SADDLE UP!

August, 05 2013

Located at least five feet above the ground, our saddles are now in the driving seat of a brand-new custom-built penny-farthing!

It’s comforting to know that, if you know where to look, you’ll find a world of true bicycling, where people build and ride bikes for pure pleasure – for the simple joy of contented self-propelled movement through balmy air and the soul-soaring delights that only cycling can engender. So if you pedal down to Esher, Surrey, you’ll find two joyously cycle-loving, skilled and visionary young bicycle-builders of high renown, who are making penny farthings (or Ordinaries, to give them their strictly correct nomenclature) to order, and to the glory of real cycling. But how do we know this? Because they’re using our BENGAL BUFFALO SADDLES!

Known as T&B (‘Tats & Beards’) Jake Roper (tats) and Gareth Howell (beard) run their own cycle workshop. Based on their reputation as top bicycle-makers in the area – and amongst other hand-crafted, precision-made items that they make, they’re building penny-farthings from scratch, which include their own custom-designed front hubs, front rim and frame. Taking around two months to construct, and costing between £1,500 and £2,500 (depending on specification), they use top-quality Reynolds steel tubing, solid rubber tyres custom-made by a major wheelchair manufacturer – and, naturally, robust buffalo leather triple-sprung saddles from the Indian Bicycle Shop! The front wheel size is a mighty 48", with 72 spokes, whilst the rear wheel is cunningly culled from a BMX.

However, not content with building beautiful velocipedes, frames and other cycling appurtenances, Jake and Gareth have also joined a local miniature train enthusiasts’ club in Thames Ditton where they’ve been taught how to work lathes and other metal-shaping machinery. Having purchased the lathe of a now sadly deceased member of the club, they’re embarking on making their own engine, which could take anything up to five years – though the finished item could well be valued at in excess of £100,000.

If you’re interested in having a penny-farthing built for you - or any other custom–made bicycle-related commission - please contact Jake and Gareth via their website; they’d be delighted to hear from you, and we’d be delighted to see their penny-farthings on the highways and byways of Britain!

PICTURE: Left beard = Gareth Howell, Middle beard = Bruce MacTaggart of The Indian Bicycle Shop, Tats on the right = Jake Roper. Taken at our stall at THAMES MARKET as part of Ride London.

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