Didn’t Primrose, Hamish and I have a lovely time the day we shirked foul duties and motored to Woolongong, to visit Steel City Bikes and ride Pashleys! My initial thoughts on the brand can be found in an earlier entry, listing style-over-speed brands of the world. With a few test rides under my belt, and their beautiful hard copy brochures in hand, I can be a little more informed with what I say now.
Note the self-satisfied look "Now, could I keep up with F-grade on this?"
The Pashley Guv’nor is an astounding piece of "Modern" engineering. Gold lined rims. Special runs of 531 tubing. Arcane cable routes. Thick spokes. Tubular fork crown. Double top tubes for the 24" model. Oh and let us not forget the TITANIUM Brooks leather saddle. Were it not for Thatcher forcing Sturmey Archey to Taiwan, you could say every length has been made to make the Guv’nor true to its 1935 prototype’s spirit of imperial pride.
For the $2000+ a Guv’nor will cost you, you could buy a much faster bike. But this bike embodies speed as an idea. Crude kinetic energy is a measurable force, where capital-S, S-p-e-e-d, is a subjective quality, and thus far more potent. Doing 10km per hour between pedestrians on the footpath riding a Guv’nor, is genuinely speedy. Approaching the sound barrier 10km up in an aeroplane can leave you feeling as though you are stationary. The Pashley is designed for narrow hedge lined roads, or any situation that will accentuate your feeling of speed.
Like a sports coat thrown on over jeans, the Pashley Guv’nor instantly makes dudes look like gentlemen. You don’t have to go in for the flipped up cycling cap, or Mulga Bill costume, to look kinda suave, yet not self involved; that is because the bike retains a comical touch. Not Penny Farthing comical. Or fixie pretentious. But enough of each that somehow it works. The mud on your clothes from those unguarded wheels, I suggest calls for old clothes—"old money" clothes.
The sturdy cranks, enclosed brakes, and the internal hub-gears combine to provide the dependable ride you would expect of any new $2000 dollar bike. But the extreme rake, fastidious detailing, and lengths gone into making a machine that truly captures Britain’s interwar mood, wedged between her industrial heyday and the arrival of Modernism from continental Europe, make the Guv’nor so much more than two wheels to roll on. Just be sure you can fix another bike hook to the wall over your bed, before you commit.