week 52...
a penny earned

Deloraine to Hobart

Picture this... you get yourself a Penninger tandem recumbent quincycle like ours. Then go dig up five of these penny farthing bicycles and remove the front wheel. Yank off the front fork and replace it with the steering column of one of the penny farthings. Sheer off the little metal bits that the brakes are attached to, and attach the big wheels from the other four onto the Penninger.

YEAH! Now you're travelling Monster Truck Style! You could call it a Penninger Farthinger. Or a Farthy Penning. Or a... Y-Farther! You may be faster, but I'm taller!

The following made our Tour to Tasmania possible:

meet diane sullivan
Diane's quite a big wheel down here in Evandale, home of the Annual Penny Farthing Championships. Her name was mentioned as the one to talk to for Penny Farthing info, and, quite by accident, we popped into her antique shop...

What can you tell us about the Penny Farthing? Here in Evandale? For the past 21 years, Evandale's been host to the PF Championships. We close off a loop of the town streets, about a quarter mile, and off they go, four laps.
How many entrants? Last year was around fifty to sixty, and from all over the world. Not just Australia, but Germany, France, Scotland, USA... it's a huge event.

Are they hard to ride. Well, I'm not that comfortable on them, but, like anything else, it takes practice. Obviously the people who come for the races don't have any trouble. They can get one of these up to 45km an hour!

Holy Frickin' Frack! I'm not kidding. In good conditions, they can lean around a turn at a 45 degree angle.

Holy Frackin' Frick! Still not impressed? In the Evandale Visitor Centre, you can see a certificate from Guinness World Records. Evandale once held the world record for the greatest number of free standing Penny Farthings in a row... 69 of them. It's been broken since, but for a time, it was ours.

One last question: why is it called a Penny Farthing? I'm not going to tell you, but I will tell your amazing wombat, Wally. Ask him for the answer.
Sullivan Family Facts:
Her Sons: Grew up riding Penny Farthings. One of them won last year's race.

Her Husband: The only person to compete in all 21 of Evandale's races.

Her: Diane doesn't care much for riding them, but she loves to organize the rides and races.

For more information about the Evandale Races, go to www.evandale

First of all, don't say anything about my head, all right? Just, keep it to yourself.

Let's talk about the difference between Americans and Australians when it comes to celebrities. Americans, they're always looking for the next big thing, so they go through celebrities like White Castle through toilet paper. Australians, on the other hand, tend to latch onto their celebs, and milk them, and squeeze them, until there's nothing left but a dried up husk of a celebrity. And even the dried up husk gets on the cover of Woman's Weekly, with a caption about Plastic Surgery Nightmares.

I'm talking about Elle MacPherson, Melanie Griffith, Elizabeth Hurley... when's the last time any of these three did anything worth mention? But every friggin' week I have to look at them in the supermarket checkout line. I could have found a much better use for that newsprint, like making myself a new head. Or toilet paper at White Castle.

Then there's Kylie. Don't even get me started on Kylie. She's, like, 60 years old and still singing pop songs to teenage boys. And Australians keep buying it! Not only that, somehow, her ass manages to make it into every daily newspaper in the country! You can take an office pool: Pick the Page Kylie's Ass Will Be On. Winner Daily. Sheesh.

I'm Mr. Skinnylegs, and I reckon that's crap.

Be sure to read "I Reckon That's Crap" every week, only on Beimers.com!

*The opinions expressed by Mr. Skinnylegs do not necessarily reflect those of beimers.com. If you have any complaints, direct them to mrskinnylegs@beimers.com.

you don't know jack...
If the goal of life were to make yours as interesting as possible, Jack would definitely be in the top five. Of the following statements about Jack, put a check next to the ones you think are true...
Owns a restored 1969 Shelby Mustang.
The primary breeder of little white dogs in Tasmania.
Developed an automated lemon/citrus harvester when he was 16.
His daughter is one of the top 20 harpists in the world.
Participates regularly in Civil War Re-enactments.
One of his best friends is Cybill Sheppard.
Owns the Australian Rights to the name Freddy Fuddrucker.
Will be in the Honor Guard for the Hunley, a confederate submarine.
Owns the largest collection of Amish-American Quilts in Australia.
Has had five heart attacks in the past week.

Looks like you didn't know Jack soon enough, because this contest is CLOSED!
The answers are on Week 66.
these are the people in our neighbourhood...

