2023 Racer Bios

#1 - Per Olaf Kippel - Tomallila, Sweden

Bike: Standard High Wheel

Riding High Wheels




#2 - Martin Baechler - Winchester, VA

Bike: Penny Farthing Dan Bespoke

Riding High Wheels: I've been riding for about six years.  My inspiration was simple...I happened to be in Downtown Frederick on a previous race day and new within a microsecond of seeing the racers that I wanted to join in the fun.  I've participated in all the Frederick High Wheel Races since then.

Inspiration:  Riding a high wheel is simply a joy.

Achievements: My goal is one day to be the oldest rider in this race!

Job: I retired from the Army in 2015 after 26 years of service. So now I just work for fun and pleasure as a hand doctor.

Misc: I also ride a unicycle!

#3 - Daniel Gohlke - Frederick, MD 

Bike: Standard Highwheel Tourer 52"

Riding High Wheels: I first became interested in high wheel bicycles after moving to Frederick in 2012 and spectating the high wheel race. I started by volunteering as a course marshal and competed in every race since 2017, finishing 3rd in both 2022 and 2017. 

Achievements: My favorite thing to do on my high wheel is to just take it around town and watch people's reactions. The kids love it and I get a lot of funny reactions.

Job: I work in the transportation field as a software engineer for a bike share organization. 

Misc: I am an avid cyclist and bicycle enthusiast.  I raced mountain bike, road, crit, and cyclocross and am an emeritus member of the Bike Doctor Frederick cycling team.  I enjoy mountain biking in the watershed and taking my two boys - ages 7 & 5 - mountain biking with a local youth mtb club, sMOREs. 

#4 - Rodney Brenneman - Mannheim, PA

Bike: UDC 54" Penny

Riding High Wheels: With a background of unicycle riding, I came across a used 48" Penny and thought it would be fun.  After a few years I upgraded to a new 54" model, keeping the older one to have a "backup".  I have certainly enjoyed riding and the excitement of onlookers!


Achievements: I am a regular at our local Girls On The Run 5k event to ride in front of the group.  I certainly enjoy being a part of such a great organization that encourages our kids to grow and develop in healthy ways!

Job: Orthopedic Surgeon

Misc: Aside from Penny riding and both mountain and road cycling, I am a regular marathoner/ultramarathoner.  I have at least 24 races of at least marathon distance, and counting.  As a joint replacement surgeon, I jokingly tell my patients that I'm running away from arthritis...

#5 - Fidel Enrique  Irizarry- Rosario, Puerto Rico 

Bike: Standard High Wheel 54' Racer

Riding High Wheels: I first rode a Highwheel on 2016 and found the nut that was missing in My sports life.

Inspiration: I first rode a Highwheel on 2016 and found the nut that was missing in my sports life.

Achievements: Champion of the championship races held in Sedalia Missouri 2019 , 4th place on The European Championships in Belgium 2022,have competed on very important races like Sweden 3 Days, Triathlons in Puerto Rico, and The National Clustered Highwheel Race on Frederick MD.

MiscActive Wheelmen member since 2019. Completed 2 Century rides. Rode around the Island of Puerto Rico in 4 days.

#6 - Eric Cameron - Frederick, MD 

BikeStandard High Wheel 54' Racer

Riding High WheelsMy true passion for the high wheel bicycle began while in attendance at the 2014 National Cluster Spires High Wheel Race. As I sat perched in the window of Brewer’s Alley drinking an oatmeal stout, I became fascinated watching those crazy pedalers go round and round on those funny looking bicycles. While I can’t say for sure if the libations were in fact the driver, I can tell you that there was a serious conversation had with my wife about participating in this unique event. Fast forward one year and what once was a thought, became a reality. About a month prior to the 2015 race, my good friend, Sheryl Kennedy, indicated that her husband had endured an injury and would not be riding in the race that year. In addition to offering up the bike (Thanks Mike), she also offered to teach me how to get up and ride the penny farthing if I wanted to sign up for the race. A little hesitant at first, I took her up on her offer and was up on the 50” wheel before long. Since that bone shaking ride, I have been riding off and on for 8 years.

Inspiration: I have always been amazed with those that have the imaginative gene as well as the know-how to bring a vision to life. Their enthusiasm and thirst to create not only keep them forever young, but also inspire others to try to do things outside their comfort zone. For that reason, I sincerely enjoy hanging out every year with this talented and assorted group of High Wheelers. More than that, they are genuinely just good people. Rode 450 miles across the state of Iowa on a high wheel bicycle in the 2017 RAGBRAI

-       2 X National Cluster Spires High Wheel Champion (2015 & 2016)

Achievements: Rode 450 miles across the state of Iowa in the 2017 RAGBRAI on a high wheel bicycle. National Clustered Spires High Wheel Champion (2015 & 2016).

Job: Supervisory Engineer overseeing the Operations & Maintenance for Fort Detrick, MD

Misc: Part of a great team of high wheel riders from Maryland that raced in the 2023 Sweden 3 Day race.

#7 - Thomas Hawkins - Wallingford, PA 

Bike: Standard High Wheel 54' Racer

Riding High Wheels: I blame Nick Ackermann for lending me his Penny Farthing to ride in the 2016 Clustered Spires race. I broke ten spokes, the handlebars and the seat post, and I was totally hooked.

Inspiration: TEAM TOAD !

Achievements: Rode the RAGBRAI ride across Iowa a couple of times on the Penny Farthing, and accidentally, down some stairs in Frederick.

Job: Retired Gardener

MiscOther death wish hobbies  include playing the banjo and cave exploration.  As the oldest, weakest and creakiest rider in the Clustered Spires Highwheel Race I am determined to win the Superanuatted Old Geezer category before I die.



#8 - Sheryl Kennedy - Hagerstown, MD

Bike: Standard High Wheel 54' Racer

Riding High WheelsMy husband inspired me to try it and Eric Rhodes challenged me with "if I start the race, will you ride?" Been riding ever since.

