Rotary International & The Lions – Charity Fund Raising

We are very pleased to announce that Knutsford Rotary & The Knutsford Lions have become our partners in promoting and the organnising of the KGR event.

Having achieved the 50 team entry target for the race, we are now turning our minds to the raising of £25,000 + for the nominated charity www.shelterbox.co.uk, the International Disaster Relief organisation, you may have seen their major involvement in the recent Haiti earthquakes.

You will see from the “Sponsorship Packages” page that we are offering a number of very interesting opportunities including “Team Sponsorship” for companies, business’s and individuals to take part in helping to raise this not insignificant sum of money, whether its by sponsorship or advertising

Team Sponsorship
Note to All Riders – That as part of the fund raising activites, which I am sure you will want to be involved in.You will already have noted that we are looking for Team Sponsorship and as such you may well be given, on registration, an attractive coloured company sponsored T shirt and the sponsors name on the back. If you are one of the lucky ones chosen to have one of these shirts, we would ask you to wear this throughout the afternoon and it will be yours, to keep as a momento of this unique occasion.

Souvenir Programme
We are also very pleased that the 32 page A4 Full Colour Programme,which contains a number of interesting features, details of the events of the day, detailed biographies, plus picutes of the riders in the race, including, machines etc,what they have done in the past, history of the race, a map of the course, history of the machines taking part.We imagine that this souvenir programme will fast become very collectable and at only £2.30 + £1.25 p&p offers great value…..get your orders in fast, to secure a numbered limited editionion copy.

About the pennyfarthing

The Knutsford Great Race – About the Pennyfarthing

The Knutsford Great Race is a totally unique event held once every ten years, featuring Original Dandy Horse Machines, Bone-Shakers and Penny Farthing Cycles dating from the middle of the 19th Century.  You will not see anything else like this, with riders from all over the world entering. We have received entries from New Zealand, Germany, The USA, Austraiia, The Czech Republic, Ireland, Scotland and England. including the likes of World circumnavigator Joff Somerfield.
Having now reached 50 teams, further race entries are now suspended. We are only accepting reserve list entries – please email or phone for further information.


If for any reason you or you know of riders who have entered the race, and for whatever reason, are no longer wanting or able to take part in the race please do let us know so that we can look to include entrants off the reserve list?


The fourth Knutsford Great Race will celebrate the three styles of two-wheeler that preceded the modern bicycle:The Hobby horse
The first bicycle was invented by Baron von Drais in Germany, who called it a velocipede (speed-foot). It arrived in England in 1819, the year of Peterloo, and when copied by Denis Johnson of Covent Garden proved a craze among the dandies and the upper class. Sir John Leycester’s machine can still be seen at Tabley House, Knutsford. Although a few matches were made for wagers, the machine proved impractical as a means of transport or for racing and the fad died within the year.The Boneshaker 
Attempts were made over the next forty years to develop a practical velocipede but it was only in the late 1860s that the two-wheel pedal velocipede appeared in Paris. This started another craze and velocipede races were held all over France, England, America and the civilised world. In July 1870, the Knutsford Annual Athletic Meeting included a velocipede race around the Heath. Enthusiasm was again short lived but this time technical improvements, particularly the wire tension wheel, enabled the boneshaker as it soon became referred to, to morph into the elegant and practical high wheel bicycle.The Penny Farthing or Ordinary Bicycle

The high bicycle, often known as a penny-farthing, is still referred to by enthusiasts as the ordinary, because before the safety bicycle was invented in 1885, that is what it was – the ordinary bicycle of the day. The first bicycle with wire wheels, made by Meyer of Paris, came to England in the summer of 1870 and the style quickly replaced the wooden boneshaker, which had itself only been in use for two years. 
This time the build-up was more measured but amateur and professional racing attracted big crowds and during the next twenty years around 250,000 ordinaries were made.The reason for the big wheel was simply to gain extra speed, therefore racers would ride the largest wheel they could bestride. On a 60” machine in 1882, the English athlete, H.L.Cortis, became the first man to cover twenty miles in an hour. Ordinaries were efficient and comfortable and even when carrying luggage, huge distances could be covered on the bad roads of the day. One hundred miles in a day was commonplace. A not so young rider in the Knutsford race has ridden 258 miles in 24 hours.The ordinary did have one flaw, which you may spot. The machine was, and is, subject to headers or imperial crowners; the affectionate name for involuntary dismounts over the handlebars. With luck you will not be see any in the Knutsford race although we would ask you not to copy Victorian urchins and put sticks through the wheels.By the late 1870s, bicycle-clubs were being formed in towns across the land and the countryside of north Cheshire was a popular haunt for clubs in Manchester and its suburbs. There was even a hill-climb up Alderley Edge. The famous Anfield Bicycle Club from Liverpool frequented Cheshire most weekends. Still riding, the Anfield will again be represented with a team in 2010. 

Most of the machines in the race are original, some made by marques which later became famous in the motorcar and motorcycle world, such as Rudge, Humber, Singer, Hillman, Triumph, B.S.A., Swift and Rover.In 1885, several chain-driven safeties were introduced, particularly J.K.Starley’s Rover. They were at first scorned as ‘beetles’ but soon proved faster in road races and when shod with pneumatic tyres in 1890, resulted in the early demise of the ordinary. Yet the memory of the Grand Old Ordinary remained alive and in 1907 devotees resumed racing. The tradition continues today the riders in the Knutsford Great Race 2010 all count the experience of ordinary riding as among the most pleasant and memorable of their lives.More information can be found at www.cyclemuseum.org.uk