We love seeing people twice! We met Fred at the SA/WA Border Village the first time. I think he gave us some water, but only because I think EVERYBODY gave us water on that road. Anyway, here he is in Tasmania! Neat!
Virginia, Rachel & Emily
We had great fun at Jack's place with these three. Virginia and her two daughters were down to visit Jack, and keep an eye on him while the wife's away. Don't worry Emily, we won't forget you!
If there's one thing we can say about Tasmania, it's that the people will go waaaay out of their way to take care of you. Special thanks go to Luke at the Oatlands Visitor Centre for his help beyond the call of duty. Thanks for the lift, Luke!
Luke may have driven us to Tunbridge for a good night's rest, but the next morning, Kevin drove us back to Oatlands to pick up our bikes to continue the trip! (Kevin was Jack's neighbour, and yet another example of Tasmanian hospitality.)
wiggins' amazin' facts!
I say, old bean, have you seen Wally anywhere? You see, I'm his cousin Wiggins. Hahaha! Gotcha again! Didn't recognize me with this silly mustache, did you? I'm so clever! Now, let me guess; you're probably here to learn about the Roaring Forties! They're the wind currents around here! The wind flows right 'round the planet and smack into Tazzie with gusto, at an average speed of 40 knots! Ergo, Roaring Forties!

This Week's Amazin' Fact: Ever wonder why the front wheel of a penny farthing is so darn big? Back in the beginnings of bicycles, they didn't know about chains and gears and derailleurs and things. The pedals were stuck to the wheel, and your feet went the same speed as a bike... it wasn't much better than walking! So, the only way they could think of to make the bike go faster was to make the wheel bigger! In other words, based on an identical pedal speed, the circumference of the wheel is in direct proportion to the velocity of the bike by a factor of pi! Jeepers!

By the way, any of you know why a penny farthing is called a penny farthing?

Don't forget to look for Wally this week!
Distance this week: 258kmDistance since Day 1: 13699km

What is Bikeabout? Click here to find out!

Day 358: Maaaaah!
Distance Travelled: 44.8km Temperature: 17
Time on Trikes: 4.5h Water Left: 6.0L
Terrain: Tazzie Flat
End Location: Cosy Cabin, Launceston
dropping like lambs
This is the best time of year to be on a bike. Sure, you've got to try to slip through the dodgy weather, and it gets dark and cold by 6pm, but who cares about that when the company you'll keep is small, fuzzy and angelically sweet? That's right, it's LAMB SEASON. We get to see about a thousand of the little suckers each day, from the time they wake up each morning to dusk, when they're poke-poke-poke-wiggling their way to a feed. I haven't gotten tired of them yet, but then, my cuteness quotient when it comes to things such as baby animals is pretty much endless. And besides, they always remind us of Dallyn.

"Before the rain I expressed interest in a lot of things. Heck, I expressed interest in the lavender farm."
- Aimee.
Day 359: Our Pride, Your Piss
Distance Travelled: 0.0km Temperature: 16
End Location: Cosy Cabin, Launceston
boaged down
Launceston! If there were an international contest to see which city could hold the most water within its borders without having it spill out into the surrounding countryside, I think Launceston would win hands down. Not that the city is waterlogged or anything (although it should be with the rain we've been getting), it's just that the city is built like a gigantic teacup.
   Other than noting its geographical oddities, we also noticed that Launceston is home to the Boag Brewery, which is something I have a great deal of trouble saying ten times fast, especially after a few Boags.
   Weather Note: In our continuing saga of being completely unable to predict the weather, we almost left Launceston this morning, but the weather scammed us into thinking it was going to be a trashy day - so we stayed. The end result: gorgeous day.

"Yup, they're just there for the stealing."
- Aimee.
Day 360: Cement Fondue
Distance Travelled: 63.2km Temperature: 11
Time on Trikes: 6.0h Water Left: 3.0L
Terrain: Climb out of Launceston, Flat after
End Location: Conara
penny farthing, lesson one
Welcome to the wonderful world of penny farthings. We guarantee that the purchase of you penny farthing will grant hours of fun and enjoyment for you and your family, and very few injuries, of which are not the responsibility of the penny farthing or the store in which you purchased it. Let's begin.
   Riding a penny farthing is easy. The novice rider, like Kevin, may wish to mount by leaning the bike up against a park bench. Now, PUSH OFF! And remember that the pedals spin with the wheel, and that the handlebars are lower than your knees, and that when you turn your legs must turn with the wheel, and if you lean too far to one side there's no way that you'd be able to put your foot down for balance without leaping to your death like an untrained gymnast dismounting from a moving pommel horse. That's it, let the fear guide you! Falling means death! Congratulations! You're really doing it!

