The High Wheeler or Penny Farthing


        The high-wheeler was like the boneshaker except that they had made the front wheels very big and the back ones very small.  The reason for this was that they were trying to make it so that the bike was more balanced.  The front wheel in some models ere over 5 feet high!  It came out in 1870.  It could reach speeds of 20 mph but such high speeds also brought danger.  The front wheel went very smoothly over bumps and dips in the road but a large stone could bring up the back wheel and the rider could find him or herself flying head over heels over the handle bars onto the ground.  Seeing as you were so high up, it would be a very scary fall!  This kind of accident was called “coming a cropper” and stopped a lot of people from cycling.  Just above the back wheel was a small step that the rider used to step up on so that they could reach the seat.  It was a lot better to get started up against a wall where you could hold yourself up and balance yourself.  Once started if the bike began to tip to one side then the wheel could be turned to the side of the fall to stop it.  On the road if the rider had built up enough speed then they could coast and put up their feet on the footrest.  To get off of this bike the rider would throw his legs down over the handlebars and jump down.  The high-wheeler was also nicknamed the penny-farthing because the big and little wheels reminded people of 2 coins, the penny and the farthing.


            Penny                                   Farthing