InspirationAngie Long inspired me when she was still racing, and Tomas Hawkins and I have had a friendly competition going for several years since.  But there are many, Jeanne Rhodes and her husband Eric who have putting this race on for many years now are inspiring in their perseverance to provide a quality event for all involved.  And a quality event it is.

Achievements: I have won the women's division of the Clustered Spires High Wheel Race six of the seven years they have held the race.  Came in third overall once as well, although officially I tied for third, with two others, as the 0.4 mile laps are counted to provide placement, unfortunately I missed another lap by less than 50 feet.

JobI am a retired Army Environmental Health Officer and currently work as an analyst.

MiscWe have a team going to the Sweden four day race this year.  The actual races are at the end of June so haven't achieved finishing that yet, but have enjoyed the preparation with nearly the whole group riding in the 6 Pillars ride in Cambridge Md.


#9 - Brian Caron - Hagerstown, MD 

Bike: Standard High Wheel 54' Racer

Riding High Wheels: I've been interested in bicycles all of my life.   In the early 2000's I began collecting and restoring some BMX and Muscle Bikes.  From there I got into 1950s balloon tire bikes.   I eventually began researching some older pre-war and antique bicycles after finding an 1899 Columbia Chainless.  My search began in 2008 to locate a suitable original High Wheel after Ann and Jim Baker let me try theirs out.  I ended up buying an 1882 Columbia from a Wheelmen in the Allentown area via EBay in January 2009.  With the help of Mel Short I was able to get the bike rideable and began riding regularly in the spring of 2009!

Inspiration: I have raced every Clustered Spires race since it's inception and have had opportunities each year to meet the most interesting and unique people associated with the race.   It has always been more of a social event for the most part, where you can meet people from other parts of the Country (and even other Countries) that share a similar interest in cycling and its roots.   One of the most memorable has been Bill Soloway, who raced (and continues to) with a donor heart from a transplant operation he had in 2015!

Achievements:  I rode in the very first Frederick race with the hopes of just finishing.   With some training and dedication I was able to actually win the race two years back to back in 2013/1014!   My claim to fame is that I've been the only racer to win the race on an original 1882 Columbia bicycle.    With the trend leaning toward faster racers and more exotic equipment I feel certain that I will continue to hold that honor for many years to come.   In addition to racing, I have participated in other high wheel exhibitions including riding on the Atlantic City Boardwalk for the Miss America parade in 2018 and 2019. I ride in local parades and love to share the history of the antique bikes at local events as well. I answered the call and am attending Sweden 3 days race in 2023.

Job:  I am a Production Manager at Tri-State Printing in Hagerstown MD

Misc: I have been a bicycle enthusiast all of my life.  As a teenager I was heavily into BMX Freestyle where I competed for several years on the East Coast earning State Championship Titles  in Flatland and ramp riding through 1987!    In the late 1990s I began working with a local group of BMX families to establish Hagerstown BMX Track in the summer of 1999.  I have since ridden many disciplines of cycling from BMX, Mountain Bike, Dual Slalom, and even a Downhill MTB race at WISP many years ago.   My other hobby is vintage Volkswagen Buses.  I have driven them since I was 16.  Between the bicycles and Volkswagens I have met so many great people from all over the country that I have forged great relationships with that continue to this day.

#10 - Paul Salter - Philadelphia, PA 

Bike: Standard Highwheel  Racer 54"

Riding High Wheels: I started riding a high wheel in a 2018 Philadelphia vintage bicycle ride.

Inspiration: As a musician/human being, I am inspired by Scott Joplin, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, William Blake, William Butler Yeats, Andre Breton, Bowie and Lou Reed.

Achievements: I appeared in an episode of M. Night Shyamalan's Apple Plus show "Servant" riding a highwheel. I purchased at an Allentown Pennsylvania bike swap the red high wheel bike that won the 2017 Clustered Spires Race was a red highwheel  that was ridden by the race winner Pele. 

Job: Musician/attorney

Misc: I am a musician and I play hot jazz dance music in a band called Parlour Noir.

#11 - Eric Norris - Columbus, OH

Bike: Standard High Wheel 54" Tourer

Riding High WheelsII started riding my 48 " Boneshaker (made in Cleveland Oh) in 1972 in the Bexley, Ohio 4th of July Parade. Through the years learned several tricks to do for the spectators at the parade. That participation continued for 50 years and last year was named the Grand Marshal of that parade! Over the years I have owned a total of 3 Highwheel bikes, and currently have the original 48" Boneshaker ( which underwent a complete restoration the beginning of this year). My other Pennyfarthing is the 54" Standard Highwheel Tourer which I am racing with today.

Inspiration: The bikes themselves inspire me to ride because they are so unique to ride. No flats, no chains, no derailleurs to worry about, just pedal on peacefully.

Job: Retired from Nationwide Insurance. And cycling of all sorts is now my playtime.

Achievements: I started riding my Pennyfarthing in a parade as a space filler.  Just jumped into a gap and provided some entertainment fo the spectators.  Everyone loves the big bikes so I was happy to make them happy. This will be my 51st year in that parade.

 MiscI did The Blue Streak Time Trial this year at Wright Patterson Air Force Base ( where they kept the Aliens ) covering the 10 mile loop in 44 minutes finishing first out of three Pennyfarthings entered.

#12 - Nyle Blanck - Milford, CT

Bike: Penny Farthing Dan Custom Made 54”

Riding High Wheels: I grew up around my dad collecting and restoring antique cars from the early 1900s. As a teenager, unable to afford a brass car of my own, I wanted to collect something more financially attainable. I enjoyed riding bicycles and unicycles and found out many early car companies initially started as bicycle companies in the late 1800s. I began collecting car company related bicycles and it expanded to any bike from the 19th century that piqued my interest. It gradually turned into a full blown obsession that has become my identity in all aspects of who I am- from my personal through my professional life.

Inspiration: My 2 year old son Stanley inspires me to be the best high wheel racer and human I can be.

