Site Admin’s Penny-Farthing Cycling Experience:
I- Terrence Houlahan– have thousands of miles experience cycling a Penny-Farthing on extremely busy UK urban roads-including Central London & Cambridge- at night and in all weather conditions. But independent evidence of my cycling competence can be found in my race results:
- 3rd Place, 2022 British Open Penny-Farthing Championships Race (Cyclopark, Kent). Racing involves sharing a track with other Penny-Farthings cyclists pedalling furiously and passing each other. A collision at these speeds- between 15-20 MPH- on a 5 foot high PF could result in serious injury or death. So racing Penny-Farthings at very high speeds on a track with other cyclists requires a certain minimum baseline of competence.
- 3rd Place, 2022 British Open Penny-Farthing Championships Slalom (Cyclopark, Kent). This involves navigating obstacles- cones- at high speed. I’d say this fairly evidences technical skill navigating hazards at high speeds. Strike a cone and you’re going over the handle bars…
- 3rd Place, 2022 Penny-Farthing Hill Climb World Championships. This involves cycling a Penny Farthing up a continuously sloping (3) mile route starting on the Eastbourne Seafront to the top of Beachy Head. One part of the course has a 12% gradient- and it appears at the 2/3 point. Cyclists with standard GEARED bicycles can be seen walking them up Upper Dukes Drive. One cannot be an average cyclist and complete this epic race.
- 3rd Place, 2022 Pickwick Penny-Farthing Race (Hillingdon Cycle Circuit, W. London). This race is 12 laps on twisty track with a long, fast straight competing with a crowded field of about 20 Penny-Farthing cyclists. It’s a fast race- the top 3 places exceed 18 MPH- where competitors have to communicate numerous lane changes to their fellow racers. Participation is by invitation and limited to experienced Penny-Farthing cyclists.
My first Penny-Farthing was a “QU-AX” with a 36″ pressurized tire. Although smaller than a proper Penny-Farthing, the mechanics of mounting, dismounting and cycling were (roughly) the same as a full-size Penny-Farthing. So I learned the fundamentals on a smaller 36″ PF before graduating to a full-sized 50″ model that I cycle exclusively now.
And I’ve also been mowed-down by an SUV that didn’t see me despite wearing a Pro-Viz jacket with flashing rear and front lights and even a flashing light on my helmet. Hence the big emphasis on road cycling safety here….
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