Icon Displays in the Trail's End Bicycle Museum : Dursley-Pedersen
One of the most unusual bikes on display in the Trail’s End Bicycle Museum is a Dursley-Pedersen. When the safety bicycle took over from the high-wheeler in the late 1880s one of its distinguishing features was its sturdy diamond frame, which can also be described as an inverted W-frame if you include the front and rear forks. It was typically made from single, hollow tubes about 4 cm in diameter and provided a rigid ‘skeleton’ onto which the wheels, handlebar, saddle and chain rings could be attached. In the 1890s bicycle engineers, always on the lookout for more efficient and lighter designs, started to tinker with the basic ‘safety’ frame. One of the most remarkable outcomes of this experimentation was the Dursley-Pedersen.
This remarkable bike was invented by a Dane, Mikael Pedersen, in 1893 and was produced in the English town of Dursley. Pedersen first developed the unique hammock-style saddle, which suspends the rider rather than perching him/her on a hard seat, and provides a supremely comfortable ride. The saddle was also very light, weighing just 110 g compared to contemporary leather saddles (1.4 kg). Pedersen then re-designed the frame in the form of a cross using thin, twin tubes combined to form trusses, based on the design of bridge trusses. Because his non-standard frame could not accommodate a traditional front fork he developed a fork that also consisted of thin tubes assembled into a truss. This ‘fork’ was attached to the frame with bearings at two points instead of through a traditional head tube. Pedersen also redesigned the chainwheel and bottom bracket combination and developed lightweight pedals.
Although Dursley-Pedersens were never wildly popular they enjoy a cult following and are still produced today. Variations include lightweight racing, tandem and folding designs as well as two- and three-speed internally-geared rear hubs. They have been described as the most beautiful bicycles in the world!