Rolling with the breaks
Last updated 05:00 09/05/2011
A Victorian invention is proving ideal for earthquake-damaged Christchurch streets.
Richmond penny-farthing devotee John Davey said the old-style transport was more stable than a road bike.
He said passers-by often asked how he negotiated cracked and undulating roads on the precarious-looking bike.
However, the company director said it was "a joy to ride".
"It's just the size of the wheel that means you can go over quite large potholes and cracks, as long as the cracks are lateral and in the same direction as I am going," he said.
"I feel pretty confident up there going through all this stuff.
"Being on direct drive, you can push it over most hard ground.
"You've got to watch out for the soft stuff like sand and silt – it's just horrible.
"The penny-farthing would probably be better than a road bike, but a mountain bike would be better than a penny-farthing."
Davey admitted it could be daunting riding the penny-farthing during aftershocks, with the front wheel bouncing off the ground on one occasion.
However, he had a "really fast dismount".
"I can be off it in a flash," he said.