Achievements: The first time I participated the National Clustered Spires High Wheel Race, I competed on an 1886 Columbia Expert. I was very proud to be riding an original bike compared to the people around me on modern replicas. As the competitive riders lapped me, that pride quickly dissipated. I had my order in for my own Penny Farthing Dan high wheel not long after that and I have not looked back. I still ride my original bikes around town and for Wheelmen events, but I am now proud to be representing Dan Bolwell

Job: Orthodontist

Misc: I am Vice Commander of the The Wheelmen national antique bicycle group. I have completed several century rides (100 miles), on both modern and antique bikes, including high wheels. My goal for the year 2023 is to bike a total of 5000 miles and I am currently on track to pass that goal.

#13 - James Hodges - Purcellville, VA

Bike: Standard High Wheel

Riding High Wheels: Started in 2014.  I registered for the CLUSTERED SPIRES RACE and thought I netter get a high wheel to train on about a month before the race.

Inspiration: It's a great workout.

Achievements: I registered for the Clustered Spires Race back around 2014.  I got a penny farthing about a month before the race, practiced, and have ridden ever since. It's a great workout.

Job: Retired public school teacher and currently a bike mechanic with a mobile bike repair business named Mobile Bike Repair.

Misc: I  joined a local group to race in Sweden this summer.  I have raced each year the Clustered Spires Race has been held since 2014.  competed several times in the Tour Divide Race from Canada to Mexico.  Also, the Invitational Iditarod Trail Race through Alaska. I have raced across Northern Georgia.

#14 - Steve Weddles - Greencastle, PA 

Bike: TBD, possibly custom built by Steve Weddles Cycles

Riding High Wheels: First rode a 48" RBR at Eric's house three days before the first Clustered Spires race.

Inspiration: The whole crazy group is an inspiration. Lots of exceptional souls.

Achievements: I've built five bikes from scratch to date and have raced three of those. More on the drawing board to be constructed as time allows.

Job: I make stuff.

Misc:  Two time JFK 50mi finisher. Lots of competitive bike stuff- BMX racing / freestyle contests, mountain bike racing....

Sometimes I build (and play in) race cars. I like stuff with wheels. I once stood where Robbie Knievel rolled his bike through the crowd on his way to jump, and said "hi" to him. My favorite cookies are fig newtons.

#15 - Paul Norris - Redington Beach, FL 

Bike: Pennyfarthing Dan 56"

Riding High Wheels: I have been riding Penny Farthings for about 8 years. 

Inspiration: Saw a post on Facebook with a photo of a Penny Farthing which prompted me to research and ultimately purchase my first machine

Achievements: Rode across Florida and visit schools to talk about the high wheel

Job: Retired high wheel rider

Misc: Discovered High Wheel on FB which prompted researching the history of the bicycle. Eight years ago I bought my first High Wheel and to this day I enjoy riding around St. Petersburg, FL. I enjoy the genuine excitement, smiles and thumbs up when people see me riding around town.  I rode Florida coast to coast from Redington Beach to St Augustine. I am excited to participate in my third race in Frederick, which is a favorite for the community involvement, the race directors Eric and Jeanne and camaraderie amongst racers!

#16 - Shayne Boucher - Frederick, MD

Bike:  Standard High Wheel 50"

Riding High WheelsWith three month's riding under my belt before racing in my first high wheel race in 2018, I have since ridden the high wheel in many places, met many fascinating people and starred in many impromptu videos! 

InspirationOrdinary riders from around the world are inspiring and it is fun to be part of a very small and unique group of Penny Farthing riders globally. Many Ordinary riders have a pretty unique streak of independence and derring-do and, more often than not, are of an engineering mindset, which I greatly appreciate given my scientific background.

Achievements: I am the Potomac Wheelmen State Captain with 40+ members and we participate in several bike events including the DC 4th of July parade, Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival parade and Kris Kringle Christmas parade. I have ridden two century (100 mile) rides on my Penny Farthing. I have also ridden club rides (32 miles) in the Tour de Frederick and Lifeline 100 in Annapolis. 

My most memorable ride was when Robin and I flew to Puerto Rico, stayed a week with Fidel and his wife Finnie and rode around PR on high wheels. We are looking forward to flying to Sweden and participating in the Sweden 3 Days high wheel race.

For vacation, my wife and I like to do multi-day adventure bike trips on our tandem bike and we have ridden on Erie Canal Towpath, Great Allegheny Passage, C&O Canal Towpath, Michelson Trail, Tampa Bay and more to come.

Job: Staff R&D scientist with 20+ years of experience and Gold Bicycle Friendly Business Bike Coordinator at Thermo Fisher Scientific in Frederick.

Misc: I have a doctorate in neuroscience with extensive cell biology experience, author of research articles and book chapters, and launched a multitude of commercialized life science products. Currently serve as a subject matter expert helping to launch new state-of-the-art research tools that enable researchers and clinicians to develop innovative cell and gene therapy treatments. Since 2015, I have become a highly engaged local, state and federal bike advocate, a certified cycling instructor and local bike educator. I helped secure approval of Frederick County Bikeways & Trails Plan and successfully petitioned to have bike lanes installed on New Design Road. I have taught bike classes in local elementary schools, churches, businesses and government agencies. In addition, I have conducted high wheel riding workshops with over 20 people successfully learning to ride a high wheel.


#17 - Jean Weddles - Hagerstown, MD 

Bike: Standard Highwheel  48" 

Riding High Wheels: After several years of watching my brother and fiancé race Penny's , my fiancé gave me one for Christmas ! I've been riding the high wheeler  for about 6 years.

Inspiration: I love to get together with other Penny riders, the social aspect of the event is what I enjoy the most. All of the riders are just awesome people and are an inspiration to me. My brother and my fiancé definitely inspire me everyday. They are both so talented on a bike and have helped me always. I am  so grateful to have them by my side and to get to race with them in this awesome event!

Achievements: I've raced in the Clustered Spires High Wheel Race for two years. The first race was in 2019 on my 40" Victory high wheel. I then, updated to my new 48" Standard High Wheel which I raced last year.  I've been known to wear a self designed victorian hat over my helmet lol. It will make another appearance this year!  I will also be racing the Penny abroad this year in the Sweden3Days race!

Job: I am an Elementary Physical Education teacher. I just finished my 26th year of teaching.

