Friday, December 27, 2013

Munted Penny Farthing

Tragedies come in threes. Everyone knows it. Everyone's sceptical,, but nevertheless tragedies do come in threes and all we're lacking is the theory to account for it.

We went on hols, and the first tragedy was returning to find the racing pigeon had drowned himself in the rain tub. He had flown erratically before we went away but we hadn't anticipated the need to cover the rain tub, nor its lethality when only half-full of water. How he got in will ever be a mystery. He was floating face down, and no, we didn't take a picture.

The second tragedy was finding that we'd left a $300 pure merino blanket behind. This tragedy was relatively easily fixed: quick email to the house owner, who found it and put it aside before the next holidaymakers arrived. To be collected.

The third tragedy was a Christmas Day barbecue. A friend had his friend staying, so he came along too, and, evidently alerted to its existence, requested a go on my penny farthing. Had he ridden one before? - No. -  I talked him through the basics, and instructed him that if he felt at all uncertain, merely to scoot along and stand on the peg and that way he'd have a feel for what the thing's like without endangering himself. I showed him, twice, how to get on and off but he was too eager to watch or listen, and after a couple of wobbly tries he got into the saddle and promptly crashed it onto the neighbour's lawn and bent the wheel sideways, yielding the unexpected benefit that now I can explain the word 'munted' in a single photograph.

A munted penny farthing
The odd thing is that before this occurred and for some reason I can't recollect, he had told me there were a number of people he would happily kill. - That having been said, he was more than contrite afterwards. But offering to pay for the repairs presupposes there's a penny farthing repair shop in Motueka, which I happen to know there isn't. And when he said he'd buy me a new one I didn't want to point him at Robin Willans's machines because I happen to know they cost about ten thousand dollars each.

Still, at least none of the spokes broke. And on a scale of climate change/Fukushima/drowned pigeon, a bent 48" bicycle wheel could be worse.

Not quite sure where to start the repair. Whether I can straighten the rim sufficiently to take the compression of the spokes again is the issue. And since after 141 years it was no longer perfectly circular each spoke is a slightly different length, so truing it is going to be hairy.

The unfortunate chap was so mortified that he was almost weeping to expiate his guilt. It occurred to me that I would have been wiser putting him on a smaller machine first, so I looked up 36ers on the web and found this site, and he's buying me spokes, a rim, a tyre and a tube.

However I might get sidetracked into looking up Kangaroo, and then I shall construct something infinitely better than wot Mr. Knight has just made, you may be quite sure.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home