April 2nd, 2010

The Pashley Guv'nor [Review]

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. 

Get the look: "Grown Ups" from when you were a kid

This week in Get The Look, I show you how to look the way grown ups did when you were a kid. I'm taken back to the late seventies when the imposition of random breath testing sent many an honest drinking man to his shed, or a bike store, to equip himself with new drinking wheels. The look is defiantly suave. It says, Our cars you may take, but never our pride. The best news is, it's a look you too can add to your cycling repertoire, for under $400. A fixie alone would set you back twice that amount, plus hundreds more for the costume. Here's how!
1975 Raleigh Sports: $300. Period tweed suit with monster lapel: $36. Short back and sides: $32. Complete the look with that scowl you remember men having whenever people like you were keeping them from drinking or gambling. If seeking authenticity, add a hip flask of whiskey to sip to stay warm.
As always though, choosing the right helmet is causing me difficulties.

Get The Look is looking for looks
Know any looks that can be nailed for under $500, including the cost of the bike? Let us know by posting a comment. We have WW2 German soldier's helmet covers to fit over most brands of standard bicycle helmets to give away to readers who can provide stories with pics.

Show us your favourite ride

I just looked using google maps at my favourite cycling route from home to office on mornings when I have an extra hour up my sleeve. You will see it is anything but direct. However, it takes me through wonderful landscapes and neighbourhoods, and involves minimal exposure to traffic. If you have 10 minutes, we'd love if you mapped your favourite ride on maps.google and shared it with us.