MiscI love doing this race! The spectators are just the BEST!! I ride several different bikes and the Penny is my favorite. I name them all: Deborah, Chevy, Beatrice, Ruby, Rose Elizabeth...This year,  I will be racing Julius Victoria.

#18 - Dan Bernoske - Washington, DC  

Bike: Standard High Wheel 54" 

Riding High Wheels: I watched the 2016 National Clustered Spires High Wheel Race and knew I had to race the next year.  in 2017 I purchased a high wheel bicycle on Craig's List and learned how to ride a month before my first race.

Inspiration: I race for my dad.  He always encouraged me to get on my bike a ride.

Achievements: A resident of Capitol Hill, I enjoy the annual Tweed Ride.  The route brings me in front of the US Capitol Building, which is always enjoyable.

Job: I am a management consultant focused on sales & marketing solutions for my clients.

Misc: I grew up in Frederick, Maryland and spent my youth riding through the streets and country roads of the city and county.  My first organized rides were with the Wheel Base Bike Shop where I eventually trained and competed in low-level local USCF races.  My most recent cycling accomplishment was a 4-day, 200 mile ride through the Colorado Rockies.  I'll be happy to make it around the course without falling.

#19 - Nick Ackermann - Middletown, MD

Bike: Standard High Wheel 52"

Riding High WheelsI first tried one in 2005, and finally bought one in 2010. They were commonly referred to during my childhood in England, but I never got near one until I was nearly fifty (although I've ridden both short and tall unicycles since my teenage years, and my lifetime safety bicycle mileage is nearing 90,000).

InspirationI am inspired more and more by my fellow riders as I continue to get to know them better. They are driven overachievers in a wide variety of ways, and the most wondrous thing about this event is that it brought us all together in a stroke of good fortune that might never have happened otherwise.

Achievements: Really only that I've been in all the races except one year where I lent my cycle to Tom Hawkins and got him hooked on this event. The only noteworthy thing I've done in connection with the race is to design a few T-shirts celebrating our little collaboration, Team Toad. On safety bicycle and unicycle I've ridden down Mount Washington nonstop, and on safety bicycle I've ridden in 27 U.S. states.

Job: Milking cows, editing for a publisher, chauffeuring in antique Rolls Royces, driving 18-wheelers long-haul, drafting and design, and currently computer modeling. 

MiscApart from a few odd tidbits like once being tossed in the air by a bull, and riding a 6-foot unicycle in and out among the tables at a British Embassy reception dinner, a bit of skydiving, and a lot of caving, the main thing I'd want known about me is that I've kept a personal journal without missing a day for over 19,000 days (52 years; over 5 million words and about 2,000 illustrations). It fills 27 bound volumes (so far).

#20 - Brian Birkner - Chester, VA

Bike: Penny Farthing Dan

Riding High Wheels My High Wheel Journey began as a child. I loved old bikes when I was young and collected and tinkered throughout my years to adulthood. As I got older, my taste in bikes grew progressively older which led me to my first High Wheel bike that I bought in 2011. With that being said my High Wheel adventure has been running for 12 years, and I hope for many years to come.

InspirationAs a child, there was a Wheelman who rode in Christmas parades and also ran a bicycle shop that we used often. He turned into a great friend, mentor, and inspiration. Philip Eckman pushed me into being active in The Wheelmen. Phil was a great friend, and father, that gave many years of service to our country. He held great values, told wonderful stories, and cared for many. His time in the Military earned him 2 Silver Stars, and 1 Bronze Star, which earned him a final resting place in Arlington National Cemetery. If it wasn't for Phil, my path in life would have been much different. I still find him an inspiration after his passing.

Job: I am the Operations Lead for Additive Manufacturing for a company involved in the transportation industry. Or better known as 3D printing.

Achievements: Riding a high wheel has brought great pleasure to my life, like many. The joy of creating smiles, and sharing smiles is a great gift among the hobby.  Attending different events to engage and share with people has been a great opportunity as well. If you have an interest in riding "high", I would "highly" recommend you get on a High Wheel bicycle!


#21 - Avery Blanck - Orange, CT


Riding High Wheels




#22 - Greg Boll - Ephrata, PA

Bike: Victory 52"

Riding High Wheels:  I got my start riding high wheels in 2016 when I found a 36" Coker on Craigslist.  That was quickly replaced by a replica 48", then a 51", and finally the bike he is riding now, a 52" Victory.

Achievements: I I got my start riding high wheels in 2016 when I found a 36" Coker on Craigslist.  That was quickly replaced by a replica 48", then a 51", and finally the bike he is riding now, a 52" Victory.

Job: Custom leather shop / Saddle maker - usually the horse variety but some bicycle saddles too.

Misc:  Much of my free time is spent riding either horses, motorcycles, or bicycles. Technology is changing rapidly which has forced our hobbies to evolve too.   I am especially drawn to (and tend to collect) things that are handmade works of art by elite craftsmen, no matter what generation they lived.  These items don't come up for sale very often which creates an addictive thrill in the hunt.

#23 - Todd Boyer - Manchester, PA

Bike: 50” Handmade - Inspired by the “Standard High Wheels” design with some fabrication limitation adjustments.

Riding High Wheels: Less than 1 year ride time – Inspired by this race – long time bicycle enthusiast.

Achievements: Inventors and Fabricators of the world. People who make things with their hands are amazing. You can watch all the YouTube videos you want but YOU must make the part. Mine took more than 2.5 years from concept design to a ridable prototype.

Job: Electrical Panel Shop Manager

Misc: Beard - How long did it take? – 7 years and then some…

#24 - Andreas Carduck - Mönchengladbach, Germany

Bike: Standard High Wheel

Riding High Wheels: There is a tv show in Germany, called cash or trash. In the background you can always see a beautiful old penny farthing and one day i decided that i want to have one like this. So i found SHW and started high cycling in 2020. Experienced maybe the first body front flip in my life, unintentionally and without water below.

Inspiration: Always looking for adventure, sports and nice community. The highwheel thing combines all perfectly.


