My mid-life crisis Pashley

For more than half my life I have wanted a Pashley. When I lived in Cambridge as a 20-year-old I saw people cycling around on these magnificent-looking bicycles. I couldn’t afford one myself back then and later I became a parent and needed the station-wagon equivalent of bikes, a Bakfiets. I still love my Bakfiets but sometimes I want a bike I can lift by myself and take up stairs. Now, at 41, I have my mid-life crisis Porche, a Pashley Princess.

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I don’t understand why people buy bikes that force them to ride hunched over the handle-bars. I don’t understand why people buy bikes without mud guards. When it rains the mud spatters up your back and makes your clothes dirty. I don’t understand why people buy bikes without a basket or place to put their bag. How do they carry their belongings around with them? My Pashley has a large basket up front, full mud guards on both wheels, and I can ride sitting upright. This is how bikes should be.

I was a bit nervous about buying another bike after how uncomfortable I found the Danish Butchers and Bicycles bike I owned for a year. I wondered whether I should stick to Dutch bikes but then I read that traditional Dutch bikes are modelled on the Pashley. Britain was making bikes first and the geometry of the Pashley was copied by the Dutch and became the design of the Omafiets or granny bike.

I read lots of reviews before buying the Pashley and on the whole people rave about it. The negative features are that it’s heavy and slow but everything is relative and a 20kg Pashley is as light as a feather next to a 43kg Bakfiets which is what I’m used to. I had no trouble carrying the Pashley upstairs. It also felt much faster to me.

I had the leather seat replaced with a Brooks Cambium C19 which is what my Bakfiets has. I love this seat and as a vegan I did not want a leather saddle. The Brooks Cambium is made with rubber and organic cotton. It’s also maintenance-free unlike the leather version which requires constant attention. I think it looks better too.