Words by Maria David
While many people focus on racing road bikes at this time of year, others like to indulge in alternative cycling events.
At the recent Rapha London Nocturne, the crowds were treated to a broad spectrum of cycle racing, as well as the typical town centre criterium racing on road bikes. Some riders donned their office wear to take part in the folding bike race, others took part in the fixed-gear race, while the real traditionalists wheeled out their Penny Farthings.
We talked to a few women who took part in these different types of bike racing.
A Penny for your thoughts
“You are in an amazing riding position and the view you get is great. Whenever I go out for a ride I can’t help smiling, and it makes everyone else smile too!”- Hannah Hawkins
Hannah Hawkins, from Devon, started riding Penny Farthings ten years ago and has been racing them for four years as she tells us: “I have been a member of the veteran cycle club for a long time and got into riding Penny Farthings when a chap called Joff Summerfield started making and selling them. I went up to Greenwich and I bought one from him, and now I’m on my third one!”
“I have a Penny for racing, and others for touring. I’ve always loved bicycles, but I find riding Penny Farthings is such good fun. I train by riding a fixed wheel bike that has the same gear ratio. You can ride uphill and downhill on a Penny, but when going downhill if the gradient is more than 1 in 7 it can be tricky, as back-pedalling to slow down can difficult. Once I had to stop myself by riding into a hedge!”