Job: Construction worker, mainly scaffolding


#25 - Jill Cameron - Frederick, MD

Bike: 48" Victory or Standard High Wheel

Riding High Wheels: When my husband and I first moved to Frederick in 2014, we watched this amazing event through the windows of Brewer's Ally.  I was instantly hooked. While my husband participated in several races, it took me a few years to acquire a bike.  My first race was in 2018, and I had an amazing time! I am not the fastest, but I LOVE riding my highwheel (Ruby). My practice area of choice is Olivet cemetery in Frederick. I am excited to participate in my third race!

Inspiration:  I am inspired by my husband, Eric Cameron, and Sheryl Kennedy! I can't keep up with either, but they definitely inspire me:) I also enjoy riding with Jean Weddles. She is my highwheel buddy!

Achievements: Recently, a group of us rode 32 miles in an organized race in Cambridge! It was a blast. We are also headed to Sweden for the Sweden3Days event!

Job: I am an assistant principal here in Frederick at Monocacy Middle School!

Misc I love living in Frederick! The community is amazing.  Along with my love of riding bicycles, I also have a group of ladies that I meet with early in the morning to run through our amazing city!


#26 - Haig Colter - Bethesda, MD

Bike: 52" Victory

Riding High WheelsMy foray into the world of Penny Farthings is directly related to Eric Rhodes who sold me my first big wheel bike. I have been riding big wheel bikes / penny farthings for about 15 years.

Inspiration: Racing for fun

Achievements:  I have completed a high wheel century and have participated in the Great Knutsford Race in England which happens once a decade.

JobI work for a cybersecurity startup managing our relationships with other companies who are in our ecosystem of integrations

MiscI have participated in every Frederick Clustered High Wheel Race but one (business travel took me out of the country).


#27 - Melissa Eisdell - London, England 

Bike: Trott and Sons 50"

Riding High Wheels: I  have been riding Penny Farthings since 2019 when I joined the Penny Farthing Club in London. As a keen horse women since childhood, I discovered it was much like riding a horse, but one without a temperament. It is also a great way to experience the UK's urban and countryside landscapes, and indeed further afield, whereon it is important to remember the modern bicycles origins.

Achievements: I have 4 international caps playing Penny Farthing Polo at Ham Polo Club in London for the Penny Farthing Club, where I am a proficient striker. I am is also the current UK and European Female Penny Farthing Racing Champion. At the time of race, I will have competed in the Sweden3Days Championships (Sweden), whereon I will race in the UK Penny Farthing Championships (July), Trott and Sons Beachy Head World Hill Climb Championships (August), the European Championships Belgium (September) Pickwick Bicycle Club's Grand Ordinary Penny Farthing Race (September) and the Knutsford Great Race (September) in the UK.


Misc: I completed the Connemara Marathon in Ireland in April 2023, and will run the Loch Ness Marathon in Scotland in October 2023.

#28 - Hellen Frank - Smithburg, MD  

BikeStandard Touring 50”

Riding High Wheels: I’ve been riding high wheel bikes since 2014 when my husband bought me my very first one that Christmas.

Inspiration: My dad has always been my biggest fan and my greatest supporter. As I’ve gotten older, my husband, has taken over that role. He encouraged me to start participating in this event. Therefore, I’m racing for my dad and my husband, the two people who inspire me to ride higher.

Achievements: I’ve participated in this race since 2016. I’ve worked my way up from a 36” high wheel to a now 50” one. I’ve ridden a different size bike each year, but I think I’ve finally found one that suits me well. (Thanks to Eric Rhodes)

Job I am a registered nurse for Meritus Medical Center. Shout out to my girls on 4 South!

Misc: I also enjoy participating In the low wheel bike race. I have quite the collection of mini bikes including a tandem.

#29 - Matt Goodwin - Ashburn, VA 

Bike: Standard High Wheel Tourer 54"

Riding High Wheels: I stumbled across the National Clustered Spires High Wheel Race online several months ago and vowed on the spot I would drag my family out to see it when July rolled around. Shortly thereafter, I decided that with a little research and practice I could probably be IN the race.  Even though I've only been riding a few months, I am very excited to be participating in my first high wheel competition - actually, my first competitive bike race of any kind.

Achievements: I've always enjoyed cycling and hope to share this passion with my three young daughters, who often ask me to lift them up onto that tall saddle.

JobSince acquiring my bike, I've been practicing mounting, dismounting and turning left on the local elementary school track - it is left, isn't it?  On a few brave occasions I've ventured out in public and am delighted by the curious (sometimes concerned) reactions I elicit from up there.

Job: I work as an analyst for the government.


Misc: I grew up in Northern Virginia and live in Ashburn with my wife Natalia and our three daughters (my cheerleaders): Sofia, Victoria and Olivia. My other hobbies include gardening and tinkering on old cars.

#30 - Michele Hassanyeh - Middletown, MD


Riding High Wheels




#31 - John Heffernan - Katy, TX 

Bike: Standard Highwheel - 54" Racer

Riding High Wheels: Bought my first high wheeler a couple years ago, and have been hooked ever since. Don Zeeb, a farmer I worked for as a young man in Ann Arbor, Michigan was my inspiration.  He rode a high wheeler in the local parades, and I thought it was really far out.


Job: Business Development

Misc:  I just love the reactions I get from passers by when I ride my high wheeler around my hometown of Katy, Texas

#32 - Riley Hinegardner - Frederick, MD


Riding High Wheels:  Started high wheeling summer of 2021 and participated in my first race the summer of 2022 after encouragement from Sheryl Kennedy. I am now hooked and can’t wait to race again this year!





#33 - Mike Kennedy - Hagerstown, MD 

Bike: 50” Standard High Wheel

Riding High WheelsBegan at the urging of race director Eric Rhodes in 2009! Picked up a Sommerfield in England and rode The Great Knutsford Race in 2010.


Achievements: Have ridden the entire C&O, completed the Mackinac Island Century, competed in the 12-hour Calvin’s Challenge and completed a century at a Wheelman meet. This will be my 5th National Clustered Spires High Wheel Race.  

