Pashley was established in 1926 in Birmingham, England by the fantastically named William Rathbone ‘Rath’ Pashley. The company’s original slogan was ‘Birmingham produces the finest cycles, these are Birmingham’s best.’ They also purported to be ‘manufacturers of every type of cycle’ and initially they were.
Pashley’s early years saw them produce all sorts; tandems, tricycles, delivery bikes, roadsters, racing bikes… However the depression hit and competition became more fierce, so ‘Rath’ focused the company on producing delivery bikes for everything from ice cream to mail. That classic bike you see leaning on a lamp post, with the hand-painted sign inside the frame advertising your local deli or antique shop, is probably a Pashley.
If you live in the UK, or indeed if you’ve visited or seen it on TV, the chances are you’ve seen a Pashley bike. The company have been keeping the Royal Mail supplied with their instantly-recognisable delivery bikes since the 1970s. The current model is called ‘The Mailstar’.
Pashley today is based in Stratford-upon-Avon, not too far from its original location. Their range still features a number of classic models, which are not a million miles from what the company has produced since the ’30s. ‘The Roadster’ and the more recent addition ‘The Guv’nor’ are particularly popular in the men’s range. ‘The Princess Sovereign’ is their signature women’s bike, featuring that classic loop frame, wicker basket and Brooks leather saddle. The looks may not have changed much, but the components and manufacturing methods have of course been updated, making the modern versions lighter and more manoeuvrable than their classic cousins.