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Just like riding a bicycle . . . Sophia Leon de la Barra (left) teaches Australian tourists Ella Kroning and Mickey Mason how to ride a penny-farthing. PHOTO: TYSON YOUNG

This is something out of the ordinary.

The Oamaru Ordinary Cycle Club has started a “penny-farthing experience” – essentially a course in penny-farthing riding – for cyclists and thrillseekers.

Club spokeswoman Sophia Leon de la Barra was thrilled to get an opportunity to teach others how to ride the behemoths.

The club hoped the tourism boom in the Waitaki district would mean plenty of interest in the big bikes.

“It seemed like a perfect opportunity to get some more tourists enjoying the penny-farthing experience,” Miss Leon de la Barra said.

Money raised from the course would go towards the production of penny-farthings younger children could ride.

“We feel part of our responsibility to the community is to share this amazing part of our heritage.

“It’s just so much fun to see people get the thrill of riding a penny-farthing.

“It’s a really unique experience for them to be able to connect to the heritage of the transport they love so much.”

The best part about teaching someone how to ride a penny-farthing was seeing the smiles on their faces after a lesson, she said.

“Once they’ve done a bit of a lesson and done a lap they can really relish the experience.

“I just love seeing the grin on their face when we do a victory lap after they’ve had their lesson.”

Australian tourists Ella Kroning and Mickey Mason were proud to be the first in Oamaru to try the course.

Neither had been on a penny-farthing before, but Ms Kroning said it had always been a dream of hers to ride one.

“It’s such a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” she said.

Miss Leon de la Barra hoped people throughout the community would have a go at the experience.

“I just encourage more locals to give it a go, especially girls and women, because I never have anyone to race in the penny-farthing championships.”