2022 Racer Bios


#1 - Per Olaf Kippel - Tomallila, Sweden

Bike: Standard High Wheel

Riding High Wheels

Achievements: 

Job:

Misc


#2 - Eric Cameron - Frederick, MD 

Bike: 53” Rocky Mountain High Wheel

Riding High WheelsMy true passion for the high wheel bicycle began while in attendance at the 2014 National Clustered 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 7 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.

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: I am slowly returning to cycling after a high wheel accident which left me with 2 cracked ribs and a punctured lung. While the hope is that my return to this great event is just like riding a bike, I now have a better appreciation for why the safety bicycle came about.


#3 - Thomas Hawkins - Wallingford, PA 

Bike: Standard Highwheel 54"

Riding High Wheels: I've been riding Penny Farthing bicycles for about eight exciting headlong years.

Inspiration: Fellow racer Nick Ackermann loaned me his penny farthing to ride in the 2015 race. I cracked the handlebars, broke ten spokes and sheared the seat post during the race, at which point I returned the machine to him and bought a beautifully strong Victory bike from another previous racer Keith Carter.

Achievements: I've ridden across Iowa twice on the Highwheel as part of the RAGBRAI ride. I enjoy organized rides with the Pennsylvania Wheelmen organization.

Job: Gardener

MiscI participate in a couple of other dangerous activities, including playing the banjo and exploring caves.

 

 


#4 - James Hodges - Purcellville, VA

Bike: Standard High Wheel

Riding High WheelsFirst started riding a high wheel because I had registered for this race and needed obtain one and start riding before my first race.

Achievements: 

Job: I have a mobile bike repair business named Mobile Bike Repair.

Misc: I have competed several times in the Tour Divide Race from Canada to Mexico.  Also, the Invitational Iditarod Trail Race through Alaska.


#5 - Sheryl Kennedy - Hagerstown, MD

Bike: Standard High Wheel 52" Touring bike

Riding High WheelsI started riding high wheel bikes on a dare.  My husband picked up the sport while I was deployed with the U.S. Army for a year.  On my return, I was not that interested in riding as they looked treacherous.  However, I told Eric Rhodes I would ride if he started/held a high wheel race.  I don't think I thought he would actually do it.  I started riding about three weeks before the very first Clustered Spires High Wheel Race and have been riding and racing in race ever since.

InspirationMy husband Mike who got me into this crazy sport, continues to inspire me daily.  We just competed in a half Ironman Triathelon Relay.  I am also riding for my Frederick fans.  At the first Clustered Spires High Wheel Race I wore two different rather loud knee-high wool socks and the crowd started cheering me on, saying "go socks".   Since then, I generally have kept to the sock theme each year, with rather loud knee-high socks.  Some of my fans have returned subsequent years.  I can still occasionally hear a "go socks" cheer, I hate to let them down.

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.

Job: Currently work as an environmental health analyst.  Retired from the U.S. Army with 25 years of service.  Was a Medical evacuation pilot and environmental science officer in the Army.

Misc: Riding Penny Farthing is almost as much fun as flying a helicopter.  I flew over 1000 hours flying medevac for the U.S. Army.  Blue Heelers rock, my favorite after work activity is going for a walk with my Australian Cattle Dog - Bailey.  I am riding here today with my husband Mike, who got me into this crazy sport.

 


#6 - Daniel Gohlke - Frederick, MD 

Bike: 2017 Standard Highwheel

Riding High WheelsA year or two after I moved to Frederick in 2013 I volunteered at the race and was pretty much hooked right away. I knew I wanted to eventually buy one and race it. My first race was in 2017; I finished 3rd behind Eric and Kippel (1st).

Inspiration: I get most of my inspiration these days from my kids, 6yo and 4yo, both boys. I try to feed off of their endless energy.

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: Software engineer at a tech company

MiscI used to race bikes a lot. I won one ceiterium once, which was pretty exciting. I also have a handful of other podium placements, but only one win. The race I remember the most was Dirty Kansa, a 212 mile gravel race through the Flint hills of Kansas. These days, most of my miles are on my cargo bike taking the kids to school and preschool. Ocasdionally I get out to the watershed for a mountain bike ride. In my spare time, which I don't have in great quantities, I'm usually working on the house. Just as the pandemic was setting in we closed on a house that needs a lot of love.