Job: Retired Army and a re-retired civilian orthopedic physician assistant.


#34 - Eric Knight - Berwyn, PA

Bike: Victory (Reproduction) 54"

Riding High WheelsMy grandfather rode a high wheeler so I became familiar with the hobby early on. Growing up I was lucky to have the founder of the Wheelmen, Bob McNair, as a neighbor down the street. When I was around 11 or 12 he taught me to ride emphasizing, "safety first".  So, I have been riding high wheelers for a life time, about 40 years.

InspirationI am inspired by fellow wheelmen who have recreated the glory days of early cycling.

Achievements I have completed a few high wheel century rides (100 miles in a day). I do my best to keep my rides uneventful and I am a big advocate for knowing the emergency dismount. On one ride my 130 something year old handle bar snapped off while I was pulling up for leverage to climb a hill-That didn't end well, but fortunately I wasn't moving very fast. I have participated in every one of the Frederick races except one. 

JobProperty Manager

Misc Served as Commander (president) of the Wheelmen antique bicycle club for four years from 2019- 2022. In 55 years the only other person to serve a 4 year term was my friend and mentor, Bob McNair, the original founder of the club. In 2017 I ran the 50th anniversary National Meet for the Wheelmen. Currently working with Bill Soloway to plan the 57th National meet next year 2024. One of my other hobbies is Curling, so I have a few unusual hobbies.


#35 - Nathan Latimer - Edinboro, PA

Bike:  Standard High Wheel Boneshaker 48"

Riding High Wheels: A customer came in and asked if we would sell the bike at my shop.  I said yes, as long as I was allowed to try and ride it.  That was about a year and a half ago.

Inspiration: My customers definitely inspired me to do this race.  I love when somebody comes in and wants to get set up for their first triathlon or other big bike event.  Its a great experience to be able to help the customer address some of their fears or concerns prior to the event, but its an even greater experience when that customer comes back to share the feeling of accomplishment and excitement back to the shop! My wife would be my biggest inspiration, her discipline/drive/pain-tolerance is incredible.  I have a blast watching her strive to achieve her goals....Plus she's an incredibly kind/pretty/amazing woman that tolerates me.

Achievements: Not really, I haven't been riding that long!! I have done one time trial and 2 parades and had a bunch of fun!!

Job:    I own/operate 814 Outdoor Sports in Edinboro, PA since 2020.  Prior to that, I was a drug and alcohol prevention specialist.

Misc2003 Times Magazine "Person of the Year"(US Army National Guard 2000-2008). One of  the most decorated competitive pie eaters in Crawford County, Pennsylvania. Have held numerous positions in local government.

#36 - Chris Meecham - Perkasie, PA


Riding High Wheels

Achievements:  Formerly a pro cyclist in the AirGas program, a long time member of the Bike Works p/b Fred Beans Elite Cycling Team, and an ambassador for BMC-Switzerland. Raced road, track, gravel, and mountain bike disciplines. A finisher of the 2021 Leadville 100 MTB race, and will return to the "Race Across the Sky" in 2023. Have completed several Penny Farthing track races at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center (Trexlertown Velodrome). 



#37 - Kyle Morris - Bordentown, NJ


Riding High Wheels




#38 - Gary Nabors - Laytonsville, MD

Bike: Standard Highwheels 52"

Riding High WheelsI met the Race Director Eric Rhodes through the Tweed Ride and Seersucker Social vintage-themed bike rides in Washington, DC which I organize.  I was intrigued by high wheel bikes and with Eric's help I was able to obtain one and learn to ride it. I raced in the Frederick High Wheel race for the first time in 2017.

Inspiration:  I have always believed that you should try everything at least once in life, because there are no second chances and I try to live by that creed.  Riding in a high wheel race is part of that mindset!

Achievements: I know I am not the fastest rider on the track, so I compensate by doing my best to wear period attire and make the race fun for the crowd. I once rode the 10-mile DC Bike Ride on my high wheel bike, and I was the only person there with a penny farthing! I was featured on local news broadcasts regarding that event.  I was featured in the Damascus, MD history museum, in their exhibit on transportation history.

Job: Exec in the biopharmaceutical industry; I am an immunologist and have worked in the vaccine industry for most of my professional career. I am the organizer of the Tweed Ride and Seersucker Social vintage-themed bike rides in Washington, DC.

Misc I am from Potomac, Maryland and now live on the historic 1860 Hawkins Farm in Laytonsville. The farm has a large restored barn built in 1896 which we now rent out for parties and weddings. My first bike was a purple Schwinn Sting-Ray.    


#39 - Gui Nelessen - Lambertville, NJ

Bike: Made in-house at Bikeworks in PA

Riding High WheelsThe guys at Bikeworks asked me if I would be interested in trying to make a few bikes with them. I said yes.

Riding now for a few years. We have had some fun racing high wheels at the velodrome in Trextlertown PA.

Inspiration: I aspire to ride all the bikes. Every last one of them.

Achievements: Team Captain of men's road program on the Bike Works p/b Fred Beans Elite Cycling Team. Former professional cyclist and rode on the United States National Track Cycling Team for five years. Four elite national championships, one masters national championship, and have fourteen national medals.

Job: Woodworker/bike racer

Misc I was (dressed as) the shark at Cross Vegas (an international Cyclo Cross Race). I am a 7 time national champion on the track. Currently helping to direct the Bikeworks road racing team.

#40 - Peter Nigra - Alexandria, VA 

Bike:  Rideable Bicycle Replica 54" Excelsior 

Riding High Wheels: I've always loved these bikes and one day decided it was finally time to get one. I've been riding since February 2022.

Inspiration: I'm inspired by the unbridled joy these bikes bring to all who see them. Bringing out the penny farthing means bringing out the smiles.

Achievements:  I still haven't killed myself so that's pretty good.

Job: Physician

Misc: I have three great kids, a lovely wife and one loveable English bulldog. This is my second bicycle race.

