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Exhibitions > 1900


The Pedersen Bicycle in the Service of the Army

The Pedersen bicycle was invented by a Danish inventor named Mikael Pedersen, and was manufactured in Dursley, England. After riding bicycles for over two decades, Pedersen set out to develop a comfortable seat that dictated the form of the frame and of the entire bicycle, essentially designing a bicycle to fit the seat.

Initially, the seat was upholstered with woven fabric, and later with leather. It had a wide back and a narrow front, and was affixed to the frame by means of leather straps that lent it flexibility. The bicycle itself had a unique construction, with a frame built of triangular parts rather than in the form of a diamond. The inspiration for this light, strong and stable structure was the Whipple-Murphy bridge. The first frame of this kind weighed less than 9 kg. (light even in comparison to contemporary frames). Due to the limited possibility of adjusting them, the bicycles were produced in eight different sizes for men and three different sizes for women. In 1900, Pederson also developed a folding version for the British Army. The seat of this military bike was set further back, and it had a light frame so that it could be easily folded and carried. This model was more expensive, costing £17 in contrast to the cost of a regular bicycle, which was £3. It was thus purchased exclusively by wealthy consumers, and opinions differ concerning the number of bicycles that were produced.

Some argue that as many as 30,000 bikes were manufactured, yet it seems that no more than 7,800 bicycles were actually made. They were never a commercial success, yet became collector items do to their radical design and the riding experience they offered. They were produced once again in 1978.


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