865: The Velocipede, also called the 'Boneshaker' or 'Hobby Horse', of Pierre and Ernest Michaux was first made. The founding of the cycling industry in Paris. 1868: Rowley B Turner, Paris agent for the Coventry Sewing Machine Company, brings a Michaux Velocipede to Coventry. 1869: The Coventry Machinists Co, a reconstruction of the Coventry Sewing Machine Co, with James Starley as Works Manager, produce Michaux machines under licence, but Franco-Purssian War eventually stifles project, forcing home sales. 1870: James Starley and William Hillman go into partnership to produce the ‘Ariel’ - an all-metal penny-farthing bicycle with tension-wire spokes – a joint patent. Considered the ‘first true bicycle’. It was the first self-propelled two-wheeler to use pivot-center steering, which gave the bicycle the ability to turn, a leap in technology from the forward and reverse movements that limited the earlier wooden machines. 1872: John Kemp Starley moves to Coventry to work with his uncle James Starley and William Hillman building Ariel cycles. 1874: James Starley patents tangent wheel. Starley's original wheels arranged the spokes in a straight line. Alternating spokes connected the spokes to the hub at an angle, easing the stress on individual spokes and making the wheels far stronger than earlier models. Starley's tensioned spoke wheels are found, virtually unmodified to this day, on nearly every contemporary bicycle. 1876: James Starley patents ‘Coventry Lever Tricycle’. 1877: James Starley patents ‘Royal Salvo Tricycle’ with differential gear. 1878: James Starley patents a folding tricycle – the ‘Compressus’ – and Starley and Sutton produce the ‘Meteor Tricycle’ – a development of the Royal Salvo. 1881: James Starley passes away, the same year the bicycle chain drive was patented. 1883: John Kemp Starley produces the Rover Tricycle. 1885: John Kemp Starley produces his famous diamond-frame safety bicycle and exhibits it in the London. William Starley, with his brothers, John Marshall and James Starley II steal the show at the same exhibition with their Psycho Tricycle. 1888: The company changes its name to J. K. Starley & Co. Ltd. 1896: The company changes its name to Rover Cycle Company Ltd. 1901: John Kemp Starley dies suddenly on 29 October 1901. He was succeeded as managing director of the firm by Harry Smith. Soon after Starley's death the Rover company began building motorcycles and then cars. Motorcycle manufacture eventually tailed off, but car production would continue in Coventry up to 1945 before moving to Solihull. August 2020: We have worked in partnership with with Local Authorities to launch the Starley Network, named after the Starley family. The Starley Network marks our ambitious plans for the region and encourage more people to cycle and walk.