Penny Farthings!

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Penny Farthings!

Postby ldrcycles » Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:05 pm

I'm thinking about getting my hands on a penny farthing but google isn't helping much. Does anyone know where to get them?

I'm assuming that buying one would be jolly expensive, so i'm contemplating making one using a 36 inch unicycle as the front wheel (which would also make it a bit lower and presumably a little less daunting than a 48 or 52").
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by BNA » Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:34 pm

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Re: Penny Farthings!

Postby Chooka » Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:34 pm

You're right about them being expensive!

On eBay right now:

1880's Penny Farthing

1880's Pope Columbia
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Re: Penny Farthings!

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:35 pm

want to take some holidays in November?
is there a Penny Farthing Club in Qld?
There is one in SA (I am on their hardcopy newsletter mailing list), they so far managed to avoid a web presence :(
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Re: Penny Farthings!

Postby LG » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:04 pm

When you do find one you can come visit Tassie for a spot of racing http://www.evandalevillagefair.com/inde ... ation.html
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Re: Penny Farthings!

Postby RonK » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:45 pm

Northpoint (Bracken Ridge) Tafe runs a penny building course. I doubt you would get in this year though. I'd planned to do the course myself this year, until I realised there is no room to store a penny in my apartment.
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Re: Penny Farthings!

Postby ldrcycles » Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:04 am

That second one on ebay :shock: . They really want $29,000 for a wreck they know nothing about?

I've heard about the evandale races, and seen a few youtube clips, it looks like a lot of fun!

I'm very tempted to do that course, the cost looks very reasonable to me, and if those ones on ebay are anything to go by i could make it back a couple of times over by selling just one. Hmmm, Lachlan Davis, Penny Farthingsmith, i like the sound of that :) .
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Re: Penny Farthings!

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:40 am

originals cost more than the replicas
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Re: Penny Farthings!

Postby ldrcycles » Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:03 am

Thanks for that link scot, there's some really cool stuff on that site. Shipping on something that size from the US would probably be pretty exxy, makes the tafe course look like even better value.
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Re: Penny Farthings!

Postby RonK » Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:03 am

Clydesdale Scot wrote:originals cost more than the replicas

Yes, Rideable Replicas machines do look to be quite reasonably priced.

Some more information - how I first found out about the penny building course - from an article in Australian Cyclist magazine.

I registered for the 2011 courses but could not get in. Then just before xmas I saw the mass penny ride (about 15 pennies) down at Nudgee Beach and got talking to the riders - all were graduates from the previous courses. So I shortlisted for this years course, but eventually declined a place, much to my regret. To build my own is something I'd really love to do, but sadly I just don't have room for it.

I think there is also a Facebook group called “Penny Farthing Brisbane Chapter”. Might be worth looking up.
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Re: Penny Farthings!

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:08 am

Dan and Catherine Talbot are keen riders from down Mandurah way in WA who ride contemporary unicycles. Perhaps you can get some info from them.

I have no contact but Dan's FB page is at http://www.facebook.com/daniel.talbot.944

36" is going to be a whole lot less of a practical beast than a 52" or 54" in terms of speed, although it will have pneumatic tyres which is a plus. AFAIK penny farthings only run with pram-chord.
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Re: Penny Farthings!

Postby Mulger bill » Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:46 pm

Hmmm.
Maybe not...
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Re: Penny Farthings!

Postby ldrcycles » Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:41 pm

My eyes, my eyes! :) .


ColinOldnCranky wrote:36" is going to be a whole lot less of a practical beast than a 52" or 54" in terms of speed, although it will have pneumatic tyres which is a plus. AFAIK penny farthings only run with pram-chord.


Precisely my thinking, and the short gearing wouldn't be an issue at least at first as i'm looking at having it just for very gentle rides and basically posing. The other benefit i can see from a 36" is being a lot closer to the ground, my balance is not great.
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Re: Penny Farthings!

Postby singlespeedscott » Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:12 pm

For your info the penny course is actually run by non other than Brett Richardson of Berretto bikes fame. Apparently Brett is a pretty avid rider and goes down to Tassie to race them.
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Re: Penny Farthings!

Postby Saro28 » Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:18 pm

Hi LD

you could try asking via Dulwich Hill BC in Sydney (DHBC). Alan Sumner is the man who builds and races Vetran class 70+yo
I was just talking about him today with an older gent. He said when Alan was racing he grew wings, that is, his elbows stuck out as wide as possible :lol:
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Re: Penny Farthings!

Postby ldrcycles » Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:34 pm

singlespeedscott wrote:For your info the penny course is actually run by non other than Brett Richardson of Berretto bikes fame. Apparently Brett is a pretty avid rider and goes down to Tassie to race them.


Yea i found that out from the article ronk linked, i was quite surprised by that. And funnily enough i actually found an old Beretto just last week :) .
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Re: Penny Farthings!

