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East Bay Express

Best of the East Bay Forget ten-speeds, Sting-Rays, and beach cruisers. Who needs 'em when penny-farthings are an option? For a real blast to the past, check out Rideable Bicycle Replicas, an Alameda manufacturer of penny-farthings, those tall, seemingly impossible to mount high-wheeled gems of the 1870s from which headers were regular occurrences because the old-timey ones were brakeless. Greg Barron, who inherited the gimmicky business from his inventor dad, designs the novelties, which are replicas of the antique bikes. Barron produces the ordinaries with a couple of employees in a rambling compound attached to what once was the family home. It's a space more akin to your grandfather's workshop than a manufacturer of custom bikes, tricycles, hand-cranked trikes, recumbent bikes, surreys, tandems, carriages, and other products. Because these are copies, not authentic museum-quality reproductions meant for show only, these two-wheelers are affordable — at least to those who don't mind being set back $900 to $3,500 — and, most importantly, they're built for riding on the road.

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Page last updated: 16 January, 2024