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Videos: Penny-farthing crashes compilation ... it's a long way down

There's a knack to riding high-wheelers - but when things go wrong, they go spectacularly wrong...

If you've been to the Rapha Nocturne in London over the past decade, you may well have caught the penny-farthing race and it really is a sight to behold as the riders whizz around at impressive speeds on the bikes, also known as high wheelers or ordinaries.

You'll have noticed too, that it's a long way down from the saddle to the ground, and when things go wrong, there's a big risk of the rider suffering what in penny-farthing circles is termed a "header" - that's pretty much a "faceplant" to the rest of us.

We thought about this today when we spotted this tweet from Antoine Vayer, showing a nasty looking crash during a penny farthing race.

It turns out that penny-farthing crashes are a bit of a genre on YouTube. Hopefully the riders involved emerged relatively unscathed - although the first one here, filmed on board at a special edition of the London Nocturne at the London Bike Show in January 2013, left Joff Summerfield with a broken elbow despite the fact he was wearing elbow pads.

And after all those crashes, here's one of a penny-farthing rider bombing (well, in relative terms) around the BMX park in Stockwell, South London.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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