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Page last updated at 08:52 GMT, Tuesday, 14 September 2010 09:52 UK
Tour of Britain: Norfolk to start with vintage bicycles
A penny farthing being raced
Penny farthings can reach speeds of more than 30mph

Stage six of the Tour of Britain, which runs from King's Lynn to Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, will be started by vintage bicycles.

Riders from March Veteran and Vintage Cycle Club (MVVCC) will complete a circuit around the town before setting the racers on their way.

"We were thrilled to think that we're leading off such a prestige event," said Colin Bedford, chairman of MVVCC.

Stage six of the Tour of Britain hits Norfolk on Thursday, 16 September 2010.

"We hope to have the oldest bicycle there - that will be a 1820 draisine, or a boneshaker velocipede from 1865," said Colin.

The older bicycles on show are predominantly made of wood - in stark contrast to the model alloys today's bikes are made of.

"The contrast is that these older bicycles weigh so much more than the modern racing bikes and we only have one gear compared to modern ones, which have in excess of 20," he added.

Modern day racing does see some spectacular crashes, mainly due to the speed that they travel, but vintage bikes have dangers of their own.

"The penny farthing is the most difficult bike, especially when getting on and off."

"It's got a brake, which operates on the front wheel called a spoon brake, but you have to put it on very gently otherwise you can go straight over the top - it's called going a cropper," said Colin.

And if you think that the Tour of Britain riders are the only cyclists who ride competitively, think again.

"They still have the penny farthing racing world championship - they can get up to 30 miles per hour, but it's very dangerous," said Colin.


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