cycling in the 19th century

Penny Farthing

Eva tries a Penny-farthing in the Otago Museum.  The design came from a Frenchman, Eugene Meyer, in 1869 and it remained in fashion for about another 20 years until the practical design we know today replaced it.

According to Wikipedia:

The penny-farthing used a larger wheel than the velocipede, thus giving higher speeds on all but the steepest hills. In addition, the large wheel gave a smoother ride, important before the invention of pneumatic tires.

Although the high riding position seems daunting to some, mounting can be learned on a lower velocipede. Once the technique is mastered, a high wheeler can be mounted and dismounted easily on flat ground and some hills.

An attribute of the penny-farthing is that the rider sits high and nearly over the front axle. When the wheel strikes rocks and ruts, or under hard braking, the rider can be pitched forward off the bicycle head-first. Headers were relatively common and a significant, sometimes fatal, hazard. Riders coasting down hills often took their feet off the pedals and put them over the tops of the handlebars, so they would be pitched off feet-first instead of head-first.

Penny-farthing bicycles often used similar materials and construction as earlier velocipedes: cast iron frames, solid rubber tires, and plain bearings for pedals, steering, and wheels. They were often quite durable and required little service. For example, when cyclist Thomas Stevens rode around the world in the 1880s, he reported only one significant mechanical problem in over 20,000 km, caused when the local military confiscated his bicycle and damaged the front wheel.


Whether they were ever used in Waikanae is unknown, but it seems unlikely.

Korimako, the New Zealand Bellbird

I have been fortunate in the past three or more years to hear the beautiful song of the Korimako, New Zealand Bellbird. Eventually I spotted one in the garden but it was a fleeting view as this fast moving bird was there and gone. Two very tall Bottle Brush trees in neighbouring gardens provide […]

via And at last……Korimako, the New Zealand Bellbird. — ordinarygoodness

PM English talks about further tax cuts — why not take the GST off rates?


Unlike in Australia, the NZ government budget shows a surplus and it’s a good time to promise tax cuts for electoral popularity purposes.

According to this story in the NZ Herald:

“Further tax cuts taxes and lifting incomes would be one National’s priorities if it is re-elected in September, Prime Minister Bill English said.

“But he wont be specific about which taxes and says there will be no specific promise during the election campaign.”

We mentioned in an earlier post that GST on local council rates is a tax on a tax and shouldn’t be there.  If they own their buildings, businesses can claim it back, but individuals can’t. The typical saving for most households in Waikanae would be around $350 a year by our estimate.

It’s an issue to raise with the parliamentary candidates over the next 3 months!


Four Seasons Exhibition of the Kapiti Coast Arts and Crafts Society, 28 June — 30 July

KCAC exhibition

At the Kapiti Arts & Crafts Society rooms, 192 Matai Road, Raumati Beach — not Waikanae, but when we bought a painting at its exhibition in Coastlands yesterday we asked if the space they had was free or reduced.  No, was the response, they can only afford it once a year and Coastlands have increased the charge three times in three years.  Hmm, now where might Coastlands have got the idea to do that from?  Yes, we all know.

Anyway we thought we would help by giving them a plug. Website


Innovative DIY ways to create an organic and even indoor vegetable garden

Story at-a-glance: Thirty-six percent of U.S. households grow their own food. Items you already have at home — from milk jugs to pantyhose — can help you create the perfect vegetable garden. Take advantage of vertical garden space by planting in over-the-door shoe organizers or shower caddies. By Dr. Mercola Growing your own vegetables and […]

via Innovative DIY Ways to Create an Organic