Bikes I Like
by Old Bone Machine
Danish furniture design of the 20th century is renowned for its clean lines and comfort. The Dursley Pedersen is a Danish classic.
The engineer, Mikael Pedersen, unsatisfied with the comfort afforded by the recently invented safety bicycle, created a hammock-style saddle. Content with his new saddle, he then proceeded to design a frame that allowed the hammock-style saddle to be suspended. A safety bicycle re-engineered for comfort. The woven saddle was soft, flexible and ventilated and the ride of the Dursley Pedersen was comfortable.
The design also allowed the rider to pedal in a more natural up-right position and a single frame size could accommodate riders of various sizes.
Further inspiration for the design was said to have come from staring intently at lattice trussed railway bridges.
Pedersen moved from Denmark to Dursley, a town in Gloucestershire, England, where he worked as an engineer and an inventor of machinery for R. A. Lister. The design of the Dursley Pedersen bicycle was patented in 1894 and production of the bicycle continued until 1917.
Mikael Pedersen eventually returned to Denmark a broken man, leaving his family, a failed marriage and business in his wake. He died in 1929 and was buried in an unmarked grave.
The Dursley Pedersen bicycle with its soft, unique saddle was then forgotten and lost. In 1978, Jesper Sølling, a Danish blacksmith, re-discovered the design and began manufacturing the Pedersen.
Finally, in 1995, a group of Dursley Pedersen bicycle enthusiasts raised funds and had Pedersen’s remains exhumed and reinterred in Dursley, England.
The above images of the Dursley Pedersen bicycle come from the Powerhouse Museum collection. The bike, circa 1910, was restored by the museum in 1985.