It’s August, the stock market is cratering and here I am daydreaming

I was going to post this stuff on my personal blog, but with my esteemed co-blogger’s recent post I figured what the hell. Not every post can be a complaint. Nor should it. I have a confession to make. I dig steampunk. I don’t play dress up, I don’t hot glue gears on stuff, and I don’t sport luxurious muttonchop whiskers. But I like the aesthetic. I dig brass and leather and the idea of having goggles close at hand just in case one might want to braze something. I like steam engines but I understand why belching coal smoke has made them passe. I understand the shocking inequality of victorian england and don’t miss the sexism, classism, racism, and pandemic levels of venereal disease one bit.

What I’m getting to in my roundabout fashion is I’d like to build and ride a pennyfarthing bike. I’m broke as a very broke thing so it won’t happen anytime soon, but it’s been a minor obessession of mine for months. And here’s why. Dorian Schlupf of Schlumpf innovations has invented a geared unicycle hub, that can be shifted with a tap of the heel while riding a unicycle. That same geared hub would work just as well on a pennyfarthing (or “ordinary” to the purists) bicycle to add either a low gear for climbing or an overdrive for high speed biking. It might even be possible to design a hub with more than two speeds for even more pedaling options. Imagine it, a five speed geared hub, the size of a dinner plate, on a brass and steel 48″ pennyfarthing wheel, with (as long as I’m dreaming) big cushy pneumatic mountain bike tires. It would be awesome. Awesome and absurd and expensive and impractical and pointless and not one iota safer than a vintage Victorian boneshaker, due to still having the same tippy rider catapult ejecting geometry as it’s less advanced forbears.

Better yet, imagine founding Helmut J. Monotreme’s bespoke velocipedes, selling geared hub pennyfarthing bicycles to discerning enthusiasts. Like all 5 other people in the world who’d ever want one, and ideally not getting sued by their estates when they break their neck trying to ride them.

Anyway, here’s a bunch of links that inspired me on this daydream.
Schlumpf Innovations
crazyguyonabike’s explanation of bicycle gearing discussion on building a pennyfarthing
explanation of a Schlumpf geared hub
The one schlumpf-hubbed bike I could find on the internet
All the ways to change the drive ratios of a pedal-hub drive


Comments: 4


Apologies friend, gonna have to stomp on your post.

I may acquire access to an oxy acetylene rig and we should talk about design. I am a fan of the luminaries of steampunk myself.

I did not have any idea that you were a fan of bikes, I think therefore you will not mind.


Stomp away, it’s a good day for posting. I’d be happy to talk about design, but seriously I’m so broke I can’t pay attention. I don’t even have a dime I could throw your way for materials and labor.


Nor do I my friend, but if my craftyness works, we will make bikes.



Pardon this comment from a complete naif. If you successfully complete the metal frame and wheels for your penny-farthing, you anticipate then finding tires?


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