|Two men ride penny-farthings in Los Angeles, California, 1886. Photo credit: Wikipedia|
But the bizarre and unfortunate aspect of the penny-farthing is the rider sits over the front axle at an ungainly height. When the front wheel hits a rock or rut (remember, roads were not paved) it was common to be vaulted forward. Riders died from these "headers". What's also odd is in lieu of this extreme hazard, the bicycle quickly gained an audience; clubs were formed, races held. High-wheelers were even ridden around the world.
To counteract the high-wheeler's peril, riders coasted down hills with their feet over the handlebars, ready to leap should an obstruction pose a problem. Can you imagine doing that on every pleasure ride?
|Students of Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, |
riding a penny-farthing and a quadruplet bicycle during the Chalmers Cortège of 2006.
Photo credit: Wikipedia
Have you ever ridden a penny-farthing? If so, what was it like?