You may have gathered that I got a new bike.
It’s a Pashley Roadster Sovereign.
That’s not a photo of my actual bike, but one just like it. I’m waiting for a decent sunrise over the sea to take my own photos and scoop the EcoVelo photograph prize. After much agonising, I’ve gone with my first choice of name - Siegfried. As in Siegfried Sassoon, and as in the dragon-slayer of myth, and as in could-be-abreviated to Ziggy [Stardust].
I’ve only done a few miles . . . so here are my initial thoughts:
- That bottom bracket is HIGH! At first I thought I’d spent a sack of cash on a bike that was too big for me, until I read this in the owner’s manual: “Roadster models are built to a traditional pattern with a high bottom bracket, so you will need to slip off the saddle when you come to a halt“. And actually, I can put a toe down. But it’s definitely high.
- The riding position is just fantastic. I love being able to look down at drivers of Range Rovers - physically as well as metaphorically now.
- The bike’s handling is superb. Something about the riding position makes cornering feel more like that of a motorbike, and the big wheels & long wheelbase soak up the road beautifully.
- The five-speed Sturmey Archer gearing has ratios spread a little wide, but not too much so. But then given that it’s ‘only’ got five gears, it has a enough range for most city terrain.
- My only gripe is the rack. Well actually, not the rack, but the integrated stand. Basically this gets in the way of any pannier bag that you hang on the rack (like, say, the Ortlieb Office Bag I use as my briefcase). So I’m making an extension to the rack that’ll mean I can hang whatever I want on it, without fouling the stand.
- Oh, actually, I do have another gripe. I’m accustomed to slouching over the handlebars on a bike. The sitting up straight position is new to me, and as a result I’ve just discovered the muscles in my lower back. But I’m sure that’ll pass fairly quickly.
So anyway, why did I go for this sort of bike?
Four reasons really. Firstly, I need a bike that’s good for commuting in all weathers, and ideally in regular clothes - that means mudguards, a chain case, rack, hub gears & brakes, and lights. I’ve also been getting hassle with my left shoulder and neck from the pervasive leaning forward riding posture - I mean at times, really bad pain, lasting for several days. I also perceive the sitting-up straight position as safer - it makes it far easier for me to eyeball drivers of cars, and easier for me to keep my eyes up & aware of everything going on around me. Finally, I am a total fashion victim. As a regular reader of Amsterdamize.com, A View From The Cycle Path, and Copenhagenize.com (& CopanhagenCycleChic.com too), I wanted to ride looking as chic as the riders on the other side of the North Sea.
Whatever my reasons, the question now is, would I recommend the Sovereign? So far . . . hell yes!