For all the cycling enthusiasts who also have a keen interest in history, a visit to Vikram Pendse’s Cycle museum in Pune should be mandatory. Opened to public in
May 2017, the museum has a collection of more than 150 vintage cycles chronicling the development over the last 100 years. The variations in material, metallurgy, gear, hubs, fork, accessories and development in design is stimulating to watch in this unique space
Mr. Pandurang Gaikwad a veteran cyclist who has competed in state, national and international meets has restored all the bicycles in this collection to working order. He has a record number of thirteen appearances in the marquee Mumbai Pune road race himself
A BSA Paratrooper bicycle, used during the Second World War, caught Vikrams attention in 1995 and that kick started his unique journey of collecting other interesting models. Along with bicycles came various accessories and components. Soon intriguing tricycles and pedal cars joined the bicycles!
The idea of opening the Museum was a necessity as the collection was filling up every available space at home. “The museum has turned out be a great opportunity to connect with the past”
Vikram has a collection of unique bicycles, tricycles, tandem, racer & cruisersfrom all over the world, which are examples of craftsmanship, elegance and functionality. “‘The versatility of the design and mechanism really hooked me. The bicycle is one of the most uncompromising constructions, artistically and structurally. The experimental and innovative elements of a bicycle are as important as who has ridden them and what roles in history they have played”
The layout of the museum interestingly curated by Anil Gujar weaves through 100 years and gives a period feel. He has designed the unique display interweaving many objects of different types and from different cultures across this timeline.
You will like the professional approach to research and display done in the museum by the team of Minaal Karekar, Swapna Pataskar, Mayur Pramod Pataskar and Rohan Sable Each display has a QR code that directly links the browser to the web content. You could spend a lazy few hours browsing through if you have some time while in Pune
CRANK showcases some models we foundas most unique in the collection
The 1914 Golden Sunbeam
This 28” Gentleman’s Bicycle with three Speed (Hub Gear) is the oldest cycle in the museums collection. This cycle is in original conditionwith original paint, decals and parts. It has not been restored but it is in a working condition.
The Sunbeams were made in Wolver Hampton from 1887 to 1937.
The company adopted a version of Harrison Carter’s little oil-bath chain case in the mid-1890s. The cycle was re-designed so that the oil contained in the oil bath lubricated the bottom bracket, chain and rear hub, the only cycle so designed to date. It was designed to last a gentleman a lifetime.The top model was the “Golden”, with alloy wheel-rims, Epi cyclic two- and three-speed gears and real gold-leaf pin striping
The BSA Paratrooper
The Birmingham Small Arms Company Limited (BSA) was a major Britishindustrial combine. At its peak BSA (which also owned Triumph) was the largest motorcycle producer in the world. BSA manufactured a range of bicycles from utility roadsters to racing bicycles and produced bicycles for both the police and military and notably afolding bicycle for the British Army during World War II [the famous folding Paratroopers). BSA supplied theIrish Army with these bicycles after 1922.These cycles fold in half and had an attachment, which could be attached to the parachute. The soldiers would jump off the plane with these cycles on their back. On landing on the ground the soldiers could pedal their way faster. This is the bicycle, which sparked an interest in Vikram Pendse to start collecting bicycles
James Adult Tricycle
James Cycle Co was founded sometime around 1875,but the postwar head-badge they used on their tricycles still proclaimed ‘Famous for over Fifty Years’ suggesting that they had coined this slogan in the early 1930s.Their main tricycle model was the ‘Superlux’ which had a lady’s loopframe. They also made some larger gent’s tricycles with a crossbar. The model with twin down tubes was a unisex model.
This was popular amongst the wealthy people of the time. We have photos of ‘Sardar’s’ or kingsmen driving the tricycle and an usher holding an umbrella over his sire’s head as he drove and running behind the tricycle.
This was one of the most popular racing cycle brands in France. The museum collection has a 27”/1/4” frame. It has narrow rims which help in creating lesser friction and attaining greater speed. This particular model was very popular in the Tour de France and was also used in the Olympics
This cycle was procured from an old lady ho was keen not to
get it back! It had returned earlier as the new owners could not the right tire’s, which made her wary and Vikram was only glad to reassure her
The American Cycloskiff
This is a peculiar cycle for kids. This was probably first designed in Switzerland and can be used by children who do not have strength in their legs or by toddlers as the cycle does not have pedals
The child has to move a power rod with both hands. This force bar was relatively long, so you could put a lot of force on the bar. The vehicle was controlled with the feet, which were held on an extended axle at the front wheel. On moving the bars a rowing action is created and the Cycloskiff moves forward!
The one in the collection had decals with the marking American Cycloskiff, The original was produced in Nyon VD, called “CycloSkiff” and was available in bright red or blue, with a yellow or blue plastic saddle and was produced from 1950 to 1960. In French it was called Cyclorameur, which means rowing races. This was probably because you had to make rowing motions for driving the Cycloskiff.