Sometimes it’s nice to lose those high tech gadgets. You could go for a nice walk, the mighty Steve Jobs used to like to take a stroll when he wasn’t trying to make dents in the universe. You could even go for a bicycle ride. Chances are though your modern bike will have more gears than you have fingers. Not exactly low tech. Also, modern cycling attire might not be your cup of tea either. Do you really want to labelled a MAMIL? Especially true, if like me, your BMI is closer to that of Christopher Biggins than Bradley Wiggins…
But there is another way. Introducing the Pashley Guv’nor. A hand built bicycle made in Stratford upon Avon, England. Pashley are England’s longest established bicycle manufacturer. Founded in 1926 the company dusted off their 1930s drawing board to recreate this retro-styled path racer. Manufactured using legendary Reynolds 531 steel, there is not one ounce of carbon-fibre on this machine. It comes complete with a vintage leather look Brooks B17 Titanium saddle and North Road handlebars with matching leather grips.
No disc brakes here either, just ultra-reliable, low maintenance Sturmey Archer drum brakes rolling on 28 inch gold lined black alloy rims. The cream tyres complete the look and from every angle this bike is ready to roll and in some style.
I have never ridden a bike that attracted more attention. This single-speed black beauty has been favourably received by young-gun sportive riders as well as the older generation. It always never failed to amaze me how people riding bikes which cost more than my car can get so excited by a bike which cost about 800 quid.
I have done many miles on my Pashley. Cycling all over the New Forest on road and on gravel tracks. I even did a back to back 100 mile sportive and 35 mile mountain bike ride one weekend. I only ever got one puncture. 35 miles on flint and gravel in the pouring rain, I suppose I was lucky to get just the one flat.
Overall this is a lovely British built bike. With a timeless style this bike won’t fall out of fashion like buying a contemporary bike. Don’t be fooled that this bike won’t cut the mustard on the road either. It rolls along very nicely. Compared to a mountain bike on a gravel track it flies. Free-wheeling down hill it can seem like you’re flying. It is heavy compared to a modern machine but it does roll skim along very nicely, thank you very much. The 60 psi tyres are much more comfortable than 120 psi modern tyres too.
I chose the single-speed version, which I found a great way to boost my overall fitness. I learnt to really attack the hills. Only one or two made me bail out and walk. You can buy a three speed and also a two speed, with crank braking and Major Taylor handlebar which is a splendid machine. There is also a fine online club for Pashley Guv’nor riders too, the Guvnors’ Assembly.
Pashley Guv’nor Specifications
|Frame sizes||20.5″, 22.5″ and 24.5″|
|Frame||Traditional lugged and brazed Reynolds 531 frame|
|Fork||Tubular crown hand brazed|
|Gears||Sturmey Archer single speed|
|Wheels||28 inch with gold piped black rims|
|Handlebar||North Road with handmade leather grips|
|Brakes||Sturmey Archer hub brakes|
|Pedals||Sylvan Stream rat trap|
|Saddle||Antique Brown Brooks B17 with titanium rails|
|Inside leg||20.5″ frame suits 29″ – 33″; 22.5″ frame suits 31″ – 35″; 24.5″ frame suits 35″ – 39.5″.|
|24.5″ Frame||£ 850.00 (double top tube frame)|