Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Bikes: Dahon Espresso; Dahon Helios. Phillips Boardwalk Lite: Trek Navigator
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I had expected that a vintage bike or military vehicle enthusiast would respond to Foldable Two's message, providing details about the folding bike that he saw. Since this information has not been forthcoming, please let me contribute my own (non-expert) thoughts on the matter.
I feel fairly sure that the bike that he saw is not a US military folding bike, but a British-built BSA folding bike, of which many tens of thousands were built during World War II. They were used extensively by British and Canadian forces during the latter part of that war, mainly by paratroopers. The folded bikes were dropped either in a separate package by parachute or, in some cases, were actually carried by the paratrooper during his descent. The bikes were also carried folded up in gliders. They were used too by regular British and Canadian infantry units during and after the D-Day landings in Northern France.
The BSA mark on the bike frame is an acronym for the Birmingham Small Arms company, originally formed on 1861. Besides its main business of manufacturing rifles, machine guns, shells, etc., from 1881 onwards, the company built bicycles and tricycles. From 1909 onwards, it also built motor cycles. The BSA Cycles part of the company was sold to Raleigh in 1957, who continued to build and sell bicycles with the distinctive 3-rifles BSA badge till the 1980s. I still see them lots of them on the road; indeed one of my departmental colleagues still commutes to the University of Glasgow on his BSA roadster.
For detailed information on the BSA Airborne Folding Bicycle, please see the excellent Web site of Colin Stevens - http://bcoy1cpb.pacdat.net/bsa_airborne_bicycles_(aka_parabike).htm
Since Colin Stevens appears to be based in British Columbia, it is possible that it was one of his BSA folding bikes that Foldable Two saw at the WWII Anniversary Celebration held in Vancouver.
Another excellent site for the BSA Airborne Folding Bike is that of David Gordon from Texas - http://visualcollector.com/OBLI/BSABike.htm
I believe that there are a number of these BSA Airborne Folding Bikes on exhibition in cycle or transport museums here in the U.K.