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History’s wheels worth a pretty penny

Penny-farthing bicycle meet at Einbunpin Lagoon Park, Sandgate. Photo: Robert Shakespeare Penny-farthing enthusiasts show how it’s done. Photo: Robert Shakespeare

Believe it or not, you can ride a penny farthing bicycle to work.

And Aaron Wray, president of Queensland’s Penny Farthing and Historical Cycle Club and winner of the club’s annual championship on Saturday, is one proud owner who rides his penny farthing to work.

“I ride mine in to work on occasions,” Aaron said.

“From Chermside into the city,” he said with a laugh.

“It is one of those things on the road that everybody loves.”

On Saturday, one of Queensland’s quirkiest days – Queensland’s Penny Farthing Championship at Sandgate – was held with plenty of dash, drama and colour.

Taking out the championship, Mr Wray said “it wasn’t rigged, I promise”. Close friends Mitchel Hale and Sally Dillon took second and third placings.

The three make their own penny farthings from light steel which they shape and mould.

Aaron says his penny farthing is more than two and half metres tall.

“So I have to duck under low bridges and trees are a real problem,” he said.

“But they really are the most unique thing on the road.”

Penny farthings date back to the Victorian era of the late 1800s.

The historic bike was named after two radically different sized coins, pennies and farthings. It is renowned for its oversized front wheel and significantly smaller rear wheel.

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