Lakes Motor Museum displays the 1960 Bowden Spacelander bike
As you walk through the exhibit spaces of the Lakeland Motor Museum, you can be forgiven for thinking that some historical exhibits may have been just ahead of their time.
And it’s not just the four-wheeler variety shows.
Take for example the futuristically named Bowden Spacelander bicycle which is one of the many two-wheeled historical artifacts on display at the museum.
It may date from 1960, but everything suggests that it would not be out of place on today’s roads.
Benjamin Bowden, born in the United Kingdom, designed the Spacelander in 1946 as part of the “Britain Can Make It” exhibition. It was a hit there – in large part thanks to her looks.
The design was positively aged.
The prototype had a dynamo that stored energy downhill and released it on uphill.
It was the first bike to have a fiberglass frame and integrated front and rear lights and a push-button electric horn.
The prototypes in this exhibition were actually made by the car manufacturer MG. But there was an obvious problem.
The Spacelander was extremely expensive to manufacture and wouldn’t be produced in volume until 1960 – and that was in Muskegon, Michigan, USA.
It sold for $ 89.50, making it one of America’s most expensive bikes.
The Bowden Company went bankrupt in 1961 with only 522 Spacelanders ever made.
Thus, the version of the Lakeland Motor Museum is rather rare.
It is in charcoal black.
Other color choices existed and they were much brighter with names like Cliffs of Dover White, Outer Space Blue, Meadow Green, and Stop Sign Red.
It looked futuristic – and maybe it was too futuristic for the time.
You have to wonder if if it were produced today, this vehicle from our past could have a rather bright future.