1902 Dan Albone lady’s roadster
In August 1886 Dan Albone invented the first practical safety bicycle, designed and marketed especially for ladies. It is a common misconception that Dan made the first lady’s bicycle but that was not the case. What Dan did do, which is really much more of an achievement, was to design a lady’s bicycle that worked, was copied by other makers, and has been essentially the same design ever since. Dan persuaded Miss Burrows, who lived nearly opposite in Biggleswade, to sit on the machine to be photographed. When Miss Burrows told her aunt what had happened, the aunt was horrified at the idea of her niece being depicted doing such a disgraceful thing as riding a bicycle!
Dan Albone was an important figure in cycling during the 1880s and 1890s, not only as rider, inventor, and ‘Ivel’ cycle manufacturer, but also as someone who was renowned for providing hospitality for cyclists. He was not a major manufacturer but his influence was profound. He was also a great character and a prominent public figure in Biggleswade.
Today he is better known as the inventor of the Ivel Agricultural Motor, the first practical farm tractor.
The Collection’s exhibit
This exhibit was Lady Shuttleworth’s bicycle and has excellent provenance. Dan Albone was a personal friend of the Shuttleworth’s so it is certain this machine would have received his personal attention. Colonel F. Shuttleworth is named as a Patron in Dan’s 1902 catalogue.