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Penny-farthing on the trail
CREATED: 06/17/10 by PotomacTriathlete2009 REPLIES: 2
PotomacTriathlete2009's ravatar PotomacTriathlete2009    JOINED: 9/19/09    POSTS: 518
Penny-farthing on the trail
POSTED: 6/17/10 6:17 PM

I saw some guy riding a penny-farthing on the Mt. Vernon Trail today. If you're not familiar with them, they are the 19th-century-type bikes with the enormous front wheel and tiny back wheel. The cyclist sits up high above the front wheel with the seat about 5 feet off the ground. Needless to say, they look very unstable. There's a reason why modern bikes have smaller wheels and a much lower design. (The modern low two-wheel bikes were originally called safety bicycles because they were much safer than the penny-farthings.)

This is the first time I've ever seen anyone riding a penny-farthing. I don't think I would ever get on one, let alone ride it on a trail with all of the turns and rolling inclines and declines.

In the past, I've only seen one person on a unicycle (at Hains Point) and a couple of young women (appeared to be college age) riding those double bikes, with one bike frame welded on top of another bike frame so that the bike had two standard wheels but the seat was about twice as high as with a regular modern bike. (Not a tandem bike.) The pedals are located about where a regular seat would be. They were riding it up the hills downtown (14th or 15th St. NW). You sit up so high on those bikes that there is literally no way to get off safely. You have to find a tall truck or tree to lean up against to stop at a light or to get down. If there's a red light and no tall trucks parked on the road, you are out of luck. At that point, you either run the red light or tip over and fall from a height of about 8 or 9 feet.

merlinkim's ravatar merlinkim    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 295
RE: Penny-farthing on the trail
POSTED: 6/17/10 6:21 PM

That dude rode the Crystal Ride on Sunday. I have no idea how he managed the on-ramps and the short pitch up to the Air Force Memorial.

Saw someone else riding a 29-er unicycle down 7th Street by Jaleo downtown yesterday. Not what I would want to use during rush hour, but at least he could see over the cars.

vatriathlete    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 682
RE: Penny-farthing on the trail
POSTED: 6/17/10 6:58 PM

sounds like you need mad bike handling skills and be able to trackstand in your sleep to ride those things.

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