Union “Strano” 1964ca short wheelbase bicycle frame# 775316
The ‘Union’ factory was founded in the Dutch town of Dedemsvaart in July 1904 by B.J. (Berend Jan) van den Berg. At that time Van den Berg had already a local bicycle trade in which he sold Dutch Fongers, Burgers and Corona bicycles.
When the factory started in 1904, Van den Berg imported a wagon full of German ‘Orion’ bicycles which were re branded. Because these bicycles were very heavy, they did not sell as quickly as he had hoped. After some thinking he then decided to make his own bikes. At first he bought the frames from the Dutch ‘Gazelle’ factory. But later on, after some trial and error he succeeded to build his own quality frames and ‘Union’ would become one of the largest Dutch bicycle brands.
In 1933, Ernesto Pettazzoni, an engineer from Bologna, Italy, had applied for a British patent for his ultra-short-wheelbase semi-recumbent machine, the Velocino. It represented a wheelchair chopped in half, with the seat over the normal-sized rear wheel. The tiny front wheel was about 10 inches in diameter. The handlebar was reversible, giving the option of under-seat steering. Mussolini is said to have commissioned the Velocino as a compact, easily stored urban vehicle. The project attracted a lot of attention but was canceled after Italy entered World War II. Among the companies that launched bicycles inspired by his design was Union. The firm introduced their ‘Strano’ in 1964 – designed by Bernard Overing of Deventer. It wasn’t a commercial success and production stopped after about a year. The Strano has a length of only 108 centimeters.
This example is equiped with the original Union saddle and bicycle bell and in fully functional original condition.