#7 - Martin Baechler - Winchester, VA

Bike: Dan Bolwell Bespoke

Riding High Wheels: I've been riding for 6 or 7 years. I was in Frederick on a previous race day and knew within a nanosecond of seeing the racers that I had to do it myself.

Inspiration: Because it's brilliant fun!

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 an orthopaedic surgeon in Winchester, Virginia.

Misc: I also ride a unicycle!


#8 - Shayne Boucher - Frederick, MD

Bike: 52" Pastel Blue Standard Highwheels Racer

Riding High WheelsAfter watching the National Clustered Spires High Wheel race over the years, I decided that I HAD TO ride a high wheel. in 2018, after a short lesson by Larry Black at Mt Airey Bikes, I spent a month learning how to ride the high wheel in the streets. Then I acquired a 48" black Standard Highwheels tourer and quickly put in three month's worth of riding before participating in my first high wheel race in 2018.

InspirationOrdinary riders around the world are inspiring and it is fun to be part of a small group of Penny Farthing riders. I find that many Ordinary riders are pretty unique with a streak of independence and derring do and, more often than not, are of an engineering mindset, which I greatly appreciate given my science background.

Achievements: I am often confused with Howard Taylor, another Penny Farthing rider in Frederick as we both like to ride around town and we both own pastel blue Standard Highwheels bikes. However, there is no mistaking that Howard is much taller than I am and he rides a 56" high wheel! I have ridden two century rides on my Penny Farthing - Bike MS ride in Delaware and Mackinac Island in Michigan.  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 and we stayed a week with fellow high wheeler Fidel Irizarry and his wife Finnie. We had met earlier in Sedalia, MO at a Wheelman Meet and we bonded over high wheel racing. The highlight of the Puerto Rico trip was riding on a high wheel with Fidel through old San Juan to raise money and awareness for a community cancer treatment center.

Job: Staff research & development scientist at Thermo Fisher Scientific

Misc: By day, I am a mild-mannered, soft-spoken scientist.

 

 


#9 - Dan Bernoske - Washington, DC  

Bike: Standard High Wheel 54" Black

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: This year I'm racing 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.  Today, I'll be happy to make it around the course without falling.


#10 - Steve Weddles - Greencastle, PA 

Bike: Likely something I’ve built, though I have a Standard High Wheel in the quiver.

Riding High Wheels: A lifelong BMX guy, mountain biker, and road cyclist, I got involved riding pennies a few days before the first Clustered Spires race, on a borrowed (and hastily reassembled) RBR.

Inspiration: My primary motivation to continue doing this race, year after year, is spending time with the incredible group of people this event brings together. I can't imagine any other way that this mix of personalities, eccentricities, and amazing skills would end up in the same place. I consider a lot of these folks to be some of my best friends. It's always of interest to me how each of us, in our cycling journey, ended up on a high wheel.

Achievements: Shortly after riding a high wheel bike for the first time, I began building my own. To date I have built five different bikes in various configurations and raced them most years.

Job: I make stuff.

Misc:  I used to be a lot taller.


#11 - Matt Tester - Surrey, United Kingdom 

Bike: Unicycle.com 54”

Riding High WheelsHaving seen one or two on UK’s annual London to Brighton veteran car run as a child eventually bought one in 2016. Never looked back. It’s knowing when to get off that’s important...

Inspiration: The crowd and all those people who ‘have a go at stuff’. You’ve only got one life, “Don’t waste it.” I do it purely for fun and to get to the final…

Achievements: Several London to Brighton runs for various charities. Raced in London, Oxford and entered for the next Knutsford race whenever that is. Raced here 2016 and 2018. And the Beachy head World Championship hill climb.

Job: Work in Schools

Misc: Also have a 1929 Ford Model A racer with a flathead V8 and 1920 Indian wall of death bike that takes a lot less effort to ride..


#12 - Brian Caron - Hagerstown, MD 

Bike: Standard High Wheel 54"  RED

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 1800's era 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.

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.


