penny farthing to big wheel

>Darwin Teague ( wrote:

>Here is something I’ve always wanted to do and wondered if it’s feasible or if
>anyone has ever done it.

>Do you know the bikes they sell with the huge front wheel? I think Schwinn
>still sells them. I have always wanted to take the handlebars/frame off and put
>a unicycle seat up there. Would this be easy or hard to ride? I would think one
>would have trouble keeping the speed down to a managable level.

D. Kathrens wrote: He told me how he made his first ones, back in his high
school days. He made his own hubs out of small kids-bicycle chainwhweels by
cutting the teeth off and drilling spoke holes around the circumference. He
welded two of these to a steel bar 5/8" in diameter and filed flats for
cottered cranks. The spokes were simply lengths of steel wire with spoke
threads rolled into one end and a “dogleg” bent into the other end. The rim
was made by cutting and carefully uncurving two or three 26" steel bike rims
and weld- ing them together. The tire tread was simply a bulk length of
wheelchair rubber held on by an internal wire and glue. The frame was easily
made Schwinn-style with two pieces of flat bar stock.

I am going to have a big wheel one way or another. Does anyone here know of a
Schwinn or other bike shops with these replica penny farthings still in stock or
if the wheel parts can be ordered?

I don’t recall ever seeing a Schwinn replica penny farthing. I’ve seen them from
a company called “Boneshaker” and maybe others. I don’t have addresses. I also
know people who have made, or attempted to make, big wheels from these replicas.
For the money you will spend, it doesn’t make sense to use something not
intended for the purpose. Neither a pre-made big wheel unicycle nor a replica
penny farthing is cheap. If money is the problem, you might try making part of
it yourself, and using some of the techniques listed above. If anyone is
interested in this, I’ll point them to some back issues of ON ONE WHEEL that
have detailed instructions on how to build a big wheel.

I have two. My original one is a 45" that I got in 1982. I had to get a new
wheel last year because the old rim had done too many rides in the New York City
5 Boro Bike Tour, on bumpy roads. Just before moving to CA, I bought a used one
from Michael Kaplan of Woodmere, NY. His is from 1980 and is a 40". It was a
Christmas present to a girl I live with. These unicycles were both built by Tom
Miller, and bear the serial numbers 0020 and 0030. I’m proud to have them, and
recommend that if you want a large wheel unicycle, use unicycle parts.

Stay on top!

John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone