Hundreds of Pedersen owners gather every year to share the enjoyment of a mass ride in beautiful countryside. Most are newer recreations but many are originals.
Exhibitor Profile: Pedersen
In an age of innovation Dane Mikael Pedersen was an accomplished and prolific inventor, producing, among other things, a corn thresher, a gearing system for horse driven mills, one of the earliest geared bicycle hubs and a braking system for wagons.
Pedersen was involved in the development of a continuous centrifuge for the churning and separation of cream and butter from milk. This was patented in 1878 but his involvement in its development was not credited, an omission which angered him. Pedersen worked on further refinements, leading to his own patents and to considerable income.
As part of an export drive contact was made with R A Lister and Co, of Dursley in Gloucestershire, England. Lister requested that Pedersen come to England to set up local assembly with parts shipped from Denmark, and this he agreed to do. The separator was enormously successful in England and Pedersen became very wealthy, renting the largest house in Dursley and becoming a prominent figure in the town’s society. He formed a choir and took part in concerts, and established a number of social and sporting groups.
Pedersen, loved cycling, but was unhappy with the comfort of the bicycle saddles of the day, so he famously invented the hammock saddle and designed the frame around it.
He obtained a patent for his unique cantilever frame bicycle in 1893 and persuaded the Lister Company to establish a production line to produce it. Following some spectacular sporting successes - including the Bristol to London record - the Pedersen earned a devoted following, but overall fewer than 8,000 bikes were produced. Versions included ladies’ models, track racers and tandems.
Pedersen lacked business sense and was prone to being cheated. In his sixties he secretly slipped away from Dursley, leaving his family behind. He was spotted by a friend selling matches in London who arranged to pay his way back to Denmark in 1920. He died there nine years later, penniless and unknown, and was buried in a pauper’s grave in Copenhagen.
In 1995 a collection was started by a group of Pedersen bicycle enthusiasts to raise funds in order to bring Mikael Pedersen's remains back to Dursley and re-bury them there. The service was led by the Bishop of Gloucester and attended by over 300 people including representatives from the Danish Embassy and Pedersen's grandchildren.
Refined versions of his milk separating centrifuge are in use to this day.
As are his bicycles.
We at Pedersen Manufaktur have been selling Pedersen bikes and accessories since 1991. Ever since we have been trying to integrate technical developments related to bikes in our work - with pleasure!
In 2002, we relocated our frame production from Denmark to the Czech Republic. The Pedersen bikes are still assembled at the Roland Werk in Garrel, Germany.
[Ed's note: A cottage industry has grown up providing high quality accessories for the discerning Pedersen owner. Check out the hand made luggage of Kunst und Leder in Cyclorama Parts and Accessories]
Visit this exhibitor's website: http://www.pedersen.info
Donnerschweer Str. 45
The editor says
Pedersen Manufaktur carry the torch for a genius designer who was way ahead of his time. Mikael would no doubt be proud that his bike remains in production to this day.