The Ultimate Fixie Coast (SLYT)
February 6, 2011 2:38 AM   Subscribe

Guy sitting on the handlebars of a Pennyfarthing, coasting down a hill.
posted by Mr_Zero (73 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is that a fixie?
posted by tomphillips at 2:52 AM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


On his way to barber shop quartet practice, no doubt.
posted by gc at 3:02 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pith helmet and shorts? What type of country does he expect to colonize dressed like that.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:06 AM on February 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Is that Raoul Duke?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:12 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


How do you brake those things?
posted by Skygazer at 3:29 AM on February 6, 2011


Well, that did exactly what it says on the tin.
posted by Decani at 3:46 AM on February 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


I have always wanted to ride an oldschool penny farthing through the city. I mean, I suspect that if I ever actually tried to do it, I would die - either from falling off, or from not being able to see the traffic below me - but they just have this timeless style to them. I sometimes daydream about that commute to work for hours at a time.

This, however, is batcrap crazy. Still, want.
posted by jaymzjulian at 3:52 AM on February 6, 2011


How do you brake those things?

If you look closely at the start of the video you will see that he has caliper brakes on the back wheel. My guess is that all rear loaded pack weight must help otherwise the wheel would have no stopping power.
posted by srboisvert at 4:09 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Beware of angry weather balloons.
posted by sonascope at 4:37 AM on February 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


Stupid old-timey bicycles.
posted by cropshy at 4:42 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was hoping a convenient haunted photo would send him backwards in time to his doom.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:48 AM on February 6, 2011


Keep your eyes on the road! Stop looking at the camera!!
posted by thinkpiece at 4:59 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I so wanted to see an unprotected hipster face plant.
posted by lobstah at 5:26 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


WHHhhhhhheeeeeeeeeeee!!!
posted by jonesor at 5:50 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just look at that fucking hipster, man!
posted by palbo at 5:50 AM on February 6, 2011


The bicyclist (pennyfarthingist?) is Joff Summerfield and the ride was part of a world tour he made on the bike.
posted by plastic_animals at 5:51 AM on February 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


Since we're talking about penny-farthings. This.
posted by Fizz at 5:53 AM on February 6, 2011


Pith helmet and shorts? What type of country does he expect to colonize dressed like that.

Approx a quarter of the world, I should imagine.

I want to know how he stopped.
posted by ciderwoman at 5:59 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Penny-farthing is the next Big Thing.
posted by fixedgear at 6:02 AM on February 6, 2011


Are you serious, fixedgear? You might be right: I saw one just two hours ago, the first time in at least three decades. Are they breeding or what?

(there used to be an old man where I grew up who fetched his once a year for the harvest festivities. Kinda courageous: others got too drunk to even walk on these parties)
posted by Namlit at 6:16 AM on February 6, 2011


Watching the video, I was confronted with the dreadful fear that this guy might die in some spectacularly unfortunate encounter with a rock.

Reading the timeline in the blog that plastic_animals links to, I realize it's more likely he'll die from complications from knee surgery.
posted by drlith at 6:33 AM on February 6, 2011


I want to know how he stopped
A bit like this perhaps.
posted by Namlit at 6:43 AM on February 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


He's not going that fast
posted by fire&wings at 6:44 AM on February 6, 2011


He's going fast enough to mess himself up real good, especially perched up high like that. And wearing a pith helmet for protection? Good luck and God speed, pal.
posted by mojohand at 6:55 AM on February 6, 2011


I wish the vid had started earlier so I could see how he got his legs in front like that with all that gear everywhere
posted by Redhush at 7:04 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


But…but can he clear a gap?
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:09 AM on February 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


The chap in the video is Joff Summerfield who builds and sells penny-farthings and rode one around the world.
posted by normy at 7:12 AM on February 6, 2011


He appears to be in a great hurry to catch an airship
posted by milkfish at 7:29 AM on February 6, 2011 [13 favorites]


Homer: OK, look: I've done some bad things in my life, but harassing
women is not one of them. [softly] Like one time, we were having
this race with the stupid old tiny bicycle with the big wheel in
front, so I figure, "We'll see about that!" So I get this big
chunk of cinderblock, and --
posted by 445supermag at 7:43 AM on February 6, 2011


My bicycle masters boardwalk and quagmire with aplomb.
posted by organic at 8:23 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is the safest way to go down a hill on a Pennyfarthing, as when you have the accident you go feet rather than face first onto the tarmac.