Postby singlespeedscott » Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:35 pm

I love my Berretto. Beautiful bike to ride. Mind you any bike built from Columbus SLX should be nice to ride.
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Re: Penny Farthings!

Postby rob2012 » Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:11 am

lol i just moved from tassie, i remember driving from hobart to launceston once and seeing non-stop penny farthings the whole way.. at least a couple thousand :shock:

didnt read the thread just wanted to chime in with that

p.s. my girlfriend wants one too :D
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Re: Penny Farthings!

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:59 am

ldrcycles wrote:The other benefit i can see from a 36" is being a lot closer to the ground, my balance is not great.


Higher may actually be easier in terms of balance but I'll do some asking.

Paradoxically a tall unicycle (giraffe) is less of an issue for balance than for a regular one. Which is one of the benefits of a giraffe for performers. The reasons are quite well understood, requiring only a high school level of physics. Though easier balance may be compromised by other issues that could still make it more difficult.

Anyway, I'll ask around and post again.
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Re: Penny Farthings!

Postby ldrcycles » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:27 am

I'll be interested to know, i understand a larger wheel being more stable but my balance is only adequate even on a 'safety', things like unicycles (although i've only ever tried on a small one, maybe 20" wheel) or pogo sticks i have never been able to ride. So even if the larger wheels are more stable i'm concerned about the extra drop to the ground.

Something else that's got me curious, is why do some of the high wheelers have the little wheel tucked right in and others have it spaced out a bit? My first thought is that it would be more stable with a longer wheelbase?
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Re: Penny Farthings!

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:52 am

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtcFaMmuuJQ&feature=player_detailpage[/youtube]
perhaps with the sound DOWN
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Re: Penny Farthings!

Postby RonK » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:58 am

ldrcycles wrote:Something else that's got me curious, is why do some of the high wheelers have the little wheel tucked right in and others have it spaced out a bit? My first thought is that it would be more stable with a longer wheelbase?

hehe well naturally the short ones are racers. The long ones are tourers. :lol:

I met Joff Summerfield on his world tour at Southbank in Brisbane and again later at Salamanca Place in Hobart. He'd just been to Evandale for the penny farthing world champs...

From my brief chat with the Brisbane penny riders, I discovered that braking without going over the bars is the bugbear of pennies, especially on downhill sections.
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Re: Penny Farthings!

Postby redrover3 » Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:47 pm

From my brief chat with the Brisbane penny riders, I discovered that braking without going over the bars is the bugbear of pennies, especially on downhill sections.

Exactly what I was thinking when I saw the disc brake on the front of that purple penny.
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Re: Penny Farthings!

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:40 pm

RonK wrote:From my brief chat with the Brisbane penny riders, I discovered that braking without going over the bars is the bugbear of pennies, especially on downhill sections.
met Joff Summerfield on his world tour at Southbank in Brisbane and again later at Salamanca Place in Hobart. He'd just been to Evandale for the penny farthing world champs...

From my brief chat with the Brisbane penny riders, I discovered that braking without going over the bars is the bugbear of pennies, especially on downhill sections.


There are things to make a PF safer but my understanding is that they will always still be considerably more dangerous than a regular bike. And as indicated going over the bars is the normal and significant one.

When you come off a unicycle you are simply left to fall down to the ground. On PF the handlebars will be in the way and so you are launched up and over the bars. The PF is likely also to follow up by crashing onto you. As I undertand it, this is what makes a PF so dangerous.

To address this handlebars evolved with the curly moustache shape so there was a better chance that you at least would not have the PF still attached but you still have to go UP before you can go forward and down to the ground. Another evolution was the Wharton bars which sit behind you. You are still gonna easily be launched forward but more akin to a UPD on a unicycle. (The ridiculously designed Yike Bike has these sorts of bars if you are interested in seeing it in use. Seach on You Tube.) The problem I see however with the Wharton bars is how do you mount the thing?

I have never ridden a PF, so my advice is not born of practical experience. I do see the occasional rider on the path and in the Xmas pageant and ask questions of the riders and read up a little, that' all.

There is a reason why the safety bike was so developed so soon after the introduction of PFs and why PFs fell from favour so quickly.

btw while I will attack going on the straight or going up a rise or hill on q unicycle, I do not do so going down hill. Much like a PF rider.
Last edited by ColinOldnCranky on Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Penny Farthings!

Postby RonK » Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:30 pm

ColinOldnCranky wrote:To address this handlebars evolved with the curly moustache shape so there was a better chance that you at least would not have the PF still attached but you still have to go UP before you can go forward and down to the ground.


Joff Summerfield demonstrates correct descending technique, with legs over the bars ready to plant. Also commonly used for dismounting.

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Re: Penny Farthings!

Postby RonK » Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:17 pm

ColinOldnCranky wrote:...I will attack going on the straight or going up a rise or hill on q unicycle, I do not do so going down hill.


Downhill doesn't seem to bother Kris Holm too much Colin... :lol: :lol: :lol:

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