#14 - Jill Cameron - Frederick, MD

Bike: 48" Victory

Riding High Wheels: When my husband and I first moved to Frederick in 2014, we sat in the window of Brewer's Alley and watched the high wheel race! I immediately fell in love and knew this was something I really wanted to try! While my husband was able to acquire a high wheel and participate in several races, it took me a little longer. In 2017 I purchased my bike (Ruby), and I participated in the 2018 race. It was a BLAST! I wasn't the fastest, but I certainly had fun!

Inspiration: My husband, Eric Cameron, inspires me. He trains hard (when he is not injured) and LOVES riding! He has ridden across Iowa on his high wheel...something I NEVER see myself doing! Sheryl Kennedy is also an inspiration. She is pretty impressive on the high wheel!

Achievements: None really. I guess I technically came in second for women in 2018! However, Sheryl had lapped me several times!

JobI am an assistant principal at Monocacy Middle School.

MiscI am originally from Idaho, and I met Eric when I was living and working in Washington State where he was stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base. We married in June of 2014, packed up, and moved to Frederick in July. I was nervous about moving across the country, but I quickly fell in love with this city! It has definitely become home for us, and we only live a few block from this amazing high wheel bike event:) While I love riding my bikes, I also am an avid runner. I enjoy running around Frederick in the early morning with my running friends. Frederick is a beautiful, fun place to live, and a great place for biking and running!

 


#15 - Jean Weddles - Hagerstown, MD 

Bike: Standard Highwheel  48" Touring bike from Sweden

Riding High Wheels: I grew up in the 80's freestyle era watching my brother and fiancé Brian shredding on the halfpipe in my back yard.  I've always cheered them on through all of their bike endeavors. It wasn't until much later I really became interested in riding bikes myself.  Both my brother and fiancé got into riding high wheels later in life and of course I needed one too!  Brian bought me my first Penny for Christmas (40" Victory) in 2017. I raced this bike in 2018. The next year I upgraded to a 48" Standard Highwheel Penny. I 've been riding Penny's for almost 5 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 started as the "water girl" for my brother and fiancé' as they raced. I then raced my 40" Victory bike in 2018 for the first time. I made the final that year. This will be my 2nd year in the race, and I will ride my new 48" Penny.  I ride a variety of bikes, but the Penny is by far my favorite! It is such a social bike. Everyone comments, asks questions, smiles, waves, hollers or beeps as we ride through town. It's a blast! I've been named the "Big Bike Girl" by some :)

Job: I've taught elementary school Physical Education for 25 years.

Misc: I do name my bicycles...I will be racing Julius Victoria (VonSven) this year :)


#16 - Paul Salter - Philadelphia, PA 

Bike: Standard Highwheel  Racer 54"

Riding High Wheels: I started riding high wheels in 2018 to promote my jazz band "Parlour Noir."  Our first cd was called "Penny-Farthings from Heaven."

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: I am an attorney by trade and a song and dance man by necessity.

Misc: I am an attorney who, for sanity sake, is also a dance teacher  and musician.


#17 - Fidel Enrique - Rosario, Puerto Rico 

Bike: Standard High Wheel 54' Racer

Riding High Wheels: Wanted to feel what people from the past felt and experienced.

Achievements: The memories and great friends that I have been able to enjoy with My family is reason enough to be grateful.

Job: Retired

Misc: From the beautifully island of Puerto Rico. A "jibarito" that never knows when to stop.


#18 - James (JP) O'Donnell - Powell, OH

Bike: Penny Farthing Dan 54in

Riding High WheelsMy father-in-law Eric Norris got me started riding one about 6 years ago. Since then, I have purchased 2 of my own, and have ridden over 1000 miles on my high wheelers.

Inspiration

Achievements: I rode in a ride to end cancer last year, the ride was 57 miles and it raised money to help end cancer.

Job: Database Administrator

 

Misc: I enjoy riding my penny farthing around town, I will commute to work on it occasionally. I enjoy seeing people's reaction to it as I ride by.


#19 - Eric Norris - Columbus, OH

Bike: Standard High Wheel 54" Red

Riding High WheelsI got my first 48" Ordinary in 1972, a Rideable Replica Boneshaker when they were made in Cleveland Ohio. I still have it today and use it for my "Trick Bike". I started riding in the Bexley, Ohio 4th of July Parade in 1972 and have continued that to present day! My second Ordinary was a 52" SHW and thought I could go bigger so I purchased another SHW 54" which I will be riding today.

