The Pedersen bike

Posted on June 13, 2011
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There’s always another way of doing things – from

I wanted a Pedersen. I’d first seen the bike in Copenhagen several years earlier. It was fantastic-looking, like the Eiffel Tower with pedals. I couldn’t help staring every time I saw one blur by. I wanted to understand it. How did it work? What happened to the seatpost? How do you get on it? It was both old-fashioned and au courant. I saw distinguished older men on them, as well as young women with blond hair trailing behind in the summer breeze. On the bike, they all looked like royalty.

I learned that most modern-day Pedersens were made in Christiania by an eccentric, reclusive hippie, famous the world over among a small, discerning cadre of bicycle auteurs. I toyed with buying a Pedersen and bringing it home, but a new one starts at a couple of thousand dollars and I had recently brought home another town bike from an earlier trip to Holland. My husband was worried that this would become an expensive habit.

So I flew home, bikeless. But I couldn’t stop thinking about the Pedersen. I did some research. I talked to current owners. There are at least two in my town of Boulder, Colorado. A 23-year-old waiter named Ryan Guerrero found one in his grandmother’s basement, left there by an uncle who’d lived in Denmark. “I was like, what’s this crazy bike?” Guerrero had told me. “It looks uncomfortable, like there’s no way it would be worth riding. I got on it, and was like, this is one of the best and most efficient bikes I’ve ever ridden! Ever! It’s now my main bike.”

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