Look at this absolute beauty. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it. Designed by Benjamin Bowden, this bike has a dynamo which stores the energy generated when travelling downhill and releases it to help the cyclist going uphill. I’m buying one!

Amazingly, I’m actually sixty years or so too late. The “Spacelander” bike has come to notice on the blogs recently as it’s a recent new old find from the wonderful site Modern Mechanix, which is so often a brilliant reminder of how old some of our new ideas are. My best source of inspiration for how to “reduce, re-use and recycle” is my grandmother, since her generation did these things all the time out of necessity. In our comparatively wasteful modern society, it’s surprising how often it isn’t a futuristic solution we need, but – to coin a term – a “past-istic” solution.

I was delighted to see this lovely bike surface again, since, as it happens, I have seen it before, albeit only as a postcard – but fell in love with the design there and then. I’m afraid I can’t establish the copyright – the postcard is made by, and is of an exhibit in the Brooklyn Museum, New York. I just so wanted to show you the beauty in her full-colour glory, that I hope this counts as “fair use”. Interestingly, just about everyone quotes that only 522 were ever made, and apparently this figure comes from the mind-blowingly and awe-inspiringly dedicated research of Leon Dixon. Since the inventor had no idea how many were made, he literally counted them from the manufacturer’s shipping list – which he still has, and includes where they were shipped to and in what colours! His website, The National Bicycle History Archive of America has the most amazing load of information on Benjamin Bowden, and the Spacelander, as well as loads of other wonderful, historic bikes.


Benjamin Bowden himself was born in 1906, in London, and died in Fort Worth, Florida on March 6th, 1998. He designed for the British sports car company, Healey, and later, in Ontario, helped improve the performance of the Ford Thunderbird.

I so want somebody to re-make this lovely machine – perhaps we can start a campaign. I’ve highlighted other bike designs I like before, in particular my main attraction to what I now call the “Plike” – Andrew Maynard’s Plywood Bicycle, was a slight echo of the Spacelander in its design. Phil contributed some very interesting comments on that, and I will be following up on them very soon – thanks.




  1. 1 February 6, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    great article. Loved the new pics the web’s electric bike only forum

  2. 2 Electric bike tips August 18, 2008 at 6:38 am

    wow interesting article….like it,share with me here Electric bike kits

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