Bicycle Spearing Potatoes… and other party games

In the 1920s, a delightful charity fete was held in the gardens of a grand house. The event was reported by the local newspaper. I read it because it related to some people I was researching. Fascinatingly, the games were listed…

They had ‘Guess the Mystery Pie’ (they never revealed what it was… Cherry? Banoffee? Blackbird?)

They had ‘Guess the Dolly’s Name’ (was it Amelia? Gertrude? Shaznay?)

They had ‘Guess the Weight of the Cake’ (three pounds? Ten stone? A ton?)

There was tennis, charades and hat trimming. And plenty of hot tea to keep everyone refreshed. Lovely.

But there was another activity I couldn’t get my head around: Bicycle Spearing Potatoes.

Bicycle. Spearing. Potatoes. Three words that don’t really go together.

I thought about it and I just didn’t get it. I found nothing on the internet (or at least, nothing easily discoverable). It was only several days later that I worked out what this game is.

You ride a bicycle. You carry something long and sharp – a spear, say, or maybe one of those old-fashioned umbrellas with the very pointy tips. Potatoes are placed on the ground. You then pedal around, competing to stab as many potatoes as possible. Simply pop each potato into the basket on the front of your bicycle. Whoever collects the most ‘taters is the winner.

To make it even more fun, you have to ride a penny-farthing bike, while wearing a long impractical skirt, and the potatoes are not the large baking-variety, but the tiny ones which are good in salads.

Anyone want to try it?!

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