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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lovely times

Last night, I had a bicycle date with Velouria from Lovely Bicycle!, and as she details on her blog, it was lovely indeed.  It was a strange and wonderful experience to see Eustacia (and Velouria!) up close and personal after following the blog for the past months, with the scales tipping over to the 'wonderful' side, naturally.

Photo from Lovely Bicycle!
As you can see, I did take a quick ride on the Pashley.  How could I resist?  It was a very short 60-second spin, at least in part because I felt a little bit less sure of myself on this new-to-me bike.  As Velouria mentioned, the saddle probably could've been a bit higher for me, and her handlebars are set much lower than mine.  Even though I looked quite upright on the Pashley, I felt a distinct forward lean in comparison to my Fryslan.  If you look at the photo from last night compared to one from Monday's Tweed Ride, you can see that on Frida, I'm sitting up completely straight and my arms are bent almost at 90 degrees to my body (especially when compared to the other bikes in that photo!):

From Lovely Bicycle!
From Albert's picasa album

I think my riding position on the Pashley is similar to what I had with my KHS Green, but there too, the position of the handlebars was different: those angled slightly up where Eustacia's are angled noticeably downward.  As my own personal preference, I like/have grown used to the very stately, upright posture of my Fryslan, but the downside is that it's definitely not one that's suited for speed.  I compare cycling on Frida to riding a grand ocean liner-- smooth, stable, and slow-- whereas Eustacia did feel like it could be sportier and nimbler [V: has the Pashley ever been described as sporty or nimble before?  :-)  I guess emphasis is on the "-ER"!].  I think the Fryslan's longer wheelbase and larger wheels also add to the ocean liner handling when compared to the Pashley.

Another contributing factor was that the Pashley's handlebars are simply narrower than the wide, squared-off handlebars of the Dutch Fryslan.  I like the way my wide bars feel 95% of the time, but for those moments when I want to pass between stopped and parked cars to move up to a light, or when I'm trying to maneuver both self and bike through doorways, they can feel a bit oversized.  I like to think of Frida's handlebars as acting like a cat's whiskers, though-- they'll make sure she never enters a space that's too narrow for her!  (Eustacia may just be a skinnier cat, of course.)

Obviously, none of this is to say that one of these bikes is better than the other-- how could anyone make such a choice?!-- but they do feel measurably different, especially with Velouria's particular modifications.  I would be curious to try a Pashley that was set up to fit me a bit better (perhaps even a larger frame size?) to see what a more direct comparison would be like.  I continue to be surprised at how much difference just a few inches or degrees can make in determining a bicycle's comfort for oneself.  The moral is test, test, test!

It was the loveliest of evenings, and I think all four ladies had a very nice time together.

8 comments:

roseread said...

Handlebars as cats' whiskers....nice metaphor.

Velouria said...

It has been so nice seeing our neighborhood taken over by beautiful bikes over the past year, and hope it continues. The two of us are certainly helping the cause!

I confess that I like to go relatively fast when I cycle and to be as maneuverable as possible in traffic, which is why I've lowered the handlebars on the Pashley. Normally they are quite a bit higher and I was 100% upright on the bike when I first got it.

margonaute said...

I noticed you were leaving me in the dust a little on our ride home! I'm definitely into the slow cycling...... at least until I get my mixte??? :-)

Charlotte said...

Sounds like a lovely evening!

M and G said...

Tell me about your Green!! (And I will explore your blog to see if anything is here.) I desperately want a Pashley or vintage loop frame Raleigh, but the Green seems most accessible at the moment.

Thanks for the compliments on my Raleigh mixte. If you look on my blog to the "What she rides" section, you'll see my other mixte, Mrs. Gale. Now she's really a looker!

margonaute said...

M & G: Velouria has a nice review of the Green on her blog: http://lovelybike.blogspot.com/2009/05/renting-khs-green.html

It's a great budget option-- very worry-free and comfortable (though the saddle is not the best; I replaced it with a Brooks splurge pretty quickly). I felt like it was just about as heavy as my Batavus, which doesn't seem right, but I've never been able to find weight info on it anywhere. I think it's good-looking without being an obvious target for bike thieves, which is great for the city; and you don't have to worry about securing any quick-release bits, just U-lock and go.

If you can find one, the Biria Dutch Classic is similarly priced but comes a little bit better equipped, the most notable addition being the dynamo lighting system. I came across one on sale just before I bought my Green but hadn't been planning on purchasing a non-vintage bike at the time, and the bike shop where it was being sold was far less convenient for me to get to than the Green's... but I did occasionally have second thoughts as to whether I should've gone with the Biria.

In any case, I would definitely recommend the Green as a budget loop frame 3-speed, especially if you're partial to coaster brakes, as I am. It's a sturdy, practical, and attractive sub-$500 bike.

girlcanbike.com said...

Margonaute~

Thanks for directly me to your blog entry. It really helped a lot:) I'll be doing my test rides tomorrow...hopefully I'll have made my final decision to between the Pash and Bat

I also put a link from my blog to yours:) I look forward to reading more of your entries

Fiona
girlcanbike.com

M and G said...

Thanks!!!

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