Absolutely true. In one of the many odd sidebars of my career, I worked as a member of a demonstration team that showed 19th-century skills to museum visitors. One of the skills was riding this type of bike and also the large tricycles that were popular (couple pics here). Despite the fact that the rest of our day's work consisted of things like climbing 60 feet aloft to handle square-rig sail, hauling thousand-pound boats in and out of the water using block and tackle systems, raising and lowering anchors, and the like, the bicycle was actually the single most dangerous thing on our roster. It takes a long time to learn to ride, and you really are perched up there, far away from the ground. The front wheel doesn't turn with the handlebars like a normal bike; it's fixed -- so all your lifetime bike-riding instincts are useless, since when you're about to fall on a normal bike your reflex is to correct the balance by moving the front wheel. When you start to fall on a pennyfarthing, you come down on your side like the felling of a great Sequoia, and there's no way to protect yourself. The commonest result of such a fall was an arm injury - either a broken (or bruised or sprained) arm, or messing up your hand because it was the only body part that could move in such a way as to break a sideways fall. So having your feet out front like this, in anticipation of a frontways fall as you might experience going downhill, makes total sense. It would also be a lot easier to just leap clear of the wreckage.
posted by Miko at 8:39 AM on February 6, 2011 [33 favorites]


My guess is that all rear loaded pack weight must help otherwise the wheel would have no stopping power.

There's a front brake too.
posted by domnit at 8:42 AM on February 6, 2011


Joff's journals and a bit of bio can also be found at crazyguyonabike. This is the one for the world tour--it's worth a read.
posted by BlooPen at 8:44 AM on February 6, 2011


It's not very polite to be early to a box social.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:45 AM on February 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


He's going fast enough to mess himself up real good, especially perched up high like that.

"This is the safest way to go down a hill on a Pennyfarthing, as when you have the accident you go feet rather than face first onto the tarmac."
posted by mightygodking at 8:47 AM on February 6, 2011


Anticlimax.
posted by Beardman at 8:54 AM on February 6, 2011


Nice! And Miko's comment is great. I've never read one of these, but have always wanted to.
posted by OmieWise at 8:56 AM on February 6, 2011


Heck, I've read many of her comments.
posted by found missing at 8:59 AM on February 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm stealing "Pennyfarthing Anticlimax" for the name of the villain in my next English drawing-room murder mystery.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 9:02 AM on February 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Reminds me of this t-shirt.
posted by Killick at 9:05 AM on February 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


Approx a quarter of the world, I should imagine.

I want to know how he stopped.


Well, once he went through the Great Depression and two World Wars, it wasn't economically viable for him to maintain the far-flung empire in the face of independence movements.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:10 AM on February 6, 2011 [16 favorites]


Pff, Edison was doing this before it went commercial. Wannabe hipsters!
posted by Harry at 9:14 AM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


My theory is that penny farthings were popular in their time because they elevated the rider to the level of horseback riders.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 9:16 AM on February 6, 2011


Multi Exo, it's really just a matter of mechanical advantage. To see what I mean, try going for a 10-mile ride with your mountain bike in its 28x28 (or other 1:1) gear combo. With the pedals directly attached to the wheel, you couldn't go very fast unless the wheel was pretty big.

Cyclists of the era were acutely aware of the dangers associated with the penny farthing design, which is why the chain-driven bike was known as the "safety bicycle" when it was introduced. It's also why the penny farthing design was dropped like a bad habit from that point forward.
posted by richyoung at 9:32 AM on February 6, 2011


One does rather want to see him come a cropper, what.
posted by Flashman at 9:34 AM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Reminds me of this t-shirt.

I print those. Glenn is a great guy with a an obviously great sense of humor.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:42 AM on February 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is the safest way to go down a hill on a Pennyfarthing, as when you have the accident you go feet rather than face first onto the tarmac.
posted by 2N2222 at 10:07 AM on February 6, 2011


"This is the safest way to go down a hill on a Pennyfarthing, as when you have the accident you go feet rather than face first onto the tarmac.
Joff"


Not, "If you have an accident."
posted by Chuffy at 10:30 AM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Someone forgot the "organ donor" tag.
posted by jefficator at 10:42 AM on February 6, 2011


Ouch, fucking ouch!

