Written by Patty Decker Tuesday, 07 February 2012 18:30
There’s nothing ordinary about one Hillsboro man’s “Ordinary” bicycle.
The bike, also known as a penny-farthing, is something John Baize said he has wanted for quite some time.
“I bought it in Elkhart, Ind.,” he said, “and it was built in 1882.”
With the warmer temperatures in recent weeks, Baize said he’s been riding his Ordinary bike about seven miles a day.
In fact, a lot of people in Hillsboro have been taking a second or sometimes even a third look at the bicycle. On Friday, Sue and Kiara Espada took time to stop and chat with Baize about it.
Wadkins laughed when she realized the front wheel was almost as tall as she was and both women were amazed anyone could ride something like that.
Baize said when buying this type of bicycle it needs to fit the rider according to his inseam, which in his case is 52 inches.
At 5-foot, 9-inches tall, he said it took a little getting used to get a good start hopping up on the seat.
Apparently, the trick, he said, is to step on the little pedal with the left foot and push off with the right.
Although Baize wouldn’t say exactly how much he paid for the 1882 bike, he did say that if someone can find one for under $4,000, it’s a good deal.
While searching for a bike, he also said he saw one on e-Bay that was just like the one he bought, but not restored and not rideable for $15,000.
The Ordinary owned by Baize is in near-mint condition with remanufactured rubber tires and the original plate denoting the bike’s serial number.
The purpose of the front wheel's size, according to information about the bicycle, was to help the rider cover a reasonable amount of distance in fewer minutes and with less pedaling effort.
The bicycle with its metal structure and rubber wheels also allows the rider to pump the pedals positioned on the sides of the front wheel while moving easily along the streets.
For the most part, Baize said he’s got the hang of it, but he has had some spills.
Being an Ordinary enthusiast, though, it’s a fun and challenging hobby, he said.
“The first day I owned (the bicycle),” he said, “it wasn’t a good day. It’s about trial and error.”