Thursday, November 01, 2012

Penny. Farthing.

     It was inevitable.

     Took delivery early this week and put it together that night: a QU-AX Penny Farthing bicycle with a 36" front wheel.  Tried it out just "scooting," with one foot on the step, and did okay; even rode it a few feet before returning to the scooting exercise: because you have to be able to do that to mount it!

     With one thing and another, I'd had to leave it sit until tonight.  I took it out to the street under the light, intending to merely practice scooting but after a couple of tries, it really seemed that I could....yes!  Onto the seat and down the block, a very smooth ride, fair speed, around a corner and bit of effort up a small rise, another corner, cars went past (big SUV, one of them, and me more than eye-to-eye with the passengers), very nice, around another corner and hey, what side was the step on?

     Couldn't see it.  Couldn't find it with either foot, and the next corner was coming up--

     Got around it okay and went all the way to the end of my block and turned around before I was convinced I had my foot on the step.  Dismount went fine.

     The (nominal) brake needs adjustment (as in, it doesn't make contact with the rear wheel at all) and, a first for me, the seat and handlebar are a little high.  But it rides remarkably well and I hope to have more chances to practice before the weather gets too cold.  It is very different to safety bikes or even my mini-hiwheel in that unless you're very, very good, there's no static balancing: when you come to a stop, you're stepping off, simple as that.  Also, I think I want knee and elbow pads before trying any longer rides.  As it was, I did the whole gloves & helmet routine.  It's a long way down.


New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Oh. My. GAWD! Cool.

Turk Turon said...

Very cool!

Roberta X said...

:) ::Blush::

Alan said...

Yeah, very cool. I kinda want to try it now.

Drang said...

Woo-hoo! Yay, you!

Be careful, as you know, those things can be tricky! (High school buddy had a bike shop with a Pennyfarthing in the window mostly as a prop, it worked, but few had the nerve to try for more than once around the block...)

MSgt B said...

Pics, or it didn't happen!

Roberta X said...

B: It was dark and there wasn't anyone around. Maybe later.

Anonymous said...

Getting on looks hard enough; how do you get off??? It almost seems like you'd need a berth.

Do you find the big wheel hard to get started? How does it steer?

Finally, are you the new Number Two?

Roberta X said...

Ichiban, baby!

Stepping off is the reverse of getting on; in an emergency, you slide off backwards while holding on to the handlebars.

See, there's a tiny step above the rear wheel; you straddle the rear wheel and grab the handlebars while scooting along with one foot on the step until the bike is moving quickly enough to balance, then step up onto the pedal with the opposite foot while sliding into the seat. It's not especially intuitive at first but it works.

To get back off, find the step while slowing, maintaining motion with the other foot if needed, then follow the pedal to bottom dead center and step off while holding onto the handlebars.

Emergency dismounts are even less intuitive; The Wheelmen recommend doing at least 20 before riding any distance, so your muscles will know what to do without much thinking.

Please note all the "hold onto the handlebars" in the foregoing. Control is a much bigger issue than on a safety bike.

Roberta X said...

Steers best by leaning, like a motorcycle. On any bike, turning the wheel is really only for low-speed maneuvering.

Angus McThag said...

Looking at their dealers list:

United States

10581 Boulevard Louis-H. Lafontaine
Anjou, Quebec
H1Z 4G1

Did we annex them or did they annex us?

Anonymous said...

I don't know, but I have talked to them and they are nice and helpful. And that accent!

RX, remotely