The eyes of the cycling world have firmly been on Scotland over the last few weeks. As the curtain drops on the UCI 2023 World Championships with over 200 rainbow jerseys being awarded to winners in downhill mountain biking to BMX and everything in between, it's been quite the journey for fans of cycling, the competitors and has drawn in new audiences watching the events in person or on TV.
To celebrate the World Championships being in Scotland, Scottish brand Endura has also set off on its own special journey with a recreated version of the first-ever pedal cycle invented by Kirkpatrick Macmillan in 1839. Endura has been around since 1993 and has always aimed to be at the forefront of developing innovative, bombproof kit able to cope with the rigors of all genres of riding. From the best mountain bike helmets to gravel bike clothing to MTB protection, the brand has now taken on the ambitious project of recreating and paying homage to Kirkpatrick Macmillan's invention.
Endura has aimed to deliver the historic pedal cycle as authentically as possible and importantly also made the finished machine fully rideable. Featuring an entirely wooden frame it weighs in at approximately 30kg, with Ash wood wheels featuring metal rims and a treadle linkage mechanism, with the finished machine also recreating Kirkpatrick's historic ride from Thornhill in Dumfries and Galloway to Glasgow.
Endura brought the project to life in partnership with Ullapool-based boat builder Tim Loftus, an expert in woodwork craftsmanship at Johnson and Loftus boat yard, and experienced and renowned Scottish bike manufacturer Steven Shand, Shand Bikes are based close to Endura HQ in Livingston, Scotland and their handbuilt bikes have been ridden in some of the toughest endurance events around the world including by us on our Biking the Bothies, Scottish adventure.
The reborn bicycle started its journey in Thornhill, the birthplace of Kirkpatrick Macmillan, and the bike made a 60-mile trip to the Riverside Museum on the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow with a line-up of riders led by Endura athletes and professional riders Mikayla Parton, James MacDonald, and Joe Barnes. Scottish sporting icons like football legend and TV pundit Ally McCoist alongside Kenny Logan, the highly decorated ex-Scottish Rugby Union player also taking turns in the saddle. The team of riders also had the opportunity to test another legend to be reborn recently, the Endura's Hummvee Short and also
Along the route, the bike stopped at several important Kirkpatrick sites including Courthill Smithy, the location of Kirkpatrick’s workshop where he built the bike. Continuing on its journey towards the center of Glasgow, the riders also passed through the picturesque and challenging Mennock Pass before heading to the final stop at Glasgow’s Riverside Museum.
To ensure the storytelling aspect of the project is as historically accurate as can be, Endura has also enlisted the help of expert David Hurdle, a distant relative of Macmillan and author of "The Life of Kirkpatrick Macmillan." With his deep understanding of Macmillan’s life and legacy, David has provided valuable insights and consultancy on the historical accuracy of the event locations.
Endura has also worked closely with the Dumfries Museum, known for exhibiting a late 19th-century replica of Macmillan’s invention created for the 1896 Crystal Palace exhibition. The new replica will be on display as part of the Dumfries Museum's “My First Bicycle” exhibition running throughout August.