Ride a Penny-Farthing in Today’s Traffic, Expect Very Modern Crashes

Penny-farthing rider crashes into DPD van in London 4 photos
Photo: Twitter/biggreekmav
Penny-farthing rider crashes into DPD van in LondonPenny-farthing rider crashes into DPD van in LondonPenny-farthing rider crashes into DPD van in London
Traffic is bad in most cities around the world, and London is no exception. Though they do have dedicated bike paths on most streets, even after those set up during the first lockdown were removed, cyclists are still riding at their own risk most of the time.
None so much as this hipster dude, though. A new viral video is making the rounds on social media and, while it doesn’t have a time stamp, it is believed it was shot earlier this week in London. It shows a man on a penny-farthing riding down a shopping street in Stoke Newington, north London, and then gloriously crashing into a DPD van that cuts him off at a turn.

A penny-farthing is a Victorian-era bicycle that helped turn cycling into a sport during its short-lived existence (1870-1880-ish). It’s a direct-drive bicycle also known as a high wheel, high wheeler, or ordinary (today’s bikes were known back then as “safety bicycles” because they had wheels of the same size), with an oversize wheel and a smaller rear one. The rider sits atop the front wheel.

Penny-farthings are seeing a comeback, with several makers offering them with modern materials. So no, the one in the video below wasn’t a relic with historical importance.

As the British tab Daily Mail points out, there is no law to say there should be brakes on these things, which probably explains why the dude’s reaction to seeing he was heading straight into the van was to remove his feet from the pedals. Back in the day, they did have spoon brakes, but it’s unsure if this one did.

Either way, this viral video is proof that the saying “the higher they are, the harder they fall” is true, as well as the fact that you can’t ride a bike infamous for being prone to accidents in today’s traffic and expect anything other than what this dude got. As per the same media outlet, one bike maker identified this ordinary as his own and said the rider was bruised but otherwise fine. The van driver stopped and exchanged numbers with the cyclist, and the incident has been reported to the police.

One repost of the video was accompanied by the caption “Heading into 2021 like...,” which is all sorts of hilarious and, hopefully, terribly inaccurate.

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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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