Symposium Games & Contests – Penny Farthing Race

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The Penny Farthing Race –
Escape from the Queen of Hearts

“’Hold your tongue!’ said the Queen, turning purple.

‘I won’t!’ said Alice.

‘Off with her head!’ the Queen shouted at the top of her voice.”

The Queen of Hearts wants your head on a platter! It’s best to escape quickly but with style from her playing card army. You’ve got one chance to make it out: Enlist the aid of two friendly locals and hop on your penny farthing and race for the exit against other targets of the queen’s wrath! And of course, it doesn’t hurt if your penny farthing looks amazing too!

The Penny Farthing Race will be raced with child sized tricycles, but with adult sized drivers. Each competing group or airship must provide 3 participants: a Driver, and two people to push. For purposes of this competition they will be named Tweedledee and Tweedledum. The race will be a timed ROAD COURSE, with pylons (of a sort) to navigate around and hazards. You will be timed from the starting line and the timer will stop at the finish line. Each penny farthing will get one run on the course, with the fastest times winning 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. In the event of a tie, a second run may be required. There will also be a design portion of the competition, with the judges deciding 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place on aesthetics alone.



Anyone is able to participate in the race, whether associated with an airship or not. HOWEVER, if you are not part of an airship, one of the competing airships may try and convince you to join afterwards, and therefore earn your points. This year only one set of points will be available per competition. If the winners are not part of an airship or not convinced to join one, the points go unawarded to any airship. Airships will have until 3:30pm on Sunday at the convention to claim an unaffiliated winner. The winner must announce his decision to join an airship, in person, to the Games’ MC (Peter B. Slayer) before that time.

Equipment Needed:

  • One functional CHILD-SIZED tricycle with Steampunk themed modifications. See below for rules governing design of the tricycle. Modification is not necessary, but you have the opportunity to take part in the design competition as well.
  • Goggles – each driver and the Tweedles must have their own goggles due to the unpredictable nature of flying nerf darts.

Race Rules:

  • Each Driver will sit on their tricyle/penny farthing and can either keep their feet on the pedals or not. We recommend NOT.
  • Each racer has two assisting persons to push the penny farthing. These assisting persons are referred to as Tweedledee and Tweedledum, or the Tweedles, collectively. Each of the Tweedles will be allowed to use only one hand to help push their racer along. If either of the Tweedles uses more than one hand at a time they will be disqualified. Switching hands is allowed.
  • Goggles must be worn by each competing driver and both Tweedles while they are racing. Worn over the EYES. Because steampunk…
  • HAZARDS: The Queen’s guards will be attempting to stop your escape with NERF guns and limited ammunition taking pot shots at the racers from a single camping spot. Shooting back is NOT allowed. Any shots that hit the driver are null, but the first shot that hits either of the Tweedles will disable that Tweedle, forcing that Tweedle to withdraw. After the loss of the first Tweedle, the remaining Tweedle brother will be so enraged and inspired by the untimely and hopefully dramatic maiming of his brother, he will no longer be cable of being disabled by the guards. This will leave only one assisting Tweedle to complete the race. If by sheer luck neither Tweedledee nor Tweedledum are hit, then both siblings can continue.
  • SHIELDS: Everyone knows that Alice helped prepare the Tweedles for battle. In our race, The Tweedles are allowed to use shields as protection from the Queen’s Guard. If you choose to use shields they must be no larger than 24 inches across, round or square. We recommend using foam core board or cardboard, rather than anything heavier or harder, just in case you drop one. This brings up the other point: The shields must be hand held. You may not strap them to your arm.

The Course:

  • The race will take place in the upper terrace and will have at least two (possibly hairpin) turns.
  • Practicing turns with your Tweedles is key. Remember, Tweedles may only use ONE hand to push.

Victory Points for the Race:

1st Place – 30 Points

2nd Place – 20 Points

3rd Place – 10 Points

Racer Design Rules:

  • Must be a CHILD SIZED penny farthing style (big front wheel, small rear wheels) where the front wheel is no larger than 16” diameter. Using a base tricycle from a Yard sale or leftover from your own child or childhood is of course allowed, but if you want to buy a new one, we recommend a Radio Flyer Classic Red Dual Deck Tricyle, or a Classic Flyer by Kettler 12” Tricycle.
  • Strengthening of the structure is allowed, but all sharp edges of any additional metalwork must be filed down, removed, or sanded.
  • No powered locomotion modifications are allowed.
  • Any artistic or stylistic modifications must be safe for the driver, Tweedles (pushers), judges and spectators.

Victory Points for Racer Design:

1st Place – 30 Points

2nd Place – 20 Points

3rd Place – 10 Points


To officially register your Airship or Steampunk Group in the Symposium Games, open the link below, and enter the chance to win glory, prizes, the Symposium Trophy, and four weekend badges to 2017 International Steampunk Symposium

2016 Airship Registration

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