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Penny Farthing 1885 Columbia Expert Restoration: before/after

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Penny Farthing 1885 Columbia Expert Restoration: before/after

Old 09-12-20, 05:17 AM
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yobuttin
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Penny Farthing 1885 Columbia Expert Restoration: before/after

I had another thread that was moved to appraisals, so I wanted to share here. We recently had our bike restored. Took approx 10 months to completely overhaul it. Here are some before photos:





The handlebars needed reshaped. They werent even oriented properly. The brake system was rigged up and incorrect. Seat was also a mess. Here are some after photos after the restoration.





I never planned on riding it. Cost too much to restore. I couldnt imagine scuffing it up. Instead, we decided to hang it from our living room ceiling. It looks really nice there. It was my grandfathers who received it from someone else years and years ago.





Had to build a temp stand to sit it on as we rigged up the cables. The hardest part was getting the bike level after the cables were crimped. Had to cut and redo them a couple times. It looks much bigger in person since the wall is so big.
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Old 09-12-20, 05:28 AM
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Very nice. I assume the learning curve to ride one without seriously injuring yourself or the bike would be pretty high. Maybe there's a club in your area for penny farthing owners and one of them could ride it to give you the opportunity to see it "in action" and maybe shoot a bit of video.
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Old 09-12-20, 05:32 AM
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Now this is C&V!
Details are very interesting such as the adjustable pedal location on the crank, the attachment of the hub to the fork, the hub itself. What is going on with that little block and the almost gear looking feature?

Were there many parts remanufactured? Clearly the pedals are the original. Is the new brake custom made to replicate the original?

Can you give us more about the restoration process? Who did it and what challenges they faced?
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Old 09-12-20, 08:17 AM
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Super cool restoration!!!

There's some people who ride these things on the bike path around here.
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Old 09-12-20, 09:39 AM
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A wonderful restoration! I think I'd be hanging it on the wall or from the ceiling as well... I'm rather brave and even stupid on the roads sometime, but I don't think I could go so far as to attempt riding a Penny Farthing around for fear of breaking my neck!

-Gregory
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Old 09-12-20, 10:01 AM
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I had a picture fall off the wall and hit me in my sleep once. It hurt.

Just something to think about.

Beautiful park pizza cutter replica. You've got to pad it and yourself and try to ride it once.
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Old 09-12-20, 10:04 AM
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The is a reason the bicycle with two tires nearly the same size was called a safety bike!
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Old 09-12-20, 11:03 AM
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That thing is as gorgeous as it is deadly.

All you need now is a canopy to reproduce The Village's penny-farthing logo from "The Prisoner."
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Old 09-12-20, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by SJX426 View Post
Now this is C&V!
Details are very interesting such as the adjustable pedal location on the crank, the attachment of the hub to the fork, the hub itself. What is going on with that little block and the almost gear looking feature?

Were there many parts remanufactured? Clearly the pedals are the original. Is the new brake custom made to replicate the original?

Can you give us more about the restoration process? Who did it and what challenges they faced?
Im not even sure why that hunk of wood was jammed under the seat. My guess was the seat was broke and that was the only way to keep the seat up. The original brake system broke and this is what someone rigged. Guess they didnt want to purchase another original.

The new brake system was fabricated to replicate the original braking system. The guy who restored it lives in New Jersey, his name is Craig Miller. He used to be a machinist and has since retired and spends his time restoring antique bikes. He told us when he gets bikes in with original part, he will measure the parts and draw diagrams, so that in the future if a bike shows up and those parts are missing, he will fabricate a replica at his shop. He has a catalog of parts. He came recommended over at thecabe.com. He's an active member so will be easy to find. This is the original thread I started over there in case anyone wants to reach out to him to have something restored. https://thecabe.com/forum/threads/pe...cation.154688/
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Old 09-12-20, 03:04 PM
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That is beautiful! Some day I would like to experience riding a high-wheeler, but I would be okay to try a replica so as not to damage a nice antique.
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Old 09-12-20, 03:21 PM
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Very cool!

A few of these always show up at the Belgian Retroronde van Vlaanderen. This was in 2015, at the start of a penny farthing race on the town square in Oudenaarde:


They fit nicely on the car rack:



Came across it again in 2018. Rode along for a bit. The rider managed an impressive pace on that contraption.

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Old 09-12-20, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Pompiere View Post
That is beautiful! Some day I would like to experience riding a high-wheeler, but I would be okay to try a replica so as not to damage a nice antique.
Trust me, I wanted to give it a go but I couldn't risk damaging it. The restoration was not inexpensive! If I ever feel the urge to ride one ill pick up a replica.

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Old 09-12-20, 06:05 PM
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That machine is beautiful. Columbia's were very very well made high wheel bicycles. I own my uncles 1870s Rudge high wheel. I ride it only on special occasions. The Rudge is a bit lower on the food chain. The brake parts on mine are long gone and were not on the machine when my uncles father saved it from the metal drives during world War 2.
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Old 09-12-20, 06:29 PM
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That is a beautiful high wheeler yobuttin-- a very nice restoration. Looks great on the wall too.
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Old 09-12-20, 10:19 PM
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That is the ultimate N+1.
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Old 09-12-20, 11:01 PM
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You might want to look up more on the history of this man. It's funny how when you don't know something is crazy suicidal, e.g., early flight, cars, and bicycles, you just go ahead and adventure. Truly enjoy your treasure:

Thomas Stevens – born 1854 in Hertfordshire, England – was the first person to circle the globe by bicycle. He rode a large-wheeled Ordinary, commonly known as a penny-farthing, from April 1884 to December 1886. This made him the world’s first ever bicycle touring adventurist and one that that traveled it in a very impressive way…
Thomas Stevens and his 50-inch wheeled Penny-Farthing bicycle

A 50-inch wheeled Penny-Farthing

Thomas and his family emigrated to the USA in 1871 and it is there that he learned to ride a bicycle.

In 1884 he acquired a black-enameled Columbia 50-inch ‘Standard’ penny-farthing with nickel-plated wheels, built by the Pope Manufacturing Company of Chicago. He packed his handlebar bag with socks, a spare shirt, a raincoat that doubled as tent and bedroll, and a pocket revolver and left San Francisco at on 22 April 1884. From Sacramento, Stevens traveled through the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. En route, he was greeted by members of local bicycle clubs, most prominently the president of a chapter of the
League of American Wheelmen League of American Wheelmen
in Laramie, Wyoming. He had never seen North America east of the Mississippi but was about to venture a whole lot further.
He reached Boston after 3,700 miles to complete the first transcontinental bicycle ride on 4 August 1884.
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Old 09-12-20, 11:46 PM
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Fantastic! I understand your reticence regarding riding it but in your position I would not be able to resist having at least one ride (preferably with tutors).
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Old 09-13-20, 07:52 AM
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Very nice restoration. I recall your past post and am glad you did this followup.

I do also think, as since6 recommends, that Thomas Stevens' account of his journey is a fascinating read. "Riding" around the world is a bit of a misnomer. It seems to me that he "trundled" the bike more than he rode. The book is available free from the Gutenberg project.
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