January 21, 2020
The latest in a Guardian Print Shop series featuring classic sports images from the likes of Gerry Cranham, Mark Leech and Tom Jenkins – yours to own for just £55 including free delivery
Buy a classic sport photograph: penny farthing racing
Imagine the perils of riding a penny farthing at high speed while wearing only a crude helmet. Suffice it to say, they were known as “boneshakers” for good reason. With front wheels which measured up to two metres in diameter, skilled riders could reach speeds up to 20mph if they pedalled furiously, but they risked “taking a header” or “coming a cropper” – being thrown unceremoniously over the moustache handlebars. Penny farthings were most popular in the late 19th century, prior to the advent of bicycles with link chains, and were ridden during many of the early one-hour distance records. This amusing image from London’s Herne Hill cycling track was actually shot by Gerry Cranham in 1963, as riders recreated the thrills of yesteryear.
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