These Pashleys were the first bikes we purchased when making the transition from recumbents back to upright bikes in the spring of 2008. As we imagine a lot of people are who buy classic roadsters, we were drawn to their good looks and comfortable riding positions, as well as the promise of maintenance-free performance that comes with hub brakes, internal gear hubs, and full chain cases. For the most part the bikes delivered what they promised, though they eventually fell short of meeting our needs as we drove less and used our bikes for longer trips and more serious cargo hauling.
The Pashleys were perhaps the ultimate coffee shop bikes; they nearly always started a conversation and drew in both bicyclists and non-bicyclists alike. We found them perfectly comfortable for short trips in town, but with their 5-speed internal gear hubs and 50 lb. weight, anything beyond about 5-10 miles was a bit of a slog.
For as heavy as they were, you’d expect them to be stiff as a board and able to carry a major load. While they served perfectly well as grocery haulers for up to 30-40 lbs, beyond that the frames flexed fairly dramatically. This didn’t keep us from using them for cargo hauling, but it did make us acutely aware of the fact that stiff chromoly racks and frames are more appropriate for true utility riding (assuming a person has the need to move heavy stuff on their bike).
We can’t say we regret having owned the Pashleys. They were super fun and comfortable for toodling around town. They were nearly the best conversation starters we’ve ridden, surpassed only by recumbent trikes. Would we purchase similar bikes in the future? Probably not, but only because we now have other bikes that serve our practical needs more efficiently and effectively. So while our more modern bikes get the job done with less effort, Pashleys are still wonderful machines for a leisurely Sunday picnic ride or a trip to the local coffee house.