Blog: Frederick to host nation’s only penny-farthing race

The penny-farthing was created in the late 19th century. (WTOP/David Burd)

David Burd, wtop.com

FREDERICK, Md. – Frederick Mayor Randy McClement was pretty excited talking about the city hosting the only penny-farthing race in the U.S.

But wait a minute. What the heck is a penny-farthing?

It’s basically a bicycle with a very large front wheel and a very tiny back wheel and was created in Great Britain in the late 19th century.

I’m a bike rider myself, and I find this bike very intimidating to try to get on.

The race will start at 4 p.m. Aug. 18 in front of Brewer’s Alley.

From there, racers will circle around city hall and return to Brewer’s Alley.

Frederick is hosting this race to promote bicycling and the city’s bike-friendly nature.

Some of you might find a high-wheel bike race kind of silly. Three-time Tour de France winner Greg Lemond doesn’t think so. He is scheduled to ride with the other participants.

The only questions I have about this race is this: If the bikes are authentic, whether antique or replicas, do you ride them with bicycle pants or go with 19th century garb? I just don’t know, but it should be fun for all to see.

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