AN ICONIC bike that forms a significant part of Dursley’s history returned to its “rightful home.”
A heavily damaged Dursley Pedersen bicycle dating back to about 1898 which was donated to Dursley Heritage Centre was restored by a German cycle restorer.
The bike - returned to top condition - was unveiled to a small crowd at the centre on Monday, February 16.
In 2009 Dursley Heritage Centre received the rusted Pedersen bike with broken tubes and missing its woven ‘hammock’ seat, as well as its wheels and other parts. It went on display as it was received.
wIt was a very early example of the bike and included the original badge design.
A few years later, in September 2013, a cycle ride took place which saw around 25 Pedersen enthusiasts from around Europe ride their modern reproduction Pedersen cycles all the way from Dover to Dursley over the course of a week.
Pedersen cycles still have a very loyal following to this day and modern versions are produced on a small scale by Michael Kemper in Germany, who participated in the ride.
When Michael was shown the old damaged cycle after they arrived in Dursley, he at once offered to try to repair and restore it to a condition where it could be properly displayed.
Having agreed that it could be done, he took it away to his workshop in Germany and fully restored the iconic bike within a year.
Chairman of the heritage centre Andy Barton is delighted that the bike has come back to Dursley.
He said: “Pedersen cycles are synonymous with Dursley so it's good to see one returning to its rightful home.”
Mikael Pedersen, of Denmark, came to Dursley in 1889 to work for Lister’s after Robert Ashton Lister bought the rights to the Alexandra Cream Separator which Mikael has designed.
Pedersen was an engineer, and an eccentric. In 1892 he had the idea of applying the cantilever principle (like the Forth Railway Bridge) to the bicycle frame and so designed his unusual cycle, using thin braced double tubing for the frame and a unique woven hammock saddle.
He was granted a patent in 1894 and from then on began making a small numbers of this cycle, each of which had a badge stating 'Mikael Pedersen', Dursley.
The Dursley Pedersen Cycle Company, partly owned by Mikael Pedersen and partly by Robert Ashton Lister, started in 1899 from the Pin Mill factory in Water Street.
These cycles had a badge which said 'Dursley Pedersen', the name by which these cycles are best known.
This company ran until 1905 after which it became wholly owned by RA Lister and Company. Production did not continue after 1920.