“JOHNNY WILL BE SIX IN OCTOBER… but the war has taken away his birthday present – that BSA Junior bicycle his Dad promised him. We’re sorry to disappoint you Johnny – but we promise not to forget you. We can’t make your machine now because soldiers need bicycles – and it’s out job to supply the soldiers first.
But we’ll tell you something – we’ve learnt a lot about making bicycles in wartime, and by waiting until the war ends you’re going to get a much better one than you’ve ever imagined. When you go riding down the street on your post-war BSA Junior bicycle you’ll be the envy of all your friends, and they’ll be asking you for a ride on your exciting new bicycle. You’ll be glad you waited then!”
[CTC GAZETTE advertisement, August, 1944]
It’s interesting that the above 1944 BSA advert mentions a new BSA Junior bicycle that would be available after the war. Because, apart from the adult BSA Paratroop version of this bike, the BSA Junior Parabike was BSA’s first bike to be sold after wartime production ended. It would seem that BSA had designed it during the war. I assume they’d been considering how to market the BSA Airborne to the home market even while making them for the military. The Junior Parabike was announced to the public in the 21st November 1945 issue of Cycling:
‘The BSA Junior Parabike, a novel design that the dealers are distributing in time for Christmas. Its appearance is based on the famous BSA model used by British parachute troops.’
Compare the BSA Parabike Junior with the BSA Airborne below…
“The Cycle of Tomorrow for the Children of Today”
1946 BSA Junior Parabike in army trim
16 Inch Frame
18 x 1 3/8″ Wheels
BSA chain, hubs and sprockets
Frame No PJ 5024
Whereas the Parabike Junior originally came with mudguards, chaincase and rear carrier-cum-stand, this example has been restored and repainted as army issue, with BSA transfer on the seat tube and broad arrow plus patent transfer on the steering head.
It has BSA hubs and sprockets and, as you can see, also BSA chain. It’s in excellent all round condition and ready to ride and display. Of course, it would make an excellent Xmas present for a young lad who is interested in military bicycles. An old lad would no doubt appreciate it too 🙂
The BSA Junior Parabike was inspired by the BSA Airborne Bike used during WW2. Not everyone’s father would have used a BSA Airborne Bicycle. But no doubt most boys would have wished their fathers had jumped out of planes with paratrooper bikes to help defeat the enemy. It was sound marketing strategy from BSA – as you can see from the Parabike advert above, boys and girls could gaily ride their parabikes while army paratroopers were parachuting down behind them with the real thing.
FITTED WITH SMALL SIZE DUMMY RIFLE
BSA JUNIOR PARABIKES
After WW2, industry was still controlled by the Government. Exports were the number one priority in order to repay the massive war debts. The BSA Junior Parabike was one of many product lines available for export.
1946-53 BSA JUNIOR PARABIKE v 1942 BSA AIRBORNE