I dream about riding a velocipede. Any suggestions?

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by Mihai, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. Mihai

    Mihai New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    1
    Did anyone had the chance to ride an ancient bike, a velocipede?

    I'd be interested in buying one or at least having a ride.

    [​IMG]
     
    Tags:


  2. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Messages:
    1,696
    Likes Received:
    3
    Look around on the web. I believe there are several manufacturers.
     
  3. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2006
    Messages:
    3,477
    Likes Received:
    74
    What you have pictured is called a Pennyfarthing. I tried to ride one but never could quite get the hang of it. We had a local odd bike collector and he let me try his. You have to push it to get it going, and then step up on the peg that is on the frame just above the rear wheel and jump up into the saddle. If you get that far, the gyroscopic effect of the front wheel keeps you from tipping over as long as you are riding in a straight line. Turning is extremely difficult, especially since leaning when you are that far off the ground just does not feel right. Mr. Dobbs, the collector had a pretty nice collection including a bicycle built for eight! Unfortunately he passed away in 1989 and his heirs sold his collection piece by piece. Stupid heirs!
     
  4. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2006
    Messages:
    3,477
    Likes Received:
    74
    Mr Dobbs got his PennyFarthing from Rideable Bicycle Replicas. Their website is: http://www.hiwheel.com. You better have a really big desire to ride one in order to justify the cost. I would rather spend that kind of money on a Moots or a Sevin.
     
  5. scirocco

    scirocco New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yup, looking at those you can see why they call the modern bicycle the "safety bicycle". :)
     
  6. celia123

    celia123 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2007
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    0
    I even haven't seen it before, is it safe?
     
  7. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2006
    Messages:
    3,477
    Likes Received:
    74
    I guess that it is as safe as downhill racing without brakes. I did not feel particularly safe and could not turn without almost going over. There are some folks who love them though, and they are a great conversation starter.
     
  8. Bro Deal

    Bro Deal New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2006
    Messages:
    6,701
    Likes Received:
    2
    I am not too keen to ride something that created the term "taking a header."
     
  9. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Messages:
    1,696
    Likes Received:
    3
    Due to their height they are supposed to be so easy to balance that it was no big deal to learn to cross bridges riding on the hand rail. Must have been some sort of ramp at the ends.
     
  10. Powerful Pete

    Powerful Pete New Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2004
    Messages:
    3,866
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, here is the journal of a guy who is touring the world on a penny farthing wearing a UK policeman helmet. So it can be done (I mean riding the bike)! Respect, but it does take an interesting type to do something like this...
     
  11. JohnO

    JohnO New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2003
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've tried one out. It's tricky to get going. One foot on the step, one on the ground, both hands reaching way up for the handlebars. Hop a few times to get some forward motion, then leap into the seat and get your feet on the pedals and cranking before you lose speed. Once you get going, it's a breathtaking ride, up that high. The ride is a bit jarring, which is why penny farthings are also called boneshakers. Getting back off is almost as much fun - raise off the seat, slide backwards and hope your foot hits the step.

    If you hit the brake hard (assuming it has a brake), you take a header and there isn't much you can do to stop it. To simulate a header, stand on the hood of your car, and fall forward onto the pavement. Your face usually hits first.

    The best replicas I've seen are those made by Mesicek a Synove in the Czech republic. Expensive ($2k), but exact reproductions, and beautifully finished.
     
  12. scirocco

    scirocco New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    0
    What blows me away is that most people back then would have not only had to learn to ride that particular bike, but were learing to ride for the first time! So all the ideas of balance and stuff that come naturally to us would have been new to them...just like a kid learing to ride.

    Or did they have training wheels for them? :)
     
  13. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2006
    Messages:
    3,477
    Likes Received:
    74
    I have seen tricycle Penny Farthings currently for sale by the replica manufacturers, but I don't know if they had them when these bikes were popular. I tend to think that it would have been the same learning curve for them as it was for us to learn to ride our modern bikes. Remember, that is all that they had so it was normal to them. If I had never ridden a modern bike, it may have not felt so alien to me when I did ride one.
     
  14. dangerousbiker

    dangerousbiker New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2007
    Messages:
    125
    Likes Received:
    1
    Now that's a sure way to catch attention.:D
     
  15. Stu07

    Stu07 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2006
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Is it just me, or does the concept of an oil lamp up top sound a bit scary on something that looks so easy to spectacularly crash. Got this vision of a cyclist lying on the ground covered in flaming oil...
     
Loading...
Loading...