Pennyfarthing? I'd rather be cock punched.
posted by Skygazer at 10:48 AM on February 6, 2011


Touring bikes are the new sweet fixies.
posted by bradbane at 10:49 AM on February 6, 2011


By complete coincidence, the video started at the same time as this song on my playlist. Here's what I saw and heard.
posted by belarius at 10:53 AM on February 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


"This is the safest way to go down a hill on a Pennyfarthing, as when you have the accident you go feet rather than face first onto the tarmac.
Joff"

Not, "If you have an accident."


Well, of course he's going to have and accident. He's riding on the wrong side of the road.

What, US centric, who, me?
posted by SLC Mom at 10:56 AM on February 6, 2011


I never knew pennyfarthings made as much noise as a freight train.
posted by dhartung at 11:46 AM on February 6, 2011



Stupid old-timey bicycles


i was trying to find the clip of Homer Simpson getting kicked n the face by a guy on one of those bikes after he insulted those bikes on the his public access tv show... can't find it, but just pretend I did and linked it.
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:00 PM on February 6, 2011


You find yourself at the top of a hill. You can:

A. Ride down it on a pennyfarthing.
B. Invade Burma.
posted by jimmythefish at 12:18 PM on February 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Here's what I love about MetaFilter: we are talking about the most obscure topic imaginable (coasting downhill on a pennyfarthing bicycle) and someone who is actually knowledgeable on the topic (Hey, Miko! ~waves~) comments. I feel smarter just being here.
posted by SPrintF at 1:05 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is that the infamous Mac store pennyfarthing?
posted by Ad hominem at 1:37 PM on February 6, 2011


Penny farting. There. Pennyfarting.
posted by Evernix at 1:41 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Beware of angry weather balloons.

Be seeing you!
posted by charred husk at 1:50 PM on February 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Evandale, Tasmania has the World Championship Penny Farthing race every year. This year, it's on Feb 19th.

Several of the people who've ridden (including Huw Morgan, the 2008 and 2009 World Champ) in the races have blogged their race experiences at crazyguyonabike.
posted by jaimystery at 1:51 PM on February 6, 2011


oops - sorry Evandale hosts the National Championship and occasionally the Worlds.
posted by jaimystery at 1:55 PM on February 6, 2011


You find yourself at the top of a hill. You can:

A. Ride down it on a pennyfarthing.
B. Invade Burma.


The penny farthing lies on its back in the hot sun, unable to move, but you don't help. Why is that, Jimmy?
posted by arto at 2:57 PM on February 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't know exactly what you'd call this - a pennyfarthing cyclorail?
posted by unliteral at 3:13 PM on February 6, 2011


I think this clip was originally on Jackass. If I recall correctly, he eventually flips over the handle bars, rolls down the rest of the hill, and gets suckerpunched in the ball sack by a midget.
posted by dgaicun at 3:14 PM on February 6, 2011


Now THAT guy can pull off a cape!
posted by missmary6 at 3:16 PM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I know that hill. You can coast a Civic at about 85 down that hill. The problem is, about halfway down there's a dip from road damage. In a Civic, the dip compresses your suspension then sends you very nearly airborne and yawing.

That's where the "when not if" comes from.
posted by notsnot at 3:39 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok there are dozens of videos of guys doing this, I think that with the pedals whizzing around like that this might be the only practical way to coast.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:43 PM on February 6, 2011


...a demonstration team that showed 19th-century skills to museum visitors. One of the skills was riding this type of bike and also the large tricycles that were popular (couple pics here). Despite the fact that the rest of our day's work consisted of things like climbing 60 feet aloft to handle square-rig sail, hauling thousand-pound boats in and out of the water using block and tackle systems, raising and lowering anchors...

THIS JOB. HOW DO I GET IT.
posted by DU at 4:34 AM on February 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


I can't believe how persistent that guy was. After as much trouble as he had with his knees, to pull off a trip around the world on a bicycle is really, really something.
posted by facetious at 4:45 AM on February 7, 2011


DU - as long as you are willing to do it for $8 an hour, I can hook you up. Even for just a summer job. There are several teachers who do it as summer work. MeMail if you're serious!
posted by Miko at 7:12 AM on February 7, 2011


Darn, I can't feed kids on $8/hr. Unless that's in 19th century dollars....
posted by DU at 7:15 AM on February 7, 2011


If it were in 19th century dollars, I might still be at that job!

It was a great experience. Good for students, teachers, young people.
posted by Miko at 7:18 AM on February 7, 2011


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