A penny farthing

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A elderly gent riding his penny farthing at the London New Years Day Parade 2008.

 

The ordinary, high wheel or penny-farthing was the first true bicycle with which actual speed and distance could be achieved in a practical manner. Given the absence of a stablising steering system, larger and larger wheels were built with the intention of increasing stability at speed.

 

The classically oversized penny-farthing wheel, which measured 1.5m (60") in diameter resulted in such large gyrscopic force that it was stable without a castor steering system. The name refers to the British penny and farthing coins of the time; the former being much larger than the latter so that the side view of the bicycle resembled two such coins placed next to one another.

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Taken on January 1, 2008