Category Archives: Bike Tech

Pederson Bicycle – The Ride for You

What bicycle has 14 steel tubes, connected at 57 places and forming 21 triangles? Kiss goodbye to saddle sores, backaches, and bone-shaking rides over Capital Region pot-holed streets.

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The hammock-like saddle cushions the Pedersen cyclist from all such discomfort.

A Contemporary Pedersen

That saddle sways with peddling motion to give almost complete suspension. The cycle’s designer, Danish inventor Mikael Pedersen wrote of the saddle: “It `gives’ in every direction, the weight is evenly distributed … you may take my word for it that all cyclists and especially ladies after once trying this seat will refuse to ride on any other.”

The Cantilever Bicycle – A Lasting Technology 125 Years Later – This 1897 article from the Scientific Topics section of the Evening Gazette Burlington, Iowa 8/17/97 tells the whole story. (The article, or variations, was also published in 1897 and 1899 in 16 other newspapers covered by the “Newspaper Archive”):

Evening Gazette Burlington, Iowa 8/17/97

“The accompanying illustration is from a photograph of the Cantilever bicycle, cycle construction, and its inventor, Mr. Nickall Pendersen (sic.). One of the features wherein this machine differs materially from the ordinary safety bicycle is the weight (ED: A “safety bicycle” is the grandparent of the standard bicycle frame design in use today). Cantilevers range in weight from the nine-pound racer to a wheel for rough use, which weighs 14 pounds. The construction is the outcome of the inventor’s desire to secure a perfect seat. Mr. Nickall Pendersen (sic.) is a Dane, residing in England, and he has been a wheelman for twenty years. His idea was to enjoy the comfort of a hammock on a bicycle, which he accomplished by the use of silk strings on which the saddle rests. The front forks are attached to the rest of the frame by a pivot connection at the top and by a strong pivot hinge at the point shown in the cut just where the lower part of the frame joining with the crank hanger goes up to a point near the top of the front wheel. This connection gives the machine a sensitive steering device.”

Dursley Pedersen Bicycle ca. 1910

Mikael Pedersen, the Inventor – Danish inventor Mikael Pedersen

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Mikael Pedersen

developed the Pedersen bicycle, also called the Dursley Pedersen. He produced the bicycle in Dursley, England. Though never hugely popular, Pedersens enjoy a devoted following and are still produced today. Your author spotted one in Albany several years ago. On 3/30/20, E-Bay featured a used 8-speed for $2,500. The unusual frame is a pure cross, marketed as cantilever, and features a distinctive hammock-style saddle. Variations include lightweight racing, tandem, and folding designs. Other Pedersen innovations include two and three-speed internally geared rear hubs. The latter were troublesome and not up to the quality of the other all-time-great (and only?) English invention, the Strumey-Archer hub gearbox.

The Move to the UK – Pedersen received a patent in the United Kingdom for his bicycle in the early 1890s and constructed the first model out of wood. He formed the Pedersen Cycle Frame Co. Ltd., and when that fell into financial difficulty, production continued at the Dursley Pedersen Cycle Co. The Pedersen Cycle Frame Co. also licensed the design was to other manufacturers, and, while approximately 30,000 units resulted by the early 1920s, the design never really caught on.

A Contemporary Pedersen

See lots and lots of Perdersend here – Pedersen bicycle – Google Search

In 1978, Jesper Sølling resumed production in Copenhagen and has been followed by others.

A Contemporary Pedersen – Count the Tubes!

The Hammock Saddle – Pedersen wrote that he developed the hammock style seat first. It provides suspension from road imperfections with much less weight, 4 ounces (110 g) instead of 3 pounds (1.4 kg) of traditional leather and steel spring saddles of the day. Pedersen then developed a frame, a truss assembled from several thin tubes, around his new seat design.

He attributed his inspiration to the Whipple-Murphy bridge truss. (Albany resident Squire Whipple was the first bridge builder to apply scientific principles to the field with his Whipple Truss bridge.*

Evolution of the Hammock Saddle – The frame design initially did not support seat height adjustment, and even after some adjustability was added, eight different sizes required manufacture. The non-standard frame design would not accommodate a traditional front fork. Instead, Pedersen developed a fork that also consisted of thin tubes assembled into a truss, which was attached to the frame with bearings at two distinct points, instead of through a traditional head tube. Pedersen also received patents for a chain wheel and bottom bracket combination and lightweight pedals.