InspirationRiding in parades inspire me! It is nice to show what bikes were like back in the 1800's. The crowds of people and other riders will push you to do Non-Ordinary things on a Penny Farthing, some of which were learned DURING the parade themselves.

Achievements: This is my 50th year of riding a High Wheel bike. I didn't ride much other than parades in the early years. Today's modern High Wheel being lighter and faster, they are such a joy to ride. No flats to fix, no gears to change, and sitting upright is so comfortable.

JobI am now a retired insurance claim auto adjuster. My time is now spent riding various cycling genres (road, mountain, highwheel)

 

Misc


#20 - Paul Norris - Redington Beach, FL 

Bike: 

Riding High Wheels: I have been riding Penny Farthings for 6 years. 

Inspiration

Achievements: 

Job

Misc:  This will be my second High Wheel Race


#21 - Hellen Frank - Smithburg, MD  

Bike: 52” Rideable Replica

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 husband inspires me to ride higher. He’s always by my side supporting me with any crazy adventure or hobby I want to pursue.

Achievements: I worked my way up from riding a 36” to 48” to now a 52” high wheel. I’ve only fell off once….once is enough.

JobI am a registered nurse for Frederick Health Hospital.

Misc


#22 - Bill Soloway - Yardley, PA

Bike: Standard High Wheel 

Riding High WheelsI started riding High Wheels after my heart transplant 7 years ago. Two years prior to my transplant, I was in congestive heart failure and never thought I would ride a bike ever again. I couldn't even walk up two steps let along walk 100 feet. 10 weeks after transplant I was riding my road bike 25 miles thanks to my donor James! I then decided that I would take my passion for cycling to a "Higher" level!

AchievementsI am the Pennsylvania and New Jersey State Captain for The Wheelmen antique bicycle club. Have ridden two Century rides (100 miles in one day) on my High Wheel. Will be riding a third at The Wheelmen meet this year in Goshen, Indiana. Have ridden my High Wheel in the Miss America parade in Atlantic City, NJ, Have also ridden in Philadelphia's Thanksgiving Day Parade the oldest in the country and the Ocean City, NJ Baby Parade which is also the oldest in the country.

InspirationI race today to honor my heart donor James and all those awaiting a lifesaving solid organ transplant. Donate Life

Job

 

Misc


#23 - 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!

Inspiration

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...


#24 - Bruce Gerson - Frederick, MD

Bike: Ridable Replica Bone Shaker

Riding High Wheels: I got started riding Penny Farthings after being a spectator the second year of the race. I was so blown away that 1) these bikes were still around, and 2) there was a race in my town for it! I have been riding on and off for about 4 years now.

Inspiration: What inspires me to ride a Penny Farthing is how much people enjoy seeing one around town and also how much of a blast it is to ride.

Achievements: I once got my shoelace suck in the crank while riding, the longer I rode my shoelace got tighter and tighter. I had no choice but to fall over on some nearby grass.

JobI am currently a school bus driver for Frederick County Public Schools.

Misc: I co-own my penny farthing with a dear family friend who is a big supporter of the race but refuses to try to ride it.


#26 - Mike Kennedy - Hagerstown, MD 

Bike: 60” 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.

Inspiration:

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 fourth Clustered Spires ride.

 

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

 

Misc


#27 - Eric Knight - Berwyn, PA

Bike: Victory (Reproduction) 

Riding High WheelsI was introduced to high wheel bikes and the Wheelmen through my Grandfather who was an early member. By good fortune I ended up being a neighbor of the founder of the Wheelmen, Bob McNair. He taught me to ride a high wheeler in the early 1980s. That means I have been riding for about 40 years ( which is impossible because I'm only 39!)

InspirationCertainly I am inspired by my Grandfather who used to do tricks on his High Wheeler and had his last ride at the age of 95 (may I be so lucky). Bob McNair (Founder of the Wheelmen)  was a big influence on me as a mentor and teaching me about bicycle history. Thomas Stevens was the first person to ride a bicycle across the US in 1884 and then around the world through 1887 (it was a High Wheeler) . I am inspired by his spirit of adventure and dream of recreating some of his journeys.

Achievements I have ridden 2 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. 

