We stumbled across an outfit that layers 1/8″ laser-cut and engraved wood over a detailed printed background to create subtle but effective three-dimensional effect and couldn’t resist offering giving away this decorative Penny Farthing bike. To be in with a chance of wining the A4-sized print, which does not include the frame, please leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
The Penny Farthing is over 140 years old, but the enduring fascination with the high wheeler bicycle has led to it being re-built using cutting-edge, contemporary materials. The development of the original Penny Farthing, or ‘ordinary’ bicycle, prompted innovations such as ball bearings, rubber tyres and hollow-section steel frames; features that remain in use today.
The contemporary version by BASF uses the company’s own high-performance plastics, foams, epoxy resins and polyurethane materials to reduce weight and enhance performance. An electric motor has also been added for good measure.
Penny Farthings: the highs and the lows
The rider of a Penny Farthing always enjoyed an elevated view over hedgerows and traffic, but the bike’s high centre of gravity could result in it pitching forward if the large front wheel hit a rut or pothole. On the plus side, the machines require very little maintenance. When Thomas Stevens rode a penny farthing 12,500 miles around the world in the 1880s, he reported not one significant mechanical problem.
Today’s extraordinary penny farthings
It’s big, difficult to manoeuvre and, at £500 for a tyre change, expensive to maintain, but what is good for the urban SUV driver must be good for the cyclist wanting to make an impression in the city. Behold the cycling equivalent of the 4×4:
The ethical choice
The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. Thirty years on, we continue to offer cycle insurance, breakdown cover and home insurance while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.