1946-1953 BSA Junior Parabikes: Boys & Girls

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“The Cycle of Tomorrow for the Children of Today”

JOHNNY WILL BE SIX IN OCTOBER… but the war has taken away his birthday present – that BSA Junior bicycle his Dad promised him.

We’re sorry to disappoint you Johnny – but we promise not to forget you. We can’t make your machine now because soldiers need bicycles – and it’s out job to supply the soldiers first.

But we’ll tell you something – we’ve learnt a lot about making bicycles in wartime, and by waiting until the war ends you’re going to get a much better one than you’ve ever imagined.

When you go riding down the street on your post-war BSA Junior bicycle you’ll be the envy of all your friends, and they’ll be asking you for a ride on your exciting new bicycle.

You’ll be glad you waited then!

It’s interesting that the above 1944 BSA advert mentions a new BSA Junior bicycle that would be available after the war. Because, apart from the adult BSA Paratroop version of this bike, the BSA Junior Parabike was BSA’s first bike to be sold after wartime production ended. It would seem that BSA had designed it during the war. I assume they’d been considering how to market the BSA Airborne to the home market even while making them for the military. The Junior Parabike was announced to the public in the 21st November 1945 issue of Cycling:

‘The BSA Junior Parabike, a novel design that the dealers are distributing in time for Christmas. Its appearance is based on the famous BSA model used by British parachute troops.’

It’s interesting to compare it to the adult version – the BSA Airborne Paratrooper’s Bike – because they both use the same duplex frame tubing.

1946-1953 BSA Junior Parabike:

Boy’s Model PJ/1

Girl’s Model PJ/2

16″ Frame

18 x 1 3/8″ Wheels

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The BSA Junior Parabike was inspired by the BSA Airborne Bike used during WW2. Not everyone’s father would have used a BSA Airborne Bicycle. But no doubt most boys and girls would have wished their fathers had jumped out of planes with paratrooper bikes to help defeat the enemy, as portrayed on the wonderful Junior Parabike advertising poster…

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It was sound marketing strategy from BSA. As you can see from the Parabike poster, boys and girls could gaily ride their parabikes while army paratroopers parachuted down behind them with the real thing.

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According to the brochure, this pair of parabikes are in their original colours, the boy’s in Windsor red and the girl’s in blue. Some of the brightwork on the girls bike has been silvered. But it’s hard to know if the red or blue paintwork on the bikes is original or an older restoration. Both have recently been serviced, and last weekend I brought them with me when I went to Amberley Veteran Cycle Day so my friends’ kids could ride them.

 

BSA JUNIOR PARABIKES

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After WW2, industry was still controlled by the Government. Exports were the number one priority in order to repay the massive war debts. The BSA Junior Parabike was one of many product lines available for export.

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The correct name of the WW2 paratrooper bicycle is ‘BSA Airborne Bicycle’ although many people refer to it as a ‘parabike.’ When you observe these adverts, you can see how BSA themselves contributed the word ‘parabike’ to common usage.Very few Junior Parabikes have survived and most people now use the term to describe the original military version.

Above, the girl’s version; below, the boy’s. As I’m sure you already know, Kirkpatrick Macmillan (1812-1878), mentioned above, claimed to be the inventor of the rear-wheel driven bicycle.

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BOY’S JUNIOR PARABIKE MODEL PJ/1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1952 BSA BROCHURE

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GIRL’S JUNIOR PARABIKE MODEL PJ/2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1953 BSA CATALOGUE

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