I know it's got nothing to do with penny farthings but I've just come back from the British MX GP at Donington. I love motocross and a camping weekend at a GP takes some beating and this time all of the vital ingredients were present. We had sunshine, a British winner, Lager, decent food, more Lager and all in all we had a great time. As well as the current crop of riders there was a masters race which was won by the ledgend, Dave Thorpe. Tommy Searle won the mx2 overall, and one of the motos, and Billy Mac did his bit and led the first mx1 race for a number of laps. Anyway, from what we can remember, we all had a great time, I promise to try to get back to the penny farthing stuff soon!
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
I've just opened a you tube account, at the moment I've only uploaded one video clip for a test to see if it works, so heres a link. The clip is of me riding the penny and filming myself so It's not the best clip out there but I'll do some better ones in the future if it works ok. Anyway, here is the link, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsB4isELibY
Monday, 13 August 2007
I've just been out for a penny ride to Malvern. I chose this route for a number of reasons, the first photo is one of them, I knew of this lane and thought it would make a nice photo. The other photos show my second reason, a quick visit to a gallery called riding high. In the window is an original penny farthing and inside there is loads of cycling memorbilia. The owner seemed really pleased to see me and my bike, to the point that he didn't charge me for my drink! After a few photos and a quick chat I continued on my way home. The profile of the ride itself was my third reason, as I am now only 7 weeks away from my coast to coast penny ride across the pennines I have started to work some hills into my riding. I was able to ride almost all of the uphill sections. I didn't quite manage Church street in Malvern, but this is seriously steep so doing two thirds of it could be viewed as a triumph anyway! The other thing I was going to mention is a link to my flickr photo page, http://www.flickr.com/photos/10804338@N06/ on here you will find other penny farthing pics along with my other photos.
Sunday, 5 August 2007
The distance should have been easy but the combination of the heat, my fancy dress and the penny fathing made the event quite tough. I travelled down early to watch my Dad do the 10k run and then waited around until my event. Dad went well and did a time very close to his target but it was already obvious that the heat was going to be a problem for me in fancy dress. I spent the time between races sheltering from the sun and drinking water, lots of water.
I was pleased to get booked in and get the penny into the transition area, all I had to do now was get going. I managed to meet up with Will, who had agreed to let me enter the event ,said thanks and he gave me a bit of a plug durring the briefing, cheers Will. Looking around the other competitors it was obvious that I was going to have to put in a big effort if I wanted to avoid last place. Everyone, young or old, looked fit and almost everyone had a proper lightweight time trial bike. My bike however was 45lbs of steel, with no gears, a riding position that can only be described as ridiculous and not an ounce of carbon fibre in sight. My only advantage was that with solid tyres I wouldn't need to worry about punctures.
I was glad to get started and the first run leg went really well. I was aiming for about 24mins and ended up doing 23mins. So at this stage I was up on my target time of 1hr 30mins and I was also not too hot.
Next came the bit I was waiting for, the Penny Farthing bike leg. Finding my bike in the sea of low profile carbon fibre machines was easy, I also performed my quickest ever change over as I didn't have to change shoes! Once on the bike the support of the other riders and of the spectators was great, I started the first two laps at a fast pace, fast for a penny farthing that is, that I thought I would be able to maintain for the whole distance. About half way through the third lap I started to overheat and with no water bottles on the penny I had to slow down a bit. On the far side of the circuit it was really hot, the wind was blowing into your face and sitting high up on the penny I found it really hard going.
Each time I passed the start line the crowd gave me a big cheer and Mickey counted my laps, I definitely did the full seven, although we have our doubts that everyone did. Anyway, when I came in for the last run leg I had to stop the penny in the box to dismount. I stopped somewhat quicker than I had planned and performed a penny farthing stunt by lifting the back wheel off the ground, Mat Hoffman (bmx rider) would have been proud! When I started the final run I was fairly sure I was now in last position. I could see a few other competitors in the distance so it was now or never, I was going to give it all I had in an effort to avoid last place. Getting off a bike and then running is not an easy thing to do and getting off the penny and then running was very difficult. The first 200 or so metres were very painfull. My backside had pretty much gone to sleep and each time my feet hit the ground it felt like mike tyson was punching me in the bum cheeks. It got slightly less painfull after a while and as it happened I caught the first person quite quickly, then another couple and then I couldn't see anyone else so I backed off a tiny bit to avoid blowing up.
When I came over the line to finish I was seriously hot, but I had made it and was only 6 minutes off my best target time. The heat must have been worth most of those 6 minutes, it was so hot the glue holding my fake moustache on had melted!
All in all I was really pleased with the day and with my performance. I'd just like to say Thanks to everyone who gave me a cheer, it really does help and thanks to everyone who sponsored me. I now feel ok, my legs aren't even stiff and I am looking forward to getting back to normal time trialing duties tomorrow night .
Wednesday, 1 August 2007
It's only a few days untill the penny farthing makes its duathlon debut. My body seems to have survived the Dunwich ride ok, I've just been for a short run which went ok, in fact my legs felt fine. The only slight problem I noticed was that my neck is still a bit stiff after getting cold and wet when it wanted to be dry and warm.
The riding position of the penny should actually be of some advantage to my stiff neck, the last thing you want to be doing with a stiff neck is crouching over a time trial bike. Talking of comparisions between the two bikes, it's surprising how they are similar in many ways. Areo section forks and deep sections rims are not new inventions. The forks on my 2006 Dolan are pretty much the same design as those on a 1887 Rudge. Ok, they are about 18" shorter, almost as many pounds lighter and made of carbon fibre, but if you look at the profile they are almost a mirror image. I can't imagine the lads in the Rudge factory talking about drag co-efficient and the possibility of saving 10 seconds in a 25mile time trial, but looking at the forks you can almost believe they did! However, the areodynamics of rider positioning were clearly not discussed. It's hard to imagine a less areo position. Even with me on board, a man so thin he has to run around in the shower in order to get wet, a penny with a rider has got to be up there with the least areo vechicles ever.
Anyway, I have decided not to use the penny untill the race on sunday as if anything goes wrong with it I might not have the time to fix it. So untill Sunday that's about all....