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.

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15 thoughts on “My mid-life crisis Pashley

  1. Very cool bike! The design lines and colours of these “old school” bikes are a bit nicer on the eye than the new ones, aren’t they? But I have to confess with regard to one thing you mentioned: “I don’t understand why people buy bikes that force them to ride hunched over the handle-bars.” Because you *feel* faster, sporty and like a pro when you ride them, even if you’re not that fast… That’s why I ride an old steel racing bike upgraded with mud guards and basket in front 😀

  2. With that many photos, I think you’re in love …

    I don’t understand why people buy bikes that force them to ride hunched over the handle-bars.

    Well, I have drop handlebars, but that doesn’t mean I have to hunch – at least not all the time, I have two brake levers for each brake, and that allows me at least three varying positions for my back – it’s very useful to shift positions during a long ride – especially when you’re my age (which you’re not – yet) 🙂

    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.

    Agreed, what’s worse is that bikes without mudguards often splatter the rider behind them too. However Cambridge is currently so dry, there is no mud.

    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?

    Panniers. If on holiday front and back. A rucksack is possible too, but you get a icky sweaty back.

    1. Yes, panniers are essential and I will be getting some for my Pashley. I also understand that drop handlebars make you more aerodynamic but I cycle very slowly.

  3. I have a front basket, but also the folding wire panniers. They’re fab, especially since heavy weights are much better there than in front.

    What’s the purpose of the mesh in back over the upper part of the back wheel? Just to reduce tangling hazard?

    1. I will definitely be getting panniers. I have not heard of folding wire panniers? I’ll look them up. The mesh over the back wheel prevents long skirts and dresses from getting caught. Not that that has ever happened to me and I frequently ride in long skirts. I guess it also protects clothing from mud.

  4. That’s a lovely bike, Rachel! Congratulations on realizing your dream.

    What happened to Harlad finally? I searched this blog, but couldn’t find anything definitive about him.

    1. I sold Harald. I had him for about one year and for the last few months didn’t ride him at all and decided to sell him. I couldn’t sit in an upright position on Harald and he also had a tendency to tip forwards when the kids were inside.

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