The Water Bicycle concept was initially known in the 1870s as a ‘water velocipede’. The rider pedalled as on a bicycle and delivered the power to the water by propeller or paddles. The rider was usually seated upright and some larger versions could carry passengers. Buoyancy was provided by two or more pontoons. There have been versions of the water bicycle for over a hundred years, as modern versions are still sold today.
The Museum of the Broads added an original water bicycle called ‘Nutty Slack’ to the collection. The owner’ Bert ‘Nobby’ Clarke’ built the craft in 1947 from parts collected over the years. The propulsion was by two paddles at the rear is mounted on two floats. He used the bicycle to trawl the rivers and Broads for bodies, both human and animal for the Norfolk Police.
The Museum has conserved the bicycle as much as possible, but it is unable to be used in the water as there are too many holes in the floats.
A working replica has been constructed by volunteers at the Museum. Inside one of the floats is a memory card showing a film of the construction of Nutty Slack II.