There is only one penny-farthing, high wheel bike race in the U.S.A. and it takes place in Fredrick, Maryland.
This past weekend I attended the 2016 National Clustered Spires High Wheel Race where participants ride bikes also known as penny-farthings – both antique and modern versions. Just for you, I took video.
Despite the oppressive heat (95+) and humidity, they raced. Some wore period clothing (think wool knickers). Some were there for the fun of it and some were out for gold. Three competitors traveled all the way from England – with their bikes! – to participate.
As you watch, keep in mind that while the modern-made version of the penny-farthings can be purchased with brakes, the originals could not. They also had solid rubber tires for a rather rough ride. And, should you hit a rock or a rut or brake overly hard, chances are good you were going to fly forward over the handlebars in what is known as taking a ‘header’.
As to getting on and off? There was a lot of hopping and jumping. But the riders were all experienced, and I witnessed no disasters.
“Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live.” ~ Mark Twain, after learning to ride the high-wheeled bike.
Bikers lined up and ready to start, the horn blasts and …
And here’s a view of them coming around on lap one!
Though USA TODAY bestselling author Anne Renwick holds a Ph.D. in biology and greatly enjoyed tormenting the overburdened undergraduates who were her students, fiction has always been her first love. Today, she writes steampunk romance, placing a new kind of biotech in the hands of mad scientists, proper young ladies and determined villains.
Anne brings an unusual perspective to steampunk. A number of years spent locked inside the bowels of a biological research facility left her permanently altered. In her steampunk world, the Victorian fascination with all things anatomical led to a number of alarming biotechnological advances. Ones that the enemies of Britain would dearly love to possess.
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