Eclectic, quirky, and sometimes edgy…this is how things look from my front porch.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Penny Farthing

Part of my adventure in Olde Towne was getting the tire fixed on my bike.  This is the owner of the shop.  He built this old-fashioned looking bike which is known as a "penny farthing."  Here's why.  Back in England,where these bikes first became popular in the late 1800's, the penny and the farthing were two common coins like this:
The term penny farthing referred to the very large front wheel and the tiny back wheel.  The British Royal family loved to ride these bicycles.  They frequently emptied out the ballrooms at Sandringham and Buckingham Palaces to ride around and around in the winter.  Here's a pic of the family of King Edward VII when he was still Prince of Wales.  HIs mother was Queen Victoria.  The Edwardian Era, in which these bicycles figured prominently, is named after this future King.
Back to humble Portsmouth, the one in Virginia not in England, I got a demonstration of how to ride these bikes.   Please note our historic, one screen movie theater, the Commodore. You can order dinner to eat while you see a movie here.
The penny farthing is way back, but this gives a nice view of High Street and our bricked sidewalks.
Here's another absolutely stunning restored vintage bike inside:


Jenene Kitchen said...

ingstiI really like the pictures. Moreover, I enjoyed learning about the origin of the Penny Farthing. otherwise, I would not have ever had a clue.

W. Latane Barton said...

Looks like I am going to have to pay Portsmouth another visit. Used to go there when my daughter lived there, haven't been since she moved.