Diane had a couple of penny farthings stashed behind her place, and let us take them for a spin! Here are some photos of Kevin falling off.


"What's with my hair? I look like one of the Edison twins."
- Kevin.
Day 361: Blew Shutters
Distance Travelled: 44.8km Temperature: 12
Time on Trikes: 5.0h Water Left: 2.5L
Terrain: Fine
End Location: Jack's Future B&B, Tunbridge
i'll take that offer
Let's say you're walking home from work one day. A strange man wearing an Elvis Week 2003 cap pulls up alongside of you and says, "Would you like to sleep at my house?" Chances are, you start reaching for your capsicum spray. Well, not us! We love that kind of thing!
   I don't want to tell you too much about Jack, because it would ruin our You don't know Jack contest on the left. I may have already revealed too much by mentioning the Elvis Week 2003 cap.
   Instead, I'll tell you about Rachel's pumpkin soup. Yummers! That soup was pretty darn tasty, I tell you. (Psst... the secret ingredient is coriander!)

"Don't drink the town water. Town water comes from the river.
Sheep die in the river."
- Jack.
Day 362: There's a precipitatin' a-transpirin'
Distance Travelled: 20.9km Temperature: 6
Time on Trikes: 4.5h Water Left: 0.0L
Terrain: Hell
End Location: Jack's, Tunbridge
as bad as it looks
Why, why, why, did we leave today??!!! Are we idiots? Are we suckers for punishment?
   You know why we left? Remember up in Launceston (you should because you read it, like, 35 seconds ago) when early morning clouds on the horizon turned into a gorgeous day? I guess in Tunbridge, early morning clouds mean early afternoon buckets of freezing rain.
   Clearly, we've underestimated the verocity* of the Tasmanian weather. Within hours, it was upon us with a vengeance. As to be expected, the day began a quick descent from that point on.
   I won't bore you with all the details, but... oh why not? You love details!
7nbsp;  The next three hours involved us climbing St. Peter's Pass, all the while thinking some very un-Catholic thoughts. Twice we were passed by Virginia and family, who stopped and said "Are you sure we can't give you a lift somewhere?" Both times she stopped, the rain had just let up, and we thought, being dumb as we are, that it might clear up. HA! Not I, said the rain.
   After taking five hours to complete 22km, we barrelled down the hill into the Oatlands tourism centre, where we met Luke. Luke gave us coffee, then gave us another coffee, then use of the tourism centre internet, then a place to park the bikes, and finally, a lift BACK UP THE ROAD to Jack's.
   Now, some of you might think that the day was a waste, since we're in the same bed as last night, but you're wrong. The bikes are in Oatlands, though we're in Tunbridge, and that St. Peter's Pass we never have to do again. And as for the rain, well, sometimes it's nice to get all the crappity-crap out of the way in one day. If it's bad, it might as well be REALLY BAD. At least we're inside tonight! Yay Tasmania!
* that is, the veracity of the ferocity.

"Okay, how about this... if you smell smoke, check on dinner.
Can you do that for me?"
- Aimee.
Day 363: Field of Dreams
Distance Travelled: 79.3km Temperature: 15
Time on Trikes: 8.5h Water Left: 3.5L
Terrain: 20km up, 40km flat, 20km up
End Location: Cosy Cabin, Hobart
always greener
What a difference a day makes. Are we in the same place? Are we on the same planet?
   While yesterday lays claim to the worst uphill experience of the trip, today we celebrated the best downhill ride we've had to date. The sun was glowing, the grass has never seemed greener and the lambs were being born left and right. What a beautiful day. Mother Nature, we accept your apology.

"The bokchoy is aggravating my shoulder!"
- Kevin.
Day 364: Poor Liz
Distance Travelled: 4.8km Temperature: 15
Terrain: Mountainous
End Location: Cosy Cabin, Hobart
don't tell anyone we're here

We arrived in Hobart pretty late last night, so we thought that we'd sleep in a bit, read a few magazines and relax on our day off. Next week is going to be a flurry of activity.

For now, it's time to rest.

"And all that time I thought you were thinking of how to apologize to me."
- Aimee.

two contests in one week! you lucky duck!

^ ^ ^ What the hell is this? ^ ^ ^
Correct answers and most creative answers are met with admiration!
Obtuse answers will be frowned upon!
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rumman: (n.) an interesting or eccentric fellow.
"He's a bit of a rumman, but you'll like him."

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© 2003 Kevin & Aimee Beimers. A trifle bizarre.