GRAFTON will be recycling some bicycling history with the opening of an exhibition featuring some of the bikes that pedalled big names like 1984 cycling gold medallist Kevin Nichols to glory.

Exhibition curator Danny Loyden said the exhibition aimed to reacquaint Grafton with its cycling history as well as showcase the stunning developments in cycling technology that have occurred since the first pedal-powered two wheelers appeared in the mid-19th Century.

He said he and partner Sammy Lovejoy's Cast Net Productions, have gathered some stunning antique pedal-powered vehicles including 1860s vintage velocipedes, the penny farthing and the earliest chain driven cycles, the so-called safety bikes.

"These old bikes are fascinating because they also reflect a change that was occurring from the craft built to manufactured products at the time," Mr Loyden said.

"You can see the velocipedes and other early bikes were built by coach builders and blacksmiths, with their wooden frames and spoked wheels and steel rims.

"By the end of the (19th) century you're starting to see the steel-tubed framing of the mass produced bikes."

To promote the exhibition, Cast Net has taken an 1880s Rudge penny farthing to the Grafton Library to stay on show during the exhibition.

"They're an amazing bike," Mr Loyden said. "They're a direct drive mechanism, but the big front wheels - up to 60 inches high - act as a sort of gear.

"They can actually travel pretty fast on the flat. You can imagine each push of the pedal pushes you a long way. They could hit speeds of about 40kmh."

Calculating the diameter of a 60 inch wheel, each rotation would move the bike about five metres.

The Bike Town Exhibition opens at the Gallery at 5.30pm tomorrow. Visitors can also catch the DEX: Best of 2018 photography exhibition, which also launches at the Gallery that night.



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