Never mind penny, what’s a farthing?

By Riverine Herald

AS THE legendary Banjo Paterson famously wrote: ‘Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze’.

But it wasn’t Mulga Bill from Eaglehawk last week in Echuca — it was the Australian Penny Farthing Tour that rolled into town.

And just like Mulga Bill, riding is their special gift, their chiefest, sole delight.

Echuca was one of many stops the cyclists made last week on their 14-day journey from one end of the Murray River to the other.

Yesterday the group had reached Mildura on a rest day — one of only a few, as they plan to ride an average of 100km a day over the two weeks.

The pack of riders will cycle all the way to Goolwa in South Australia, at the mouth of the Murray where the tour will end.

Penny farthing rider and maker Dan Bolwell said the tour is an annual ride for as many or as few enthusiasts are keen to join in.

‘‘I spoke to my good friend Steve Timmis who is very closely connected to tourism with the Murray, and he suggested riding the length of the river one year.

‘‘I said that was a fantastic idea,’’ he said.

He said many of the pre-conceived notions about penny farthing riding are actually incorrect. Notions like the bikes cannot be ridden uphill, and are deadly around corners.

‘‘They’re actually very good for uphill climbs, you can ride very easily up hills, those ideas are in actual fact completely wrong.

‘‘It was the first bicycle that was used for racing back in the day, and there are still races around the world,’’ he said.

Guess it’s lucky they won’t be passing Dead Man’s Creek on the way.