Top Ten Victorian Cycling Facts & Tips

  • Blog
time 1 min read
Penny farthing

With ‘Tour de Yorkshire’ fever mounting, we have some handy Victorian tips for riding a Penny Farthing. Have a read then visit the Workhouse Museum to try riding one – it’s not as easy as you may think!

  1. The Penny Farthing was the first machine to be called a bicycle. Its name came from its large front wheel and smaller back wheel, which resembled the largest and smallest coins of the time.
  2. The Penny Farthing bicycle was designed by British Victorian inventor, James Starley.
  3. The larger the front wheel, the further you could travel on one rotation of the pedals.
  4. Popular in the late 19th century, the Penny Farthing was usually only purchased by wealthy men.
  5. Victorian ladies loved to ride Penny Farthing Bicycles, even in a dress!
  6. A Victorian Penny Farthing tyre has NO air inside – it’s solid rubber! The one gain is that the bicycle is completely puncture free.
  7. When coasting downhill, riders had to take their feet off the pedals and put them over the handlebars.
  8. The National Penny Farthing Championship races are held every year in Tasmania, Australia.
  9. When riding a Victorian Penny Farthing, one should always look ahead and enjoy the ride. Iconic Penny Farthings had little, if NO braking system.
  10. In 2006, Joff Summerfield spent over two years riding around the world on a Penny Farthing.
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