I spent last week following the tour of Britain bike race, a friend and I hired a van and took bikes to follow the race. I rode my penny farthing as training for the Lejog ride. The first day we rode the last 20 miles of the stage and then 20 miles back to the van. The roads were quite hilly and proved a good test of both my climbing and descending skills! Other race fans waiting to watch the tour seemed to enjoy seeing the penny farthing in action and gave me some good encouragement.
The second stage I went to watch was the 3 rd stage off the race and was a mountain top finish on a climb called the tumble. It's about 5km long at an average gradient of 10% so it was pretty tough going on the penny farthing! Coming down the hill was also fairly difficult as it's hard to control the speed of the bike on downhills. My bike only has a front brake that is just a spoon that pushes down onto the tyre. All it really does is get hot and wreck the tyre rather than slow you down!
The next day the race started in my home city of Worcester so I went down to watch the start, I even got a mention from the announcer for being the current british penny farthing champion!
Worcester was great but then the race moved on to Devon, I went to watch on dartmoor. The riding was again pretty hard but good training for the lejog ride.
The weeks riding was great practice and also enabled me to test out my newly built rear wheel. I have built it up on a small dynamo hub that is conected to a USB converter. I used this to charge my phone while riding. It worked really well and enabled me to record my rides to strava without draining my battery.