Coker Wheelman

Discussion in 'FRESH FINDS' started by VonFink, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. VonFink

    VonFink

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2011
    Messages:
    332
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    [​IMG]

    Today (age 52+) I realized a dream I have had most of my life---to ride a Penny Farthing bicycle! I spotted a Coker Wheelman last night on local Craigslist and left a message. The phone rang this morning and to my surprise, the bike was still available. I was the first person to call on it. I mapquested the directions and stopped at the atm for funds.

    Forty-five minutes later I arrived in the suburbs and found the house without difficulty. The seller was prepared for my arrival and had the bike ready to bring out the door. I had spent the previous evening doing research on the bike so I knew pretty much what I'd see. The seller had noted it was red but I hadn't expected the nice rich red it turned out to be.

    We talked about the bike for a bit and I eagerly paid him for it. Then he gave me a quick demo of how to mount the bike and some riding tips. I put the bike in my van and then, before I left I got to see his replica high-wheeler. I get the feeling that if I stay in touch I'll get the opportunity one day to also buy the replica when he has gotten tired of it and wants the cash for other hobby stuff.

    I drove my van home and decided to walk the bike from my house to a annual vintage car race that dominates a local golf course. I wanted to see the cars but I also thought there might be plenty of gently sloped grassy stretches where I might try to ride the Wheelman with minimal risk of injury if I should fall.

    After walking the grounds and admiring all the wonderful cars parked here and there, I found an area of grass with a gentle downhill slope that I knew would be ideal for learning. So, after a couple of nervous false-tries I finally got up and on the contraption. I was infused by a mix of terror and elation! It was fun but it wasn't long before I started to worry about the landing. The proper landing is to dismount using the rear step, but reaching back with my foot---I couldn't find it. So I slowed using the back brake and let the bike fall sideways until I had footing on one side. A bit clumsy but it worked.

    I walked the bike back up to my starting point. Did I dare try it again? I had fancied that the first time I tried the bike I'd be geared up in a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads and roller-skating wrist braces---yet here I was with none of that! But I felt that the longer I put off a second try, the poorer the chance I'd EVER ride the bike again. I waited till that long swath of grass was quiet of traffic and I launched myself once more.

    This ride went smoother and was a little less nerve-racking. At the end, instead of ditching the bike in a fall, I performed a gentle u-turn and headed back uphill. I have to say these bikes are very squirrelly under power, especially when one is a novice. Once again I searched for the step to dismount, and failing to find it, I elected to do the calculated sideways fall again.

    Photos of the bike to come...

    Cheers,
    Tim
     
  2. DonQui

    DonQui

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2010
    Messages:
    383
    Location:
    San Beranardino/Riverside, CA
    Good story.
    Can't wait for pics! :D
     
  3. fatkid

    fatkid

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2009
    Messages:
    157
    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    If your Wheelman has the freewheel hub I would like to humbly ask for some detail shots of how it is set up. I have some devious ideas in mind and can't find a Wheelman around here for reference.

    Oh, I would like to request video of you riding it as well, just for fun. :D
     
  4. kingfish254

    kingfish254 CHECK OUT MY SALE THREAD FOR COOL STUFF! Pro Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Messages:
    25,742
    Location:
    Historic Savannah
    That's too cool!!!

    It reminds me of my trip to NZ last year and we came across the Oamaru bicycle Works. Sort of a bike museum. They were just closing, but the owner showed me his penny farthing.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    They had some really cool bikes. Here are some more pics viewtopic.php?f=16&t=43325&p=422042#p422042

    Have fun on your new toy!
     
  5. VonFink

    VonFink

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2011
    Messages:
    332
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Great high-wheeler shots, thanks!

    This Wheelman is a "dwarf" bicycle by 1890's high-wheeler standards. The front wheel is 36" and the rear wheel is 12". Power goes directly to the front wheel via pedals and a freewheeling hub. Brakes are rim-clamping type and are provided for both the front and the rear wheel.

    Here are some more photos of the Wheelman:

    The beauty shot.
    [​IMG]


    A blurry image reflected in a restaurant window (I am a little under 6' tall).
    [​IMG]


    Head badge.
    [​IMG]


    Front wheel hub and cranks.
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Rear Wheel.
    [​IMG]

    Step.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. SCHWINNRAY69

    SCHWINNRAY69

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Messages:
    8,077
    Location:
    Connecticut
  7. VonFink

    VonFink

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2011
    Messages:
    332
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    SchwinnRay,

    That's the same as the OTHER high-wheeler the guy had (the guy I bought the Wheelman from).
     
  8. Philphine

    Philphine

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Messages:
    871
    Location:
    just a wind on the road
    is the coker wheel 36 spokes?

    had to run out to the garage and eyeball something. i'm not good enough with redrilling hubs and rims or building them, but someone who could could make that front end out of a green machine trike easily, provided they could get the rim and long enough spokes.

    hope that didn't go too far off topic. the wheels just spun into overdrive for a moment.
     
  9. Johnny Payphone

    Johnny Payphone

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Hardin City, NV
  10. MonsterMetal

    MonsterMetal

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    619
    Location:
    Seattle
    I have a Wheelman and a Wheelman trike (custom build) I also had so much fun riding my wheelman that I found a"real" 60" highwheel bike.... I can tell you that riding the wheelman is a kick and so much fun that I will never get rid of it... riding the "real" bike though not so much.. I crashed it real bad, over the bars is a long way down and hung it on my wall for a year or two. I got looking at it one day and though I should get it down and give it another go.... First trip I had a minor crash and skinned up my arm a bit, second ride of the day I crashed bad enough to fold up the front wheel.... that was it, stick with the wheelman :lol:
     
  11. VonFink

    VonFink

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2011
    Messages:
    332
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I'll be selling my Wheelman soon.
     
  12. Herman

    Herman

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    Messages:
    350
    How much ?
     
  13. VonFink

    VonFink

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2011
    Messages:
    332
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    $250 local pick-up in Pittsburgh only. I don't want to try to ship it.
     
  14. Voyager Al

    Voyager Al

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2011
    Messages:
    932
    Location:
    Pittsburgh,Pa
    why ya selling it? Me and Dogdart were just talkin about those today...
     
  15. pick

    pick

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Messages:
    4,170
    Location:
    Benton, KS
    Awesome bike & great story! Thanks for sharing! 8)
     
  16. VonFink

    VonFink

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2011
    Messages:
    332
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I just wanted the opportunity to try riding one. Otherwise it's too impractical for me and I'd rather have the money to put into the bikes I ride more often.
     
  17. Herman

    Herman

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    Messages:
    350
    that's a good price but I better pass (been spending too much money lately!)
     
  18. VonFink

    VonFink

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2011
    Messages:
    332
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posted in the SALE area.
     
  19. dragnusa

    dragnusa

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    3,160
    Location:
    Brookfield, Missouri
    Im looking a trading for one of these right now, hoping I can make a deal with the guy.
     
  20. I know where one of those are but getting the guy to let go of anything is like pulling teeth.
     

Share This Page