Lycra Loonies

Let’s face it, we’ve all made a joke at some point about cyclists and lycra. Today I saw a whole new side to the lycra loonies at the National Penny Farthing Championships in the small town of Evandale in Tasmania. Modern day Penny Farthing cyclists wear lycra. Who’d have thought it eh? People come from all over Australia to compete in the yearly championships and the heritage buildings of the town’s main street provide the perfect backdrop for this classic bicycle race.


Penny Farthings, with a large front wheel and a much smaller rear wheel were first developed by Frenchman Eugene Meyer in the 1870s. The larger wheels enabled higher speed on the bicycles. These bikes were shortlived in their era as they were known to be extremely dangerous – the rider sits high and nearly over the front axle so that if the wheel strikes a rock or ruts or even under hard braking the rider can be pitched forward off the bicycle head-first. Some riders, when travelling down hills, often took their feet off the pedals and put them over the tops of the handlebars so they would be pitched off feet first instead of head first.

After watching these race around the streets of Evandale the speed of these antique machines was obvious.

DSC_5740 DSC_5737 DSC_5731 DSC_5711 DSC_5707 DSC_5706 DSC_5704 DSC_5703 DSC_5702 DSC_5698 DSC_5697

Leave a Reply