Stuart Kettell waves goodbye to Doreen Thompson, his wife Debbie, daughter Sophie, aged seven, son Scott, aged 12, and Dan Thompson at the start of his 874-mile ride on a penny-farthing
. Picture: Joe Bailey DJ200908PENN1
One woman, a one-time penny-farthing
world champion, travelled from Australia to take part in the race while her home country was taken over by Olympic fever.
Stuart had seen an early penny-farthing
in Coventry Transport Museum but quickly realised that even if he could beg, borrow or buy one, the old machines would never stand up to the journey.
is rare as it was not built until 1891, which is quite late for this type, and was probably constructed with a specific owner in mind.
With a 53in front wheel and 20in rear wheel, this classic penny-farthing
- named after the largest and smallest copper coins of the time - is valued between pounds 3,000 and pounds 5,000.
Examples of boneshakers and penny-farthings
can be seen at Coventry Transport Museum in Millennium Place, in the city centre.
He confided: "Learning to ride a penny-farthing
involved a lot of falling off.
From the bone shakers and penny-farthings
of yesteryear to the lightweight racing machines of today, cycling has evolved enormously
Around 130 cycles, including Victorian 'high ordinaries' which later became known as penny-farthings
, plus boneshakers dating from the 1860s, front-wheel pedal bicycles and even the odd tandem, filled the country roads on the 17-mile tour from Shenstone, near Bromsgrove yesterday.
But Mr McElvogue has been left heartbroken by the loss of his rare, priceless bikes, which included penny-farthings
and Sunbeams, which he thinks were worth about pounds 8,000.