8:00am Saturday 7th September 2013
By Daniel Chipperfield
A UNIQUE bike ride is to take place to recognise the work of one of Dursley’s most illustrious residents, 120 years after his invention put the town on the map.
Danish inventor Mikael Pedersen joined Dursley manufacturing firm R.A Lister to introduce his new method of separating cream from milk to make butter.
This, along with other inventions made him and the firm rich, leading him to renting out the largest house in the town at the time on Long Street.
The Danish inventor became prominent in Dursley, forming a choir and taking part in concerts, as well as setting up a number of social and sporting groups.
But it was his patent for the Pedersen bicycle that is arguably his longest-standing achievement for its unique design.
While production of the bicycle ceased at the beginning of World War One, it has recently come into its own again with makers in England, Denmark and Germany producing frames using modern techniques and with modern accessories.
To mark the 120th anniversary of the Pedersen patent, a group of riders, mainly German and Dutch, plan to cycle on modern Pedersen machines over several days from Dover to Dursley, arriving in the town on Thursday, September 19.
The cyclists are arriving in Dover and cycling to Tenterden on Friday, September 13.
Thereafter they will travel through Uckfield, Midhurst, Winchester, Salisbury, Melksham before arriving at their final destination.
During the following two days they will see places in Dursley associated with Mikael Pedersen, including a visit of the Lister Shearing company.
The sheep-shearing manufacturer began in 1908 using skills gained from making Pedersen two and three-speed cycle gears.
The group will also visit Gloucester's Folk Museum to see its collection of original Pedersen cycles.
After losing the majority of his fortune and dying as a relative unknown in Denmark in 1929, a collection was started by enthusiasts of the Pedersen bicycle to move the inventor's remains back to Dursley.
This happened in 1995, and the service was attended by over 300 people including the Bishop of Gloucester, representatives from the Danish Embassy and Pedersen's grandchildren.
On Friday, September 20, the cycling party will attend a reception to be given by the mayor of Dursley, Cllr Jane Ball at Dursley Town Hall at 3pm.
"It’s always good for Dursley to celebrate these achievements, as it was made quite famous from his invention of the Pedersen bicycle," said Cllr Ball.
"The history of it is really quite interesting."
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