I may say that after 2000 miles on the Cantilever I would not return to the Diamond Frame for anything. There is no comparison between the two. I can take hills quite easily that are considered unrideable by strong riders. I find side slip has no terrors for me now, on the Dursley Pedersen.
– C.J. Noyes, Eccles Old Rd, Manchester; 1910 Dursley Pedersen Catalogue
c1910 Dursley Pedersen Cantilever Standard
With the Pedersen Frictionless 3-Speed Gear
Size No 5
Orignial Dursley Pedersen accessories: Rear carrier Rack & Toolbag
In the 21st century, the Dursley Pedersen bicycle has been elevated to iconic status. Decent examples are now much harder to find …and prices have appreciated beyond the budget of the casual vintage rider and collector. This situation is, of course, an accurate reflection of their original position in the bicycle market when they were new – between 1900 and 1914, a Pedersen was one of the most expensive bicycles in the world and beyond the budget of all but the richest cyclists.
This example is an older restoration, and has been in storage for the past few decades. Its size is suitable for someone with an inner leg measurement around 33″ and height around 5′ 10″. It has two rare accessories, the Pedersen toolbag and rear carrier.
It was serviced in our workshops a few weeks ago, with new tyres and tubes fitted, and is ready to ride.
1910 DURSLEY PEDERSEN CATALOGUE EXTRACTS
THE PEDERSEN FRICTIONLESS GEAR
Above: comparing the three-speed with one from my display shelf.
DURSLEY PEDERSEN SADDLE
The DURSLEY-PEDERSEN CYCLE Co
London Office & Showrooms:
188 Gray’s Inn Rd, London W.C
The 1880s and 1890s saw the unstable ordinary or ‘penny farthing’ giving way to the chain-driven smaller wheeled safety bicycle. Mikael Pedersen – a Danish inventor who by 1893 was living in Dursley, Gloucestershire – took out a patent in the same year for a very different design of bicycle weighing only nineteen pounds.
Pedersen had been a cyclist for twenty years and had found seats very unsatisfactory. He therefore developed a hammock type saddle and tried fitting this to current frames before devising his own frame to carry the saddle. The first machine had hickory wood stays, and it is said that these were bound to the joints with fisherman’s twine. All later models used metal tubing, sometimes of remarkable lightness.
Pedersen did his best from 1893 to 1899 to interest cycle manufacturers in his machine, but with limited success. Critics said it lacked lateral strength, its fixed handlebar and saddle heights were inconvenient and its price was too high. However, others praised its strength, lightness, robustness and comfort.
Production of machines in Dursley began in 1897, while other companies made them under licence. In 1899 he joined forces with Robert and Charles Lister to create the Dursley Pedersen Cycle Company. Sales never reached predicted levels as prices were always high compared to other makes – in 1903 when a B.S.A. gents bicycle could be bought for £3, the cheapest Pedersen was £17-17-0. Most machines were therefore bought by the well-to-do.
Pedersen invented a 3-speed hub gear in 1902 and this was put on production models in 1903. Pedersen modified the friction clutch for over a year before he turned to toothed drive. The long delay led to voluntary liquidation in 1905 and a take-over by R.A. Lister and Co. Pedersen then had little to do with the machine but draw royalties. The manufacture of Pedersen cycles ceased in Dursley in 1914 although they were still sold, and perhaps made, in London until 1922.
DURSLEY PEDERSEN FRAME SIZES
SIZE 1………………. 27 1/2″ Inside Leg
SIZE 2…………………… 29″ Inside Leg
SIZE 3…………………… 30″ Inside Leg
SIZE 4………………. 31 1/2″ Inside Leg
SIZE 5…………………… 33″ Inside Leg
SIZE 6…………………… 34″ Inside Leg
SIZE 7…………………… 35″ Inside Leg
SIZE 8…………………… 38″ Inside Leg