An old school biker

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Pat Berzai poses with his high wheeler bike

Story and photos by Wayne Pridemore


Wednesday as I came to the front of our house an unexpected sight passed up the street. A man riding a Victorian era high wheel bicycle. Kids were chasing him on their scooters and yelling with loud delight. 

The first step to mounting the bike - one foot on the pedal
 
On his third pass by I asked if I could take photos and he dismounted with casual skill. 

The man turned out to be Pat Berzai, a neighbor from the next block. His bicycle was a brand new 52 inch high-wheeler Penny-Farthing which he had just purchased. 

Next get the second foot on the other pedal

His modern version bicycle is made with lightweight modern materials and has hand brakes. The old original bicycles didn't have brakes.

Get on to the seat and you are ready to roll

The Penny-Farthing, also known as a high wheel, high-wheeler, and "ordinary," was the first machine to be called a bicycle. It was popular in the 1870s and 1880s, with the large front wheel providing high speeds.



This was because the wheel traveled a large distance for every rotation of the rider's legs. The name came from the British penny and farthing coins, the former being much larger than the latter. In the late 1890s the name "ordinary" began to be used to distinguish them from the emerging safety bicycles.



1 comments:

LobbyLou August 14, 2020 at 7:53 PM  

Congratulations on mastering the art of riding a penny-farthing! According to family stories, my great-grandfather, who lived in Leicester, England, rode one of the original kind around the city until well into his 80s. Alas, YOU have to share the roads with motorized vehicles, but long may you also enjoy high and mighty bike riding.

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