The tedium of ironman training must have been getting to Pete and he delved into the big shed – the one where all the interesting bikes are kept, and grabbed an Ordinary. An Ordinary, is a Penny Farthing to most. Ordinary was a word coined to distinguish it from the new-fangled machines with epicyclic gears and equal sized wheels. In fact, there was a brace of ordinaries in the shed, an original from 1878 and a “repro” from 1989 (itself well on the way to becoming veteran). To counter a bad back, Pete took the repro for a spin and returned 41/2 hrs later with a sore bum but no back pain. Looks like the way ahead for the next couple of months, but no good for competition, the Brompton wounds inflicted last year by Alison were still smarting. There was however, the perfect event coming up that weekend and Pete entered with alacrity. This was the second edition of the “Penny Farthing”race. It occurred shortly after the Brompton race, but Pete declined this one – it involved wearing a shirt & tie….and racing a Brompton.
Pete’s race was preceded by a parade of interesting bikes from bygone times. Two laps of the 1km Crit circuit then the pennies were off. In spite of both Jon and Paul explaining the rules, Pete still didn’t quite get it. 20m minutes plus 3 laps – yes, still don’t get it. We just seemed to go round and round. Pete was riding the only original Penny in the field, everyone else using very new and light, stiff machines, with tyres that actually looked like you could corner properly. No such luxury for Pete as he approached the first dead turn. The road was way too narrow and the trouser guard kept getting in the way. Half way round, Pete did an emergency dismount and very nearly caused an hilarious and no doubt very expensive and painful pile up behind. Fortunately, modern pennies are more agile and the rest of the field avoided disaster.
With a dodgy spoke and a very weak driving wheel, Pete took it easy and treated it as a parade, until the latter stages, he began to realise that many of the field were slowing down, people were tiring and Pete was gaining on them! Well, Pete had a Frenchman with green socks in his sights and the red mist descended. It took four laps but eventually, he was overhauled. Pete also pulled away from another rider and felt smug until he realised that the the other guy was just not taking things seriously and completed the last few laps whilst drinking beer from a pint mug.
At the time of writing, the results are not yet available. However, even when they are, who knows what 20 minutes plus three actually means?
Pete the Bike