Pashion for Pashley
When I was looking for a new bike two or three years ago I was determined that it wouldn't be some over-designed monstrosity churned out from some South Korean mega-factory. I also wanted to be able to sit in an upright, comfortable position. My old mountain bike forced me to sit in a ludicrous hunched position. Trips to India had made me fall in love with old-style, unfussy bikes. Could I find a similar one here and, hope against hopes, could I find a British manufacturer that could supply it?
I quickly found one or two acceptable looking Dutch bikes and a nice one from the Damish company Skeppshult on the web, then I stumbled on the web site of Pashley Cycles. My heart started racing. I read the opening paragraph, 'Pashley - England's longest established bicycle manufacturer. Founded in 1926 and based in Stratford-upon-Avon.' So far so very good. I clicked through the pages showing the models of bikes. I saw the first bike. I wanted it. I saw the second bike. I wanted that too. In fact, I wanted them all. Pashley it would be, but which model? In the end, it had to be the majestic
Roadster Sovereign. With its large frame and 28" wheels it's such a marvellously elegant and serene ride. In fact, its such a pleasure to ride I find it hard to take the sort of beatific grin off my slightly self-satisfied face when I'm in the seat. I glide around tinging my bell at passers-by and, years later, the thing still engenders a feeling of joyful giddiness in me. Let's call it the Pashley-effect. Frankly, I might look a bit mad.
I was delighted that I could find a bike made in the UK, and one that has brought me so much pleasure. One thing I'm undecided on, though, is whether to get a basket on the front for chucking in newspapers and cheese and plums when I pop to the shops. I'll let you know if I decide to.