There is such a massive push for us all to get fitter and cycling is not only very enjoyable it’s a great way to see your local city, town or countryside. However, our regular readers will, of course, expect us to highlight those iconic and rather beautiful bicycles that make a design statement.
Pashley Cycles are well known to those who love fine British hand-made bespoke bicycles but they are about to get even more famous, especially if you are a London based former “Boris Biker” and now a “Sadiq/Santander Saddler”.
In October 2016 it was announced that Pashley Cycles had developed a new fleet of more manoeuvrable hire bikes with smaller wheels, a lower frame, a new gear hub and an improved gel saddle. The first batch of new cycles are due to be phased in to the London streets during early 2017 with a further 500 being introduced annually thereafter.
Founded by William ‘Rath’ Pashley in 1926, the dedication and craftsmanship at Pashley Cycles continue the founder’s legacy to this day at their factory in Stratford-upon-Avon. Whilst demand has increased steadily in recent years every effort has been made to ensure that quality is not compromised.
Pashley employs the manufacturing system whereby each constructor individually hand-builds and finishes the bicycles that have been ordered – its rare that they carry any stock – thereby ensuring a seamless connection and preservation of quality from initial assembly to despatch.
Let’s visit – click here – the Pashley Cycles Factory
For me there are two cycles in the Pashley range that tick several boxes, they are Countryman or Guv’nor. Both have legendary Reynolds 531 steel frames and Brooks saddles – Brooks bicycle saddles – the core difference being that the Countryman (our featured image) has the versatile 8 speed Shimano Alfine gearing whereas the Guv’nor – which echoes a Pashley design from the 1930’s known as the “Path Racer”- has the iconic North Road handlebars and comes in either a single gear version or a the very trusty Sturmey Archer – something many have known and loved since childhood – three speed version.
Adrian Williams, who now owns around 73% of Pashley, lead a management buyout in 1994, firm was his belief that hand-welded and high quality British bespoke bicycles had a future. The announcement from Transport for London is clear vindication for Mr Williams.
In 2010, Pashley, suffered a severe blow when longstanding and very valuable customer, the Royal Mail, announced the end of its bicycle deliveries. This decision necessitate a new outlet for the company’s production – hence the TfL link.
Additionally, the TfL announcement follows hard on the heels of J Sainsbury’s release trumpeting the reintroduction of bicycle deliveries of groceries in London using Pashley cycles. Pashley have made a range of commercial “cargo bearing” cycles for years that traditionally accounted for around 60% of it total annual output of 8,000 to 10,000 cycles. Think “Open All Hours” – the original series!
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Images courtesy Pashley Cycles