Penny-farthing fun for pupils

Children found out just how high a penny-farthing is when they tried out the early bicycle as part of their On the Move project.

Friday, 12th January 2018, 4:08 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 3:04 am
Neil Laughton, secretary of the Penny Farthing Club

Normally, you have to be more than 1.6m (5ft 2in) tall to even think of riding a penny-farthing, so it was quite an experience for the year-one pupils at Upper Beeding Primary School.

Adventurer Neil Laughton, who is secretary of the Penny Farthing Club, rode the late 19th century bicycle to the school, dressed in clothes from the period.

Debbie Gilpin, key stage one leader, said: “He told the children about the history of the penny-farthing and then demonstrated how to ride it, riding it around the school hall.

Children then had the opportunity to sit on the penny-farthing and experience how high it is

“Children then had the opportunity to sit on the penny-farthing and experience how high it is.”

The first all-metal velocipedes were developed during the 1870s. The pedals were attached to the front wheel, which became larger as makers realised its size increased the speed and distance of travel with one rotation of the pedals. The long spokes and solid rubber tyres gave a smoother ride than the earlier boneshaker.

This type of velocipede was the first to be called a bicycle, meaning two wheels, and its shape led to the nickname penny-farthing in the UK.

• Benefit from an ongoing discount on your Herald or County Times by joining our voucher membership scheme. Once you’ve subscribed we’ll send you dated vouchers which can be exchanged for your paper at any news outlet. To save money on your Herald simply click here.

Year-one pupils watch Neil riding around the hall at Upper Beeding Primary School