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Farthing Penny Bouquet Rock’nRoll Bike #1  2011 (click for video)


Arms can assist pedalling for extra peak power, reduced leg muscle fatigue and full body exercise (as in the frontrowing rig).

    The low stemhead  on the Farthing Penny due to the small front wheel  suggested  a U handlebar that would clear the bucket even when raked forward. Then hinging the bottom of the handlebar would allow a forward and back oscillation of the straight handle crossbar crowning the uprights.  During this rowing, steering can still be effected by opposing the arms. Pushing against the body weight on the saddle, the forward stroke pulls a bridle from the handlebar uprights to a wire through a double pulley at the side of the saddlepost to a chain around a BMX 16T ‘Southpaw” left-handed freewheel on the left side of the rear wheel. The dead end of the chain is tensioned by shockcord through the pulley from the stemtube. The Kevlar bridle’s ‘larkshead’ loops can be shifted up and down the uprights to change the armpower gear.

      The key control mechanism is a pin which is sprung into a plate with an arc of holes to lock the handlebars in various fixed rakes and for support during braking. It is unlocked by a Bowden cable when the rear brake lever is held open beyond a limit set on the rear caliper opening.  As soon as the right fingers stop pushing the lever wide open, the spring locks the handlebars for support. The locking pin engagement in a hole will be visible for extra safety

      The  arm-pumping gives a welcome boost to keep the mean speed up and avoid downshifting on grades and gives a whole body workout. Exhaling hard  in the forward push achieves synchrony of the two chest-tightening actions.

      The placement of the handgrips in front of the uprights protects the hands inside of the uprights and  narrows and compacts the bike for less windage, safely sharing narrow paths with pedestrian and easier storage.  Dangerous bottoming out of the brake levers, and snagging by the levers and handlebar ends are all eliminated..

      Besides locking at forward rake, one can crouch by holding the handlebars at the bottom of the U. This,and carrying cargo in 1 hand needs a backpedal brake for safety

      The shockcord tension springs the steering back to center which stabilizes it for riding no-hands to start a clothing zipper or for leaning the bike to rest. The Southpaw engages as does my backpedal brake so the rear wheel can’t be backed up, which does allow resting uphill against a wall. Or the handlebar bridle  disconnects easily for high street shopping and very easy mounting by swinging the leg forward over the low frame behind the handlebars.

     The design is easily made into a folding bike; conversely a folding bike is improved by backpedal braking, armpower, and bucket cargo,

       Most hubs are about the correct diameter on the left hand side so lefthand threading with an improvised adjustable “tap” die avoids tedious unspoking/spoking. In the 1.375”x24tpi LH die the .330” tap holes are evenly spaced on a circle of 1.705”. They are tapped with the same the 3/8-24 right hand tap through a faced nut vised against the plate and progressively rotated 120 (2 corners) clockwise in clockwise succession. The die can be adjusted by locknutting the taps so their cutting edges are not quite radial to the big circle. It is best to have the freewheel and remover in hand to test tightness, and especially since the Southpaw is already a special order.



Taps locknutted to back off cutting edges for tightness on LH bearing cup.jpg

30 years ago I  direct drove  a  rear wheel in the front forks from cranking handlebars with a big sprocket,  but  no front load could be carried especially on the frame and  a chest pad was needed for the return power stroke.. The parting thought then was that a ratcheting motion might be a simpler way of achieving the large stepup required for such arm motions and better synchrony with breathing,      At that time I bought a Shimano FF chainwheel (since discontinued) and as put on the left hand side as in the photos this ratcheting chainwheel can alternatively be used to connect the arm chain on the left side through the cranks to the normal right hand drive chain and gearing. But then (armpower only and) backpedal braking is impossible.




Click all thumbnails to enlarge



Drive wire & bungey double pulley (from FF chainwheel ,also Farthing Penny frame joints)



    Handlebar hinge and lock



Pushing brake lever open unlocks handlebars







Setting die for depth of cut against left hand bearing cup (undersize) by locknutting cutting edges vs tightest radial.


Die then edge- clamped in vise and hub fed down and left handed into it by hands turning and loading rim parallel to plate.