Rudge Bicyclette Model H

Rudge was successful in the period of the ordinary and they almost invented the safety. In 1879 they produced one of the first models designed by Lawson. This bicycle was already called 'the bicyclette', a name that became the French word for bicycle.
This Rudge bicyclette model H has a rare double tube frame. The bike is incredibly heavy, in fact it makes me think of a light motorcycle! The model is not unique for Rudge; we know of some French factories that built the same frame; these might be copies of the original Rudge design. This bike has socket steering (without balls). Rudge also made a version with pivot steering

This bicycle with serial number 79069 was built in 1891-1892. It has a lot of nice details and was very well restored by Maarten Waarlé, who also made the pictures. Note that the mudguards are original, even the strange 'wave' near the front fork. Look at the illustration from the catalogue! Only detail that is not correct is the new leather on the saddle.
I asked Maarten why the step was mounted on the right side, when all other safeties have it left side. He told me there was no other possibility: the axle was long at the right side and too short on the left side...

I really love this bicycle, it is the safety in its best form. Not very practical, but experimental in a lot of details. It's like an evolution, leading to the modern bicycle in only ten years time.