Saturday, August 17, 2013

Day 349 - Frederick High Wheeler Race

(Click any photo to enlarge.) 
Please join me on the last day, September 2, for a celebration photo walk!  
Registration details are here.

Love those socks!
Vintage Bike(r)
A Penny-farthing race is something you don't see every day.  As a matter of fact, it is only seen once a year in downtown Frederick, so of course, that is where I had to do my photo walk today.

What, you may ask is a penny-farthing?  The reference is made to British coins.  The penny is a much bigger coin than the farthing, and when put side-by-side, they look like the much larger front wheel and much smaller back wheel of the first bicycles.  

Developed around 1870, they were the first bicycles.  The rider sits almost over the top of the front wheel, clutching "mustache" handlebars, so that one's knees may clear the handlebars.  However, there is a great danger of headers, in that when one hits a rock or an obstacle, the rider is often pitched head first over the handlebars.

Happy to be here!
Favorite onlooker
These bicycles have no chain, so the rider must pedal much harder in order to turn the wheel.  It is also difficult to mount and dismount, due to the height of the seat.

I parked at the parking garage near the Delaplaine Visual Arts Center, then walked along Carroll Creek until I got to Market Street.  I turned right on Market and walked until I got to the area cordoned off for the race.  Crowds were beginning to gather, so I found a spot near the area where the cyclists would gather for a group shot.  They were allowed practice laps, so I photographed a number of them as they were warming up.  

The comeback rider;
she took a header last year.
Second favorite onlooker
Some had vintage costumes; others were dressed in modern bicycling gear.  Some riders had unusual vintage bikes that were not high wheelers, but were pushed with their feet, had four wheels, or were "pumped" up and down in the middle by the rider who made jumping like motions in the center of the bike.  Not all of those bikes competed in the race, but they were fun to see.

I had as much fun photographing the crowd as I did the cyclists.  There were more photographers there today than I have ever seen in one place together other than a photography convention.  

Ready to roll
The race is on!
Just before 4 p.m., all of the cyclists were assisted in mounting their bikes in the place where they had lined up for a group shot.  There were probably about 25 competitors.  They would be given an hour to cycle around the cordoned off streets downtown.  Whoever completed the most laps would be the winner.

Model on the bridge.
I left after a few laps of the riders, and walked back along Market Street and then along Carroll Creek back to my car.  There was a photographer on one of the bridges photographing a model, so I got in a shot, too.  

It was a great afternoon in downtown Frederick.  And now, you know what a penny-farthing race is all about!

Click on any photo to enlarge it.
Forward me by email any receipt for an online donation made to the Red Cross for disaster relief, and I will send you a 5x7 print of your choice from any of my daily photo walks or from my website.  Offer good until September 2, 2013.

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Follow me on Twitter: @camscamerashots

Cam's rules for the Daily Photo Walk:
  1. walk every day
  2. the walk must be in addition to any other planned activity for the day
  3. post a photo every day
  4. use whatever camera is easy and convenient for walking comfortably; always have a backup camera at the ready in case of mishaps (I use the Nikon Coolpix P7700)
  5. no weather excuses
  6. walk only where it is safe to do so

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