Our friend Neil Laughton has set 3 new Guinness World Records for riding a Penny Farthing without using your hands: 10km - 23 mins, 23 secs; Furthest distance in an hour - 26.0 km and Fastest average speed over 100m - 29.6 kph.
Theses records were acredited by Guinness and he was presented at the track with the awards. The record used a 56" UDC Penny Farthing.
Our new UDC Mk4 Penny Farthings are very nice, but a few of our customers like to add a personal touch to their Penny Farthing.
We've just completed another custom Penny, but this one was a little bit different. This Penny was a little bit of a restoration as well as customization.
Usually our customers contact us wishing to purchase a new Penny Farthing and ask to change colours and components before we send it out. However, this Penny was actually sold a few years ago and has seen a decent amount of mileage. It unfortunately came to us in a bit of a bad way, as at the recent World Cycling Revival event it was involved in a bit of an accident during a polo match!
Penny Farthing Restoration
As you would expect it had the usual bumps and scrapes from being used. It also had a destroyed front wheel from another Penny running over it. We had to rebuild the front wheel with a new UDC 54" rim and spokes. The whole Penny was also treated to a new coat of paint in lovely "Postbox Red" (RAL 3020). While everything was apart we gave everything a good clean and service. Finally we re-wrapped the handle bars which finished it off nicely.
There is also a few different components on this Penny compared to the standard Penny. Besides the colour, the first thing you will probably notice is the cranks are shorter. It has a pair of the Venture2 cranks in 114mm. With the 54" wheel and these shorter cranks it means you can get up to a decent speed. There is also a Brooks saddle in black which fits the "style" of the Penny Farthing perfectly. Finally there is a pair of Shimano M324 SPD Pedals Which are double sided, one side SPD the other a flat pedal, perfect for this Penny.
Customizing your Penny Farthing
If you want to build your perfect Penny Farthing, please give us a call and we can discus this personally with you. We always make sure that you get the best components that work together both technically and visually.
To see a few of the other custom Penny Farthings we have done please have a look at our "Custom Penny Farthings" product.
On the 15th June 2018 a group of UK penny farthing riders attempted to break the 132 year old world record for distance ridden in one hour on a Penny Farthing. The record was set by a young professional cyclists in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1886 called William A Rowe. Their venue was Herne Hill Velodrome at the Cycle Revival Festival. This venue was the one used to set the last record set in the UK, this was set on the year the velodrome opened in 1881.
The attempted had been planned for many months, ever since Mark Beaumont returned from his world record breaking circumnavigation of the world on a cycle in only 78 days. The aim was to get Mark to break the world record with the assistance of some of the best penny farthing riders in the UK. This support team included the currently European and British Champions.
For training, we are lucky that in the UK there are several velodromes built in 1880s. These were built with banking that is ideal for Penny Farthings. Training on a velodrome is essential, it is required to work out tactics and to work as a team. We decided to use Scunthrope Velodrome as our Northern base for our training. Our big problem was the British winter. Our first 2 sessions were cancelled due to snow and the next two it was raining (if you think this is not a problem, try riding a penny farthing at speed on banking in the wet and you realise the problem as the rear wheel starts to drift down the banking).
Training at Herne Hill Velodrome
When we did get the full team together at the Herne Hill for what was meant to be our final training session we did not have our plans fully sorted. We then need to do another tactics session with a combination of bikes and penny farthings. The team then worked on these tactics only the day before the record attempt.
On the day there was lots of media interest in the event with a continual stream of interviews and photographs including the BBC and GCN.
The attempt was made at 1:30pm and the temperature was 25 degrees and there was a breeze down the back straight... not ideal conditions. The majority of the riders had not been able to instigate a hydration system that would work when riding at the speeds needed for the record and decided to ride without hydration for the hour.
The team had organised 2 timers to give indication of world record pace and English record pace by blowing whistles or horn on the pace, this gave the riders and indication of where the record was. There was also a board set up giving an indication of time in front or behind each record.
After setting off it was clear within only a dozen laps that the team were loosing pace on the world record every lap, not by much but by a small margin. The final result was 28 seconds off the world record pace (21 miles, 1,616 yards), it did smash the English record, that was duly updated to the British record as Mark is a Scot.
So the World Record still stands... but there is a team in Australia intending to have attempt at breaking it later this year and I am certain that the UK team wont let it stay like this.
If you want to read more about the history of the record then I would recommend the podiumcafe.com blog where it goes into it in detail.
We have recently released the fourth generation of our Penny Farthings, here is a quick summary of all the changes.
The first big change that is immediately noticeable is that the Mk4 now comes with a rear brake. All Mk4s have the Tektro R539 Long Drop Brake mounted on the rear forks. To make sure the brake is in the perfect position we have made slight adjustments to the frame and fork. On a bike the brake would normally be mounted on the outside of the forks, but on a Penny Farthing you would kick the brake every time you mounted or dismounted. So, to stop this happening we have made it so the brake can be mounted on the inside keeping it nicely out of the way. You will now find that the internal cable routing exit port is located on the right-hand side, just above where the cable attaches to the brake calliper. This keeps the cable nice and tidy, no need for the cable to cross over.
The New Cranks
The next big change is the cranks, Mk4s now come with Nimbus VCX+ ISIS cranks. These cranks are picked from the Unicycle world and are prefect for the Penny Farthings. Firstly, they are a super tough 6061 T-6 aluminium crank which will handle almost anything. These cranks also have three pedals holes at 100/125/150mm. This means you effectively have three pairs of cranks in a single pair. On Unicycles and Penny Farthings you change the gearing by changing the length of the cranks. Longer the cranks the easier it is to climb up that hill, shorter the crank the faster you can go. Now with the VCX+ cranks you can swap your pedals up and down the holes, depending on the riding you’re doing. Just remember to set both sides in the same hole.