New York Daily Photo Analytics

Monday, August 21, 2006

Penny Farthing

It's always a rare pleasure to see one of these beautiful, elegant cycles. Penny Farthing is the British term for this early style of bicycle - the term derives from two coins of the time: the penny (large) and farthing (small). This bicycle has also gone by the names the Ordinary and High Wheeler. There was no gearing on these bikes - the pedals were attached directly to the axle, essentially making this like a large unicycle. To get greater speeds, the wheel size was made quite large. This design was quite treacherous - the rider sat high (and over the center hub) and any sudden stops sent him/her flying. Mounting was quite tricky - to see Gary Anderson (in the photo) demonstrate mounting and riding - click here for my short video. These High Wheelers had a short history - the invention of the safety bicycle with its gear driven, chain drive (and smaller wheels of the same size) made the High Wheeler obsolete in a short time. Riders, builders and organizations of these enthusiasts (such as The Wheelmen) still live on, but the diamond frame design of the safety bicycle remains the standard today ....

4 comments:

olivier said...

SUPERBE et la video est sympathique. ca doit etre quand meme assez casse gueule ;o)) merci pour le site 'the wheelmen'.
ca a ete tourné au Washington Square ?

Kate said...

This is a great "story foto!"

John said...

Great shot with plenty of character.. well done.

• Eliane • said...

Class act! Love the moustaches, a requirement for this type of bicycle I think.