Maybe another COVID-19 give-away will come through to finance your a “new” bicycle …

A Contemporary Pedersen

Selected videos to enhance your appreciation of the Pederesen foloow::

SOURCES:

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*  There are three Whipple Bridge samples in the Capital area – one leading to the residence of the Albany Police Department horses at Normanskill Farm (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whipple_Cast_and_Wrought_Iron_Bowstring_Truss_Bridge), one at the Visher Ferry Historic site, and a rare doublewide bridge in Town Of Claverack, Columbia County.

A Whipple truss has diagonal members working in tension. The main characteristic of a Whipple truss is that the tension members are elongated, usually thin, and at a shallow angle, and cross two or more bays (rectangular sections defined by the vertical members). The bridges are like a life-size “Gilbert Erector Set” that could have been assembled by a small work crew out of modernly light-weight components using basic hand tools – and, hopefully, some detailed instructions on how all the parts fit together. Whipple bridges were easy to transport and assemble and were common on the Erie Canal to connect parts of farms that canal digging divided and as “change bridges” where the mule team could cross to the other side of the canal. A notable side product of these and other Erie Canal bridges was the ever-popular “Low Bridge! – Everybody Down” also known as “Fifteen Years on the Erie Canal” or incorrectly as “Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal.” Thomas S. Allen wrote the lyrics and music in 1913 possibly as a nostalgia song when the New York State Barge Canal with its tugs and self-powered canal boats drove the hoagies and their mules (and their way of life) out of business.

I’ve got an old mule and her name is Sal

 Fifteen years on the Erie Canal

 She’s a good old worker and a good old pal

 Fifteen years on the Erie Canal

We’ve hauled some barges in our day

 Filled with lumber, coal, and hay

 And every inch of the way I (we) know

 From Albany to Buffalo

Chorus:

 Low bridge, everybody down

 Low bridge cause we’re coming to a town

 And you’ll always know your neighbor

 And you’ll always know your pal

 If you’ve ever navigated on the Erie Canal

Get up there Sal, we’ve passed that lock,

 Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal

 And we’ll make Rome before six o’clock

 Fifteen years on the Erie Canal

One more trip and back we’ll go

 Through the rain and sleet and snow

 And every inch of the way I (we) know

 From Albany to Buffalo

Low bridge, everybody down

 Low bridge for we’re coming to a town

 And you’ll always know your neighbor

 And you’ll always know your pal

 If you’ve ever navigated on the Erie Canal.

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Pre-Trip Bike Maintenance Check Up from Adventure Cycling

PreambleAdventure Cycling’s Alex Strickland provided the following pre-ride tips for the upcoming “Bike Travel Weekend.” Even if your fall riding plans are a bit less ambitious, you might want to review these reminders. Adventure Cycling leads in with this: “Will you do us a favor and take a few minutes to check your bike before you leave for your Bike Travel Weekend & Bike Your Park Day ride? Here’s a quick checklist to help you stay safe.”

Jacques Tati et sa bicyclette, 1947 or ’49

Touring Basics – Your campground is reserved, your gear is laid out in an Instagram-friendly grid, and tomorrow’s the big day. Before you go, take 30 minutes for a quick run-through of your bike — the old “ounce of prevention” — to make sure your wheels are road-worthy before you strike out on an adventure.

Frame – Start with the frame and give it a good wipe down with a rag. Once the dirt and grime are gone, make a quick check for cracks, especially around the welds.

Tires – With the tires inflated, look for sharp debris or glass embedded in the tire, as well as any cuts that look like they go through the rubber and tire casing. Also check tread wear; if the top tread is starting to become square in shape (as opposed to rounded), or the casing is visible through the tread, it’s time to swap out for a new tire. If you’re running tubeless, adding a little fresh sealant is a good idea.

Wheels – Spin the wheels while straddling the bike and give them a quick spot check to make sure that they are round and true, and that there isn’t any excessive friction in the hubs. Also, give the spokes a quick squeeze to check for consistent tension.

Brakes – Check the pads (some rim brake pads have wear indicators) to ensure there’s enough material left. A quick visual inspection of the braking surface (rim or disc rotor) should uncover any issues there. Finally, check the lever feel and adjust cables or bleed hydraulic brakes if required.

Chain and Cassette – Chain and cassette wear can wreak havoc on your shifting and increase the chance of a broken chain. Looking at the cassette, focus on the teeth. If the cassette teeth come to a sharp point, the cassette should be replaced. As for the chain, you can use a chain checker tool to make sure that it isn’t stretched. If you don’t have one of these tools, you can look at how the chain lies over the front chainrings. If the chain doesn’t seat itself on the chainring properly, it’s probably ready to be replaced. A quick clean and lube of the chain is always a good idea.

