Saturday, February 4, 2012

just for kicks - the penny farthing original bike

Your delightful bicycle, with its different sized wheels, is called an “ordinary” or more commonly a “penny farthing.” This name is a reference to the large penny and the small quarter-penny (farthing) coins used in England in the past.

A Frenchman, Eugene Meyer, is credited with inventing the “high bicycle” around 1870. He based his bicycle design on the theory, the larger the front wheel, the farther one could go with each pump of the pedals. In the 1880s, an Englishman improved on Meyer’s contraption and Victorian England went crazy over penny farthings. There were competitions involving hundreds of bicycles and a plethora of newspaper reportage and cartoons featuring people pulling “headers” (going over the handlebars) or falling backwards when riding uphill. After the invention of the “safety” bicycle that had two identical wheels, the old-fashioned PF was referred to as the “ordinary.”


D - hmm, the pedal-thru-front-wheel mid-steer concept is a descendant of this.

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