A common question when confronted about traveling long distances with Pene is about carrying gear. Most of my rides around here are between 30 and 50 miles, which leave very little use to carry much more than small supplies and water (or nothing – leaving me parched!). Another frequent question (or accusation) is about being the first person to want to do this kind of long distance trip via a penny, which is far from the truth. In fact, a few different people have done it, dating all the way back to 1884. Thomas Stevens, the first person to bicycle across the United States, as well as around the world accomplished this in the late 1800s. Most recently, Joff Summerfield cycled around the globe, visiting 23+ countries, completing over 22,000 miles and visiting such majesties as the Taj Mahal, Everest Base Camp and The Great Wall. Both are great inspirations and show nothing but proof of great feats, amazing travel and endless possibilities. While Stevens left San Francisco with little more than socks, a spare shirt, a raincoat that doubled as tent and bedroll, and a 38 Smith & Wesson, Mr. Summerfield knew he would need a little more than that when visiting places like Everest, Tibet, etc. Below are the three styles of carrying baggage possible with a penny.
You are given very few choices when traveling by bicycle to carry your gear. Traditionally, racks can be attached to the rear and front which allow attachment of bags. With a penny farthing, you have to try a bit harder. Some people prefer trailers, which are also a possibility with a penny. The thing about a penny rather than a conventional bike is the reduced space for niceties. Your load must be very compact and efficient. With a conventional bicycle, you have a lot more room for gear and bags. Remote places like the Yukon Territory and Alaska beg for perfection in rationing, gearing and preparation. Miscalculating the amount of food I need to pack along with me means going hungry for a meal (or more). With limited space, this is even more crucial. I’m actually stumped at the moment of trailer versus spine-mounted versus rack-engineering. Short time will tell, as I wish to do some shorter test tours, including one to see my friends from the northern route of the 42 Ride, Jo and Bryan, who continued their US cross-country trip and are now in Mexico. They are a huge inspiration to me as well.
(All pictures are of Joff Summerfield’s penny, with different bag styles he used throughout his travels)