B.S.A. folding bicycle, c. 1942
B.S.A. Airborne Bicycle, B.S.A. Cycles Ltd., c. 1942
In 1941 bicycle manufacturer B.S.A. Cycles Ltd. was asked by the War Office to design a folding bicycle which could be strapped to the back of troops parachuting into action. The resulting machine weight only 9.5kg. In practice they were dropped by parachute in groups of three to be picked up by the troops after landing. The twin loop frame of small diameter tubes gives low weight be retains adequate rigidity. After loosening the two large thumbscrews the front half of the frame can be folded sideways to overlap the rear half. Cable operated centre pull brakes are fitted. Over 60,000 folding bicycles were produced, a figure equal to half the total production of military bicycles during the Second World War. The life required was only 50 miles but in face some achieved many thousands of miles in private hands after the war.