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Penny-Farthing Bicycle

This article originally appeared in Freelance Traveller’s March 2012 issue.

CraftID: Penny Farthing Bicycle, TL4, Cr 320
   Hull: 1/1, Disp=0.074, Conf=0USL Open, Armour=1I,
         Unloaded=0.0443 tons, Loaded=0.0443 tons*
  Power: External=0.0002 Mw
   Loco: 1/2, Wheels x2, Suspension=integral,
         P/W=4.5, Road=30 kph,
         Offroad=4.5 kph
   Comm: -
Sensors: -
    Off: Hardpoints=1
    Def: +2 DM
Control: Direct
  Accom: Crew=1  (Operator), Seat=None
  Other: Cargo=0 klitres, ObjSize=Small, EmLevel=None
Comment: Price in quantity=Cr 256

This TL4 Iron, sophont-powered, bicycle is a passenger vehicle that can be found on almost any low tech planet. The frame is iron and the seat is covered in cloth or hides to offer some protection for the operator’s bottom while springs between the seat and the frame offer some amount of ride comfort.

The operator uses direct controls, handlebars, and puts its feet on pedals that turn the front wheel directly. In order for the bicycle to sustain any amount of speed the front wheel is 1.22 meters in diameter and the sophont operates the vehicle in a position above this wheel. The second wheel is 0.46 meters in diameter and allows the bicycle stability on the road. There is no brake. There is no luggage compartment and anything carried must be on the operator’s back, but the vehicle is not intended to take much load.

The bicycle is powered by the operator, who is assumed to have two legs. In the above case the external power source was calculated using a standard human producing 200 watts. The speed of the vehicle varies considerably depending on the road conditions and load (*the weight of the sophont and what they are carrying), and while theoretically can be driven up to 30kph, roads of the quality needed for these speeds are almost nonexistent on low tech worlds.