Shifting – Run through the gears to make sure that the shifting is dialed in. Check cables and housing to make sure there isn’t any excessive friction or fraying.

Rack – Check for cracks and ensure mounting bolts are tight.

Bolts – Go over the bike from front to back, making sure all of the bolts are snug.

Take a Spin – The last step is to take the bike out of the garage and give it a quick spin around the block. Run through the gears, test the brakes, and listen for any creaks that might require further investigation.

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Love Thy Neighbor.

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Proudly Made in America Since 1898 – Worksman Cycles

Before you get concerned about “gender appropriation,” “Worksman” is not a marketer’s dream word – like Sear’s (R.I.P.) “CraftsMAN” or “LeatherMAN” – but recalls the company’s founder, Morris Worksman. He began building local delivery cycles in New York City more than 100 years ago.

“Our Goal is to bring a more efficient, reliable and healthful transportation to modern industry” – Morris Worksman, 1898.

If you were in NYC during the days before “electric motorcycles” as delivery vehicles, you may well have seen a Worksman or two zipping around the streets with deliveries or chained up at a green grocers ready to go.

Worksman_hot_dog_cart

In fact, you may have been lucky enough to get a Good Humor Ice Cream treat or a hot dog from a Worksman cargo bike or cart. Another use for Worksman cycles is ferrying workers, parts and supplies, and tools from and to work stations in industrial settings. A Worksman “look-alike” was spotted at the College of St. Rose in 2013.

Typically, the cargo box for trikes rested either between two steerable wheels with conventional chain power going to a single rear dive wheel or between two powered rear wheels with a single front wheel for steering. The two-wheel bicycle had a small front wheel that left room for a cargo box above the wheel and a swing-down front wheel stand.

Worksman Low Gravity – Model LGB – $609

LGBfunkycolors

Worksman Front Loader – Super Delivery Trike, Model SUD – $1,699

SUDBlue3Lo

A quote from the company president, Wayne Sosin, suffices to establish their “Made-in-America” bona fides. We make the frames, we weld the frames, we powder coat the frames, we assemble the wheels, we weld the rear axle sprockets that are actually made in the U.S. The handle bars are USA, the stem is USA, the steel fenders we use are USA-made.” Most manufacturing is now in S. Carolina although the Ozone Park plant still produces the hot dog and food vending carts.

Nevertheless, and all that aside, what’s available for the recreational or personal transportation cyclist? Worksman has a supplementary line of street-ready cruisers (for bikeshare and rentals), folders, and trikes.

Worksman Port-O-Trike PT2FJR – $485

PTjunior

Worksman Folding Bike 3 Speed FMB3CB – $409

redfolder

This posts sample folder speaks for itself with its photographic portfolio. It features a smooth shifting Strumey-Archer 3-speed hub, coaster brake, and 20 X 1.75”, 35-50 psi tires. This is not a compact fold and will benefit those with a low lift-over to their vehicle’s trunk area. The Chain card carries the company’s slogan, the down tube sings it praises, and the head badge shouts its lineage – “Pleasure Cycles – Ozone Park.”

Ready to ride – 

The fold – 

RESOURCES: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worksman_Cycles and https://www.americanmanufacturing.org/blog/entry/manufacturing-means-business-for-american-made-worksman-cycles

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Accessory Obsessing – Brake Lever Covers

In July 2007, the products “Lizard Skins Lever Grips” (for “greater control and comfort’) seemed (at $3.99/pr.) as exactly the right accessory for brake levers on a flat bar. So perfect that, after “testing,” a second pair was obtained and then a third (to replace the first which were worn out) in August 2019 (now $8.00). Here they are worn out . . .

These grips had a nice fabric feel with a sewn seam and a rubberized liner. They mounted easily with the ever-reliable lubricant hairspray.

When both the second a third sets (on two different flat bars) wore out, it seemed like an easy task to get replacements.

Answer: NO.

Lizard Skins  offers all sorts of neat bicycle and sports accessories but brake lever grips no longer. The best result after a lot of web searching was “not available.”

Returning to the search recently, up came “Race Ready Pro Cycling” which leads to EBay  for a similar product in silicone at $8.99 and here they are installed in black.

These would also fit “North Road” handlebars but that seems a little de classe.

Just  ordered another set in red and one in black pair at $3.19 from another vendor . . . who turns out to ship from the “KEP Sorting Center,” Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan – where else? Here is the proof:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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