The penny-farthing was the bicycle of choice from 1870 until the late 1880’s. Although the trend was short-lived, the penny-farthing became a symbol of the late Victorian era and its popularity also coincided with the birth of cycling as a sport.
During its prominence, the well known dangers of the penny-farthing were outweighed by its strengths. While it was a difficult and dangerous machine to ride, it was simpler, lighter, and faster than the safer velocopeds of the time. Additionally the large wheel rode over bumps in the road more smoothly than smaller wheeled vehicles. Following the penny-farthing was the safety bicycle. Unlike penny-farthings, the rider’s feet were within reach of the ground, making it easier to stop. The pedals powered the rear wheel, keeping the rider’s feet safely away from the front wheel.
It seems that the penny-farthing is as popular as ever with people still using them around the world to commute and just have fun. There are even organised races that you can attend. Wow, I really would not want to fall from that height. Respect to the guys who race these bikes. Happy riding this weekend.
Check out that lean!