#41 - Mark Pope - New Ellington, SC

Bike: Standard High Wheel 50"

Riding High WheelsAs an adult, I resumed bicycle riding in 2007 while working at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. From time to time, I would see a video of someone riding a Penny Farthing. "Wow, that looks like fun," I would tell myself. Then, in 2018, I finally placed an order for one of Mr. Kippel's bikes. In August, that year, I came up from South Carolina for the 7th Race, picked up my new bike, stayed to watch, and decided on the spot, that I'd return to race in 2019. I had no idea that I would have to wait until 2022 for my first chance. But it was worth the wait.

Inspiration: I am inspired by the pure joy of riding and thank God above that I am blessed with the good health to ride and share this wonderful Time Machine with so many people.  Some measure performance in miles per hour, and some in miles per gallon. But we measure performance in smiles per mile. And no other machine on Earth does that better than a Penny Farthing.

Achievements: My favorite story is from August 11, 2018, the day of the 7th Race. A good friend, David Bryant, came with me to collect my bicycle. Neither of us had any idea what to expect. The whole day was magical. The City of Frederick, the local citizens, the visitors, and the races combined to make the best first impression of any place that I have ever experienced. Everyone we met treated us like we were old friends. I hope that I may help make this year's newcomers feel just as welcomed.

Job: Civil Design Engineer


#42 - Rocco Porreco - Frederick, MD


Riding High Wheels:  I'm a local Frederick guy, watched race since it began- compelled to ride. Had bad fall / injury while training for 2017 race.  You were kind enough to dedicate that race to me while I lay in hospital bed.  I'm returning to high wheel after nearly 6 year hiatus.   

Inspiration: I dedicate the race to my very supportive spouse Donna who reluctantly signed permission slip to race. 




#43 - Hakan Rhoten - Charles Town, WV 

Bike: High wheel built by father using metal from discarded Ikea furniture, a livestock hay ring, a purchased wheel and other old bicycles. 

Riding High Wheels: He has raced in the National Clustered Spires race in the past with his father. He has also raced Cyclocross, motocross and won several Jujitsu tournaments. He mountain bikes and swims a mile in the river regularly.

Achievements: Youngest racer to have participated in the race; was 9 years old in the 2014 race. He is very excited to get back to riding high wheels. 


MiscHakan grew up in the area living at old factory near Harpers Ferry WV ,on an island in the Potomac river and a house in Frizzleburg Md with electricity, running water and everything. 

#44 - Josh Rovner - Philadelphia, PA 


Riding High Wheels

Achievements: An elite bike racer since 2014 currently racing for the Bike Works p/b Fred Beans Elite Cycling Team. A tactical racer who can be counted on to do the hard work for his teammates.


Misc: . Pursuing a medical degree when not racing in some of the nation's biggest bike races.



#45 - Mike Schutta - Herndon, VA

Bike:  I have Pennys with a 48", 50" and 52" wheels. Haven't made a decision which one I'll be riding.

Riding High WheelsHave always enjoyed bicycling! Read a history of bicycling and decided I wanted to try to ride a high wheel in 2017. Bought my first high wheel that year. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Family thought I was nuts and would kill myself (they still do).  Spouse is resigned (always asks if my life insurance is current before I go out for a ride!?). I ride in the ‘senior” division.

InspirationHave many sources of inspiration.  Just wanted to try the race.

Achievements:  Learning how to ride got sporting at times. The center of gravity thing took a little while to figure out. Found out my nose sticks out further than the front edge of a regular bicycle helmet! (I use a mountain bike helmet with chin guard). Mainly ride in my neighborhood (have a couple of routes).  People (adults and kids), always smile (love those smiles!), wave, ask about the bike, give encouragement, expect to see me go by from time to time. Cars slow down, often let me have the right of way(!). Good feeling! Entered the race last year for the first time. Had a great time, did better than I expected. Trying again this year.

Job: Retired Management Consultant


#46 - David Skidmore - Charlotte, MI

Bike: RBR Boneshaker

Riding High WheelsI grew up on a bicycle. I still have the Schwinn Super Sport I got for my 18th birthday. I got a taste for unusual bicycles in the 90’s, and came across a Coker Wheelman and had to have it. I took over operations at the local bicycle shop in 2005 and purchased the Boneshaker.

InspirationI race for the sheer enjoyment I receive competing with these world-class cyclists!


Job: I work for Spartan Fire Chassis in Charlotte (pronounced shar-lot), Michigan. We are a manufacturer of custom fire apparatus chassis.  I have been employed there for 43 years and I currently work as an inside sales trainer and consultant.

 Misc: Getting married July 14th, 2023, to Wendy Copenhaver in beautiful Frederick MD!



#47 - Bill Smead - Berwyn, PA

Bike: UDC (Unicycle.com) 50"

Riding High Wheels: On a whim, purchased a UDC Penny Farthing (sight-unseen) in June 2020.  Although an uncontrolled dismount on the inaugural ride caused me to take 6 months off, I've been riding ever since.  I've ridden in 4 states and Washington, DC, usually on paved trails.  I've also ridden in 4 parades.  My other bikes get jealous.

Inspiration: I ride for the fun of it.  I am racing to try something new.  Thanks to my family for supporting this unique hobby.  If you hear cheering for "Crazy Uncle Bill", that's me.

Achievements: I recently logged my 1000th mile, mostly injury free. Mostly. I enjoy being a member of the Pennsylvania chapter of The Wheelmen.

Job: I work for a company which creates software for computer forensics and eDiscovery.

Misc: There is a rumor that I am the guy who dresses as the Moon Man for an MTV tribute band's shows.

#48 - Bill Soloway - Yardley, PA

Bike: Standard High Wheel - 56" Tourer

Riding High Wheels I always wanted to ride a High Wheel as a kid after seeing The Wheelmen ride in my hometown parade. After a life saving heart transplant in June of 2015, I was able to ride a bicycle again, something I never dreamt would be possible after living in Congestive Heart Failure for 2 years prior.  Walking 3 feet was a challenge, riding a bicycle was impossible. Ten weeks after transplant I was back to riding so I wanted to take my bicycle in to a “higher” level so I bought my first High Wheel bike and joined The Wheelmen. I have been riding 7 years now.