Job: I am a property manager/ real estate developer. In 2018 I was elected Commander of the Wheelmen antique bicycle club and I am finishing up my final year as the head of the club.

Misc: In the past few years I have written three (3) articles on antique bicycles and riding that were features in Silent Sports Magazine. In the winter I trade my high wheeler for curling shoes and a broom to compete on the ice at the Philadelphia Curling Club. One year the Frederick Tourism Brochure had me on the cover racing.

 


#28 - Gary Nabors - Laytonsville, MD

Bike: Standard Highwheels 52"

Riding High WheelsI met the Race Director Eric Rhodes at the D.C. Tweed Ride and Seersucker Social events and he forced me to buy a highwheel bike and ride in the race!

Inspiration: I ride because I am driven to live deep and suck the marrow out of life, and in this last gasp of youth I will celebrate my continued existence and that of my fellow man before I leave this mortal plane.

Achievements: When I was training I rode my highwheel bike at top speed into a hurdle that someone left on a running track, and survived.

Many of my friends are very entertained by the fact that I own and ride a highwheel bike.  Some of them are genuinely interested in this fact, and some just think I am weird.

Job: Exec in the biopharmaceutical industry

MiscDuring COVID I got engaged, changed jobs, moved to a 10-acre farm, got a dachshund puppy, and started a video production business. I spend most of my free time now doing chores on the farm and restoring the historic outbuildings. I organize social bike rides in Washington, D.C., including the Tweed Ride and the Seersucker Social. This is my third time riding in the high wheel race.

 

 


#29 - Nick Ackermann - Middletown, MD

Bike: Pelle Standard High Wheel 52-in.

Riding High WheelsFirst rode one in 2005, bought my first one from Eric in 2010. I've been in every high wheel race except the one where I lent my cycle to Tom Hawkins so he could try racing.  

InspirationI ride in the race for the thrill of seeing the excitement it generates, and for the enjoyment of being included in such a marvelous and varied group of eccentrics.

Achievements: Probably anyone else in the race has better stories in that category. Outside the race, I mainly ride a safety bike. In 86,000 miles on THAT, yes, I have some stories, including riding it in 27 states and riding it down Mount Washington.

Job3-D computer modeling in Solidworks, although it has been many things, including 4 years milking cows, about 8 years in publishing, a dozen years drafting, and 12 years long-haul trucking.

 

MiscI've kept a journal without missing a day for more than 51 years (nearly 19,000 days straight).


#30 - Mark Pope - New Ellenton, SC

Bike

Riding High Wheels

Achievements: 

Job:

Misc


#31 - Greg Boll - Ephrata, PA

Bike: Victory 52"

Riding High Wheels: I collect antique horse saddles but while searching the internet for old saddles, I bumped into an antique highwheel saddle.  I love unique bicycles and decided I need to find one of these amazing bicycles to buy.  I've been riding them for about 7 years now.

Achievements: I've never been thrown over the handle bars and I hope that I never do!  I came very close one day when my shoelace got caught in the wheel.  Just as I was reaching the tip over point, my shoelace broke....and disaster was averted.

Job: I am a saddle maker and own a custom leather shop.  I enjoy making custom leather bags for bicycles of all shapes and sizes.

Misc: I will turn 50 years old this summer.  I hope to be competitive with the top riders in Frederick when I grow up.


#32 - Ken Dahm - Chesapeake, VA

Bike: 1977 Boneshaker 48 in

Riding High WheelsMy wife gave me a book about the history of bicycles. The chapter on penny-farthings gave me the bug.  I purchased my high-wheeler ten years ago and have made a few up-grades.

InspirationThomas Stevens, 1854-1935, is my biggest high-wheel inspiration.  I read his first book.

Achievements: The bicycle is a chick-magnet. I raced my penny-farthing in a triathlon just south of Ocean City, MD in 2014.  I got a marriage proposal from a perfect stranger during the race!

JobSchool-age childcare provider for the US Navy.  I ride my high wheeler during our annual bike rodeo.  The kids love it.

 

MiscI am also a competitive stair racer.  I have climbed the stairs of the Empire State Building, Sears Tower, and other skyscrapers and sports stadiums.


