1909 Rudge-Whitworth Special Light Roadster

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“If you have a photograph of the Prince of Wales riding a bicycle, keep it – you will not get any fresh ones. The Prince was asked last week by one of the royal servants as to what should be done with half-a-dozen bicycles standing in a shed. ‘You can give them away,’ said the Prince. ‘I shall not ride them any more.’

Upon reading the above paragraph, Messrs Rudge-Whitworth Ltd, who supplied the machines in question, immediately made inquiries at Buckingham Palace, and were officially informed thatthere was absolutely no truth whatever in the statement. They further point out that the Prince of Wales only uses one machine, the other five belonging to Princess Mary, Prince Albert, Prince Henry, Prince George and Prince John.”

– article in a May 1915 issue of Cycling magazine

The Royal Family rode Rudge-Whitworth bicycles. With top quality models sold at lower prices than their competitors, the company was the leading cycle manufacturer in the early 1900s. As you can see in the photo below, Prince Edward (son of King George V and Queen Mary) is riding a similar model of bicycle to that featured here.

Edward was created Prince of Wales on his 16th birthday, on 23rd June 1910, and was invested on 13th July 1911, at Caernarfon Castle. He became King Edward VIII on 20th January 1936. On his abdication, on 10th December 1936, the throne passed to his brother, King George VI – grandfather of the present Prince of Wales.

 

1909 Rudge-Whitworth Special Light Roadster

‘No 2042’ with Eadie 2 speed gear

Patent celluloid-covered handlebar with inverted levers

27″ Frame

28″ Wheels

Frame No 557069

Brooks ‘Model B17’ saddle

(Now sold)

Priced at 9 guineas with a two-speed gear, this Rudge-Whitworth was a popular bicycle in its day. In fact, no greater endorsement was possible – the Prince of Wales rode a similar bicycle. Introduced for the 1908 season, Rudge-Whitworth’s patent celluloid-covered handlebar with inverted levers is very distinctive: it stood out from the crowd then and now.

The 2-speed gear was offered as an option in 1908, costing an extra guinea, but was discontinued the following year. However, the frame number 557069 suggests 1909 manufacture. Presumably the company used up their old stock of gears even after it was removed as an option in the catalogue.

This example was restored several decades ago. It has been owned by my friend Robert for the past fifteen years and hardly ridden. The old red Bates beaded edge tyres are superb, and all the unique patent Rudge-Whitworth fittings are present and correct, ie beaded edge jointed wheel rims, V-section mudguards, Rudge 5/8″ chain, oilers with the Rudge ‘hand’ logo in their centre, etc. The frame size is impressive too, being 27 inch, suitable for a rider with inseam around 35 inches. It’s ready to ride.

 

 

 

 

 

1908 RUDGE-WHITWORTH CATALOGUE EXTRACTS

 

 

 

 

 

RUDGE-WHITWORTH LUBRICATORS

(Bottom Bracket & Front Hub)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ORIGINAL BATES BEADED EDGE TYRES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EADIE 2 SPEED HUB GEAR

 

 

 

1908 RUDGE-WHITWORTH CATALOGUE EXTRACTS