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Penny-Farthing Pedalers Head To Oamaru

12 November 2007

Posse Of Penny-Farthing Pedalers Head To Oamaru For Victorian Heritage Celebrations

One of the most popular events at this year's Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations will again be the arrival of a posse of penny-farthing riders. The wheelmen depart on their four-day adventure on 11 November from Aoraki. Riders then head down the Waitaki Valley along Meridian Energy's hydro canals and lakes, and on to Oamaru to join the celebrations, stopping at a number of schools along the way.

Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebration Coordinator Wendy Ryder says the arrival of the penny farthings is always popular with Oamaruvians. "Since the Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebration's inception in the late 1980s, the arrival of the penny farthings has always aroused a great deal of public interest and publicity en route. "Large crowds can be expected when they arrive on 15 November and people always take a keen interest in their travels along the way."

Mel Seyfort, Sponsorship Manager for the Penny Farthing Tour's key sponsor Meridian Energy, says they are proud to support such a popular event for the Oamaru community. "The Penny Farthing Tour continues to grow in popularity in the North Otago region and as much of their journey takes in the hydro canals it was a natural fit for us to support it. The historical tour brings a lot of pride to the region so we are keen to ensure it remains an important event on Oamaru's calendar."

A highlight for many of the penny farthing pedalers is the National Penny Farthing Championships held on November 17. Race organiser David Wilson says there are a few new things in store for this year's competitors. "This year the National Penny Farthing and Veteran Cycle championships provide the opportunity for the younger generation to show its style and speed on their modern bikes. Spot prizes will be given for the best dressed cyclists and the best decorated bikes." The racing will continue later on Saturday afternoon with New Zealand's premier heritage cycling racing event.

"This year's championship is set to be the biggest yet with a new racetrack right around Oamaru's historic precinct. High wheeler thrills and spills are guaranteed as wheelmen and women from across New Zealand and overseas race at breakneck speed for the coveted prize of New Zealand's fastest rider."

Other races during the day include slaloms, relays, slow races and the Tyne Street Grunter.

A prize-giving will follow later in the evening which will include the launch of Oamaru's brand new penny-farthing cycle that has been built by local craftsmen with the support of local businesses and the Waitaki Development Board.


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