|A spiffing new piece of decor greeted me upon my second trip to Houndstooth Road.|
|There was also a new Brooks display.|
|The Bobbin Shopper.|
|With a nice Po Campo bag on the rack, you could haul half of a boutique home on the Bobbin Shopper.|
|This is a Pilen, from Sweden, in my favorite color.|
|Along with the Brooks saddle, I bet the other components of this bike will pass the test of time with flying colors.|
|Even though the bike is built like a tank, it still has a whimsical little bell.|
|I really like these pedals, I think they help keep your foot in position without the teeth my bike has.|
|I had to capture a nature shot of the Pashley Princess Sovereign.|
|The Pashley Princess Sovereign: all British, all the way.|
|The Bella Ciao: Italian style and comfort.|
|Of course, it has graphically striking head badge.|
|Two very-rare-for-this-side-of-the-pond Pashley Guv'nor's.|
The Bobbin Shopper was the first bike I tried because it looked so cool--just like the vintage Raleigh Twenty I saw at Atlanta's lil' ciclovia a few months back. Unlike the original I spotted it the wild this one has a great big basket on the front that creates a trippy optical illusion. I'm used to seeing my rack move when I move the handlebars, but the basket on the shopper stays stationery. It makes you think the handlebars get too much play or something. I think I could get used to it eventually because the bike handles beautifully. It also has a rear coaster brake and a good ol' Sturney Archer 3-speed gear thingamajig. The posture reminds me of my cruiser bike because it seem my knees came into my body more than on any of the other bikes. The saddle is large and cushy. I think this would be a great ride around town to run errands and it would definitely be easy to fit on the rack of a city bus.
The next bike was the Pilen and it was my first experience with a Brooks saddle which I liked way more than I thought I would. I thought the saddle would be really hard and uncomfortable, but it wasn't. However, a shaky remounting of the bike brought my ladyparts into contact with the nose of the saddle--it was not a happy meeting. Good God Almighty, that hurt! Other than that, the Pilen makes you feel like you're riding a noble steed. It's heavy and has fat Schwalbe Big Apple tires, making you feel that you could roll over and through anything. The windshield pictured goes with the kiddie seat that it was wearing for display.
The Pashley Princess Sovereign is a regal British classic through and through. It really turns heads. In fact, a jogger I saw on the path near the shopper came in after I rode by her on the Pashley. It has a surprisingly sturdy willow basket, Brooks saddle, a sonorous bell that should make one's path smooth, and tires that are neither too skinny nor too fat. It also has a rear rack, lights, a skirtguard, a 5-speed Sturney Archer thingy, and a rear locking device. It has the works and it rides like a dream.
The last bike I tried was the Bella Ciao. I wanted to take a nature shot of it too, but it doesn't have a kickstand, or a lock. Apparently in Italy you can just lean your bike against the building you're heading into and nobody will steal your bike. Talk about la dolce vita! I think it has a very unisex look to it despite the step-through frame. This is the smoothest 3-speed I've ever been on and it feels light despite being made of steel (so is the Pashley).
I didn't try either one of the Pashley Guv'nor's, but I had to take pictures of them anyway because they're remarkable. A cyclist in spandex and an aerodynamic helmet came into the store to admire them while I was there. He poured over them and, later, when we were unlocking our bikes he said he'd love one for commuting or racing. Unfortunately, he couldn't afford one just then. I hope there is still one around when he's ready to purchase because there were a good number of folks in the shop while I was around.
I spent a lot of time trying out bikes so I decided to save the new Pashley Penny for next time. I can't wait to see what else is new at Houndstooth Road on trip #3!