AchievementsI am the Pennsylvania and New Jersey State Captain for The Wheelmen antique bicycle club. I have ridden 3 Century rides on my High Wheel bicycle. I have ridden my High Wheel in the oldest Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia, the oldest Baby Parade in Ocean City, NJ and the Miss America “Show Us Your Shoes” Parade on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, NJ. I broke my arm learning to ride a High Wheel bike.

Job: I am the Executive Director of the Masonic Blood+Organ Donor Program of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. I organize blood drives throughout the Commonwealth and help members and their family members in need of life saving organ transplants.

InspirationAfter a life saving heart transplant in June of 2015, I was able to ride a bicycle again thanks to my heart donor James. I race to honor James and show that organ donation works. I hope to inspire others to become organ donors.


MiscBroke my arm learning to ride a High Wheel bicycle. Pennsylvania and New Jersey State Captain of The Wheelmen antique bicycle club. Have completed 3 Century rides on my High Wheel Bike. Have 8 High Wheel bicycles including an American Star which has the small wheel up front. My oldest bike is 1883.

#49 - Alex (aka Axel) Stephens - Hamilton, OH

Bike:  MK 4 52"

Riding High Wheels: I was curious about the high wheel bikes for some time. Played around on the computer looking up the history of the penny farthing and even stumbled across this gentleman named Timothy Wooi who lives in Malaysia who made his own penny farthing using bicycle parts we became fast friends. Having played around with unicycles since I was a kid it seemed like the next thing to  ride. I had seen one in Gatlinburg, Tennessee in front of Fanny Adams theater in 2014 and thought I could so ride one of these .One day I came home from work and not even a block away was a neighbor who had a old penny farthing outside riding it. I couldn't get my truck parked fast enough. I ran down the street and to My surprise! My neighbor allowed me to ride it. I was hooked..In 2019 I drove to Georgia picked one up put it together and have been riding it all over Hamilton OH where I come from ever since.



Job: I make axels for a conveyor roller company

Misc:  Love riding my penny farthing down hills ..Man these things fly!!

#50 - Howard Taylor - Frederick, MD 

Bike: Standard High Wheel

Riding High Wheels: Started after seeing the event four times then made the decision to ride.  Been riding all around Frederick for the past 6 years.  On my second bike now.


Achievements: Had three bikes at one time a couple years back and took them to display in Gettysburg for the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a veterans organization honoring those who served in the Union during the American Civil War. Was very interesting how well it was received at the historical encampment. Even taught someone of the guard to ride that day!

Job: I am with a company that built most of the wireless infrastructure for Verizon in the mid-Atlantic region.  I operate heavy equipment. Drive tractor trailer.  And now doing some specialty concrete work at the national zoo

Misc I had open heart surgery in 2000 so now this is my exercise.  Plus it leads to a lot of conversations with strangers.


#51 - Matt Thomas - Tuttle, OK

Bike: RBR excelsior standard

Riding High Wheels: Been riding about 10 years now.  I'm told it's because I refuse to grow up.  I had always found high wheels an interesting piece of machinery and history.  After reading about the Great Knutsford race and the race in Tasmania and reading about the inaugural Clustered Spires race in 2012, I simply had to get a bike.  The rest, as they say, is history.


Job: International man of mystery.


#52 - Dan Turner - Ottsville, PA

Bike: Bike Works custom high wheel; handbuilt the wheels

Riding High Wheels

Achievements: Previously placed 4th at the National Clustered Spires High Wheel Race, was second at the 2018 Lenape Scorcher High Wheel Race, and has raced Pennys on the velodrome at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center in Trexlertown, PA. 

Job: Partner at Bike Works, LLC and UCI Pro Mechanic for the Bike Works p/b Fred Beans Cycling Team



#53 - Finnea (aka Finnie) Waugaman - York New Salem, PA

Bike: 48” flea market special

Riding High Wheels: Dad purchased the penny farthing in the early 80’s at the Hershey antique auto swap meet.  The gentleman told him it was a practice bike.  The old timey bike complemented dad’s car collection.  As the bike kid, I got to ride it.  I had grown up with banana seats, sissy bars and 3 speeds.  After a header in the late 80’s the bike hung on the porch then lived at my brother's house.

Inspiration: YouTube.  We had gone to the 2022 race and I talked about restoring the bike.  YouTube targeted me with a video of a tire being mounted on the rim of a high wheeler.  I thought to myself, “I wasn’t to ride in the Frederick race before I’m too old to climb this thing."

Achievements: This is a race to restore the bike.  This bike has a lot of sins.  The best part about it is the wheels.  They are hollow and awesome. 

Job: For 35 years I was in label manufacturing.  This spring I quit to enter this race and work with my daughter on a building restoration.

MiscI enjoy brewing historic beverages.  My favorite is ginger beer.  I have also made Egyptian beer and kavass. We achieved 64 mpg in a diesel-powered MG Midget in the Green Gran Prix. While renovating my kitchen I found our college beer tab chain in the wall.  Of course, I sent it to pulltabarcheology.com.  41 feet of debachery.

#54 - Christopher Koch - Frederick, MD

Bike: RBR Excelsior standard 52"

Riding High Wheels: After attending last year's race with my family, I told my two kids, "Daddy might be able to do this!" So after looking for penny farthing bikes online, I took an introductory lesson with one of the racers (Shayne Boucher) a few months ago.  At the lesson I met tons of super friendly enthusiasts, and my interest was solidified. The Race Director Eric Rhodes has also been a great help and source of information.

Achievements: More and more common I'm hearing, "hey Mister! where'd you get the cool bike?" in my neighborhood.

Job: More and more common I'm hearing, "hey Mister! where'd you get the cool bike?" in my neighborhood.

Misc:  For years I have admired the racers' attire. I'm hoping to be able contribute by wearing my lederhosen during the race. I thoroughly enjoy celebrating my German heritage through travel to Oktoberfest in Munich and similar local festivals. I was once dubbed the "Bavarian Doughboy" for my love of pretzels and German bier. This event seemed like another good excuse to wear my lederhosen.