Regrettably, Pashley is one of the last three ‘traditional’ companies to produce bicycles in the UK, the other two being Moulton and Brompton. The economic and social reasons for this could probably fill a tome or two, but it means Britons are left with three highly individual manufacturers that embody distinct aspects of British culture. The Pashley Guv’nor is king of the cycling castle, still made by hand in their Stratford-upon-Avon plant.
The Guv’nor can trace its lineage back to a path racer engineered by Pashley during the 1930s, sharing a similar frame geometry and, most likely, the Brooks saddle. Where it differs is in its frame material, incorporating Reynolds’ legendary 531 tubing instead of high-tensile ‘gas-pipe’ tubing, fancier lugs and updated Sturmey-Archer gearing.
American clothiers Bench & Loom are currently offering the Pashley Guvnor through their online pop-up Cycling Shop, which is open until April. Alongside the Pashley Guv’nor, you can also purchase Nick Clement’s ‘Curator’ Merino and Tweed jersey, the J. Boultbee Criterion Mk1 jacket by Brooks, Rizzoli’s The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles and a selection of vintage lithographs.
Like Triumph motorcycles, the BMC Mini, and Land Rover, each Pashley is designed and built specifically with local conditions in mind, but their appeal has extended globally. The Guv’nor has generated almost a cult following, due to their hand built quality and regal stature. There’s even a dedicated forum of fans in The Guvnor’s Assembly. The Guv’nor is still the perfect vehicle for navigating country paths, cobbled lanes and, now, the streets of every international city.