1944 BSA Paratroop Bicycle

This folding BSA bicycle was produced to a ministry contract resulting in 128,847 being built. The correct name is BSA Airborne Bicycle, 2nd Pattern. The concept was to provide instant mobility for airborne troops, either dropped by parachute, or by airborne assault in gliders. When dropped by parachute the bicycle was folded and grasped to the chest until landing. They were produced in two colours, green and the much rarer brown, the change being brought about by nothing more than a shortage of green paint.

Although used in battle it was not as much as planned. Some are reported to have been used on the first airborne raid into Norway, having been found in the wreckage of the gliders. A few were carried by Commandos on raids and on D-Day, 6 June 1944, each Commando unit appears to have had a bicycle platoon though the bicycles seem to have been discarded within a few days. They were also used by British and Canadian infantry on D-Day.

Photographic evidence shows that some British and Canadian troops in armoured vehicles acquired BSA airborne bicycles and hung them on their vehicles, apparently for use as runabouts when time permitted. They may have also been used in combat zones by air force personnel as bicycles are very useful items to have around airfields.

The Collection’s exhibit

This is a sound example complete with period army helmet.

vcc_supported This machine is supported by the Veteran-Cycle Club

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