Sunday, August 19, 2012

High Wheeling

We headed up to Frederick yesterday to grab an early dinner in town followed by a Frederick Keys baseball game. We found the town unexpectedly packed and had difficulty finding a place to park. Part of the congestion was caused by one block of the downtown area being closed off to traffic.

We soon discovered the reason. It was the Frederick Clustered Spires High Wheel Race. About 25 riders participated in the one hour criterion race that looped around a block in the center of town. Apparently this was one of only a handful of such races held around the world. Three time Tour de France winner Greg Lemond was in attendance but did not race.

According to this story by Nicholas C. Stern in The Frederick News-Post “Rick Stumpff, of Galena, Mo., won first among the male riders with 42 laps, while Sheryl Kennedy, of Hagerstown, won first place for the females…”

The bicycles, also know as penny farthings or ordinaries, are about sixty inches high and have no brakes. Mounting and dismounting can be a bit tricky as demonstrated in this video.

Racing these bikes can be dangerous too. One rider, Alison Torpey of Louisville Kentucky, was seriously injured after crashing with another rider on her final laps and was flown to Shock Trauma in Baltimore.

Aside from that it was a fun event to watch as riders “were encouraged to dress in woolen knickers and other period garb…”
After the race we headed up the road to watch the Keys defeat the Winston-Salem Dash, 8-4. The hero of the game was the Raven’s quarterback younger brother, Mike Flacco, who hit the go ahead home run in the fourth inning.

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