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Homage to a genius inventor – cyclists return to bike’s spiritual home

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This year marks the 130th anniversary of the application for the patent of the Dursley Pedersen bicycle frame, and cyclists on Pedersen bikes old and new arrived in the inventor’s former home town on Saturday.

Danish national Mikael Pedersen had, in 1877, invented a centrifugal cream separator and was subsequently invited to Dursley by R A Lister to design a similar device for them. Sales were successful and Pedersen became wealthy, renting Raglan House in Long Street, the largest house in the town.

pedersen pics saturday 7 | Homage to a genius inventor – cyclists return to bike’s spiritual home
Riders of original and modern Pedersen bicycles visited Raglan House in Long Street, former residence of Mikael Pedersen which bears a plaque. Picture: Matt Bigwood.

In the 1890s Pedersen designed the iconic Dursley Pedersen bicycle, using a cantilevered frame design and a hammock-style saddle.

“At that time bicycle design was in a state of flux, so he designed a bicycle which you didn’t have to saw yourself in half with a narrow saddle – the saddle moved with you and the rest of the design evolved from that,” explained John Bradshaw, organiser of the event.

pedersen pics saturday 3 | Homage to a genius inventor – cyclists return to bike’s spiritual home
Cyclists were greeted by Dursley Mayor, Cllr Symon Ackroyd. Picture: Matt Bigwood.

On Saturday morning cyclists were welcomed to the town by Dursley Mayor Cllr Symon Ackroyd. They then visited the site of the former factory in Water Street and Mikael Pedersen’s home in Long Street.

The Pedersen design is still being built in Germany by Kemper Pedersen, in the Netherlands as the DX11 Ghent, as well as Jesper Solling’s Copenhagen Pedersen. In 1993 cyclists from across Europe visited Dursley for a Pedersen Pilgrimage which saw riders tackle The Broadway, the steep hill from May Lane to Stinchcombe Hill.

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Pedersen cyclists arrived in Dursley in September 1993 for a Pedersen Pilgrimage – in those days traffic could drive round the town’s Market Place. Picture: Matt Bigwood.

Pedersen returned to Denmark in 1920. He died penniless in 1929 and was buried in an unmarked grave in a suburb of Copenhagen. In 1995 a group of Dursley Pedersen enthusiasts raised money for his remains to be brought back to Britain and re-buried in Dursley Cemetery with a fitting headstone. The event was attended by his around 100 members of his family, friends and cycling enthusiasts.

pedersen reinterr edit | Homage to a genius inventor – cyclists return to bike’s spiritual home
The remains of Mikael Pedersen were reinterred in Dursley Cemetery in 1995. Picture: Matt Bigwood.

On Saturday afternoon the cyclists rounded off their tour of the town with a visit to the cemetery to pay their respects to the inventor.

Swipe through our gallery of pictures by Matt Bigwood below:

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