#33 - David Skidmore - Charlotte, MI

Bike: RBR Boneshaker

Riding High WheelsIn the mid 1990’s I saw a Coker Tire Wheelman at a flea market type store on the way to a mountain bike trail for a ride. I stopped and bought it on the spot. I bought a bike shop in 2005 and shortly after bought the Boneshaker.

InspirationI’m inspired by all cyclists, from the kid down the block learning how to ride without training wheels, the families going down a path in their local park, the weekend single track rider, and the roadies in a pace line. It’s one of the most free forms of transportation there is. I ride for all bikers everywhere!

Achievements: 

JobI work for Spartan Fire Chassis, a Rev Group Company, in Charlotte, MI.  We manufacture custom fire truck chassis, which  consists of the cab, frame and drivetrain of a fire truck. I’m in the inside sales team. I’ve worked for Spartan for over 42 years.

 MiscIn addition to biking, I enjoy Disc Golf and have played in many local tournaments, the Michigan State Disc Golf  Championships, and the 2012 World Disc Golf Championship in Charlotte, NC.

 


#34 - Brian Birkner - Chester, VA

Bike: Penny Farthing Dan

Riding High Wheels I started collecting old bikes when I was 10. My tastes in old bikes got progressively older as I grew older. I started riding a high wheel in 2012, when I found one for sale.

InspirationMy mom has been an inspiration, and great mentor, in my life.

Achievements: I am a member of The Wheelmen, where I have been able to enjoy spending time with others that embrace the same hobby.

Job:

Misc


#35 - Howard Taylor - Frederick, MD 

Bike

Riding High Wheels

Inspiration

Achievements: 

Job

Misc


#36 - Christopher Caton - Hagerstown, MD 

Bike: Standard High Wheel

Riding High Wheels: I'm friends with Brian Caron and watching him and Jean Weddles ride them on our social rides inspired me to get one. That and the sale Standard High Wheel ran a couple years back.

Inspiration

Achievements: 

Job: Truck Driver

Misc


#37 - Nyle Blanck - Milford, CT

Bike: Penny Farthing Dan Custom Made 54”

Riding High Wheels: My parents always had a 50” Eagle high wheel bicycle displayed in their living room. My dad used to prop me up on it when he would take it out. I was so excited the day I was finally tall enough to ride it around the age of 14. I started seriously collecting high wheel bikes, particularly Connecticut made bikes about 6 years ago. The last time I raced at Frederick, I was riding an original 1886 Columbia Expert made in Hartford, CT.

Inspiration: My dad Bill Blanck and my son Stanley Blanck are my two biggest inspirations

Achievements: I have completed two century rides with the Wheelmen on high wheels and looking forward to doing more.

Job: Orthodontist

Misc: Along with riding high wheels, I am also into trials unicycling. I can jump up on to a picnic table with my unicycle from the ground as well as doing tricks on it at the skate park. While I was at the University of Connecticut for undergrad, I was the founder and president of the unicycle club. I taught over 40 people how to ride a unicycle during my time there.


#38 - Avery Blanck - Orange, CT

Bike

Riding High Wheels

Achievements: 

Job:

Misc


#39 - 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, I simply had to get a bike.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Achievements: 

Job: International man of mystery.

Misc


#40 - Haig Colter - Bethesda, MD

Bike: 52" Victory

Riding High Wheels: Been riding high wheel bikes for just about 15 years.

Inspiration: Racing for fun

Achievements: Have done a penny farthing century, did the Knutsford Great race in 2010.

JobCybersecurity nerd

MiscI think I have only missed one high wheel race in Frederick, MD.

 


#41 - Peter Nigra - Alexandria, VA 

Bike:  54" Excelsior by Greg Barron

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.

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 first bicycle race ever!


#42 - Riley Hinegardner - Frederick, MD

Bike

Riding High Wheels

Inspiration:

Achievements: 

Job:

Misc


#43 - 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 WheelsAlways have enjoyed cycling. Re-read "Bicycle" by David Herlihy - a very comprehensive history.  Got the bug to try a Penny. Discovered all the folks who build them. 5 years later, here I am.

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

Achievements: It always amazes me that when I ride my Penny, people (adults, teenagers, young children) smile, wave, give "thumbs-up", give a shout-out, snap a photo on their cell phone, motorists slow down and give wide berth. I'm grateful I can help make that happen.

Job: Management Consultant

 

Misc: