Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Load of BSA.

In one of the many Tasmanian Antique shops, this unusual piece of history was up on a high display. I took some pictures and promptly forgot about it until recently:

It was well above head height, a bit hard to photograph.

Note the fork mounted lighting and sturdy built-in luggage rest. If the chain ring is to anything to go by, this is a 'BSA' bike which I had not heard of until my Googling told me it stands for Birmingham Small Arms company.

Distinctive enough! Check your Grandpa's shed for any BSAs lying about!

According to Wikipedia, Birmingham Small Arms was a group of companies manufacturing "military and sporting firearms; bicycles; motorcycles; cars; buses and bodies; steel; iron castings; hand, power and machine tools; coal cleaning and handling plants; sintered metals; and hard chrome process." (There you go!)

BSA was once the largest manufacturer of motorcycles in the world and after a few name changes a company subsidiary still manufactures the world famous London taxis. Fascinating pictures of their military bicycles can be found here at the BSA museum site. I don't know if this is actually a military bicycle but in person the red reminds me of old London buses. A 'subdued' kind of red rather than a flashy hue. Unless there was a mass importing in the past, I'd think a BSA bicycle would be fairly rare in Australia. It's certainly the first bicycle I've seen in an antique shop.

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