Meet Claire

I’m very excited to welcome Claire to my world. Claire is my new (to me) Pashley Princess Sovereign bicycle! She’s beautiful and practical, handmade in England, and built for riding in rain and snow just as well as in sunny summer weather!

After a couple of very muddy, very wet commutes on my first bike this fall, I started dreaming of a bike with skirt guards and a chain guard. After a bit of research, I also learned there were bikes with ‘hidden’ brakes and gears as well, perfect for riding in the cold as they wouldn’t freeze! Oh, I wanted one. The thing that deters people from cycling (well, besides the rain and cold and physical exertion) is having to find suitable clothing that looks good at work. I admit it’s been a challenge picking outfits that have enough movement to bike in, are resistant to dirt, yet still look reasonably put-together. I feel better and more productive at work when I’m dressed up a little. So why not get a bike with all of its working bits covered up (gears, chain, brakes) and wear whatever you want?

I fell in love with the Pashley Princess after reading this review on Lovely Bicycle, and became convinced it would be perfect for me. Stylish, practical, and built for all-weather commuting? Yes, yes, and yes! Exactly what I was looking for, to make my commute that much better. I loved biking to work on my current bike, but my bike got so dirty that I’d avoid touching it as much as possible between washings. And just try buying skirt guards separately! They’re so hard to find – plus they come with the added mystery of how to install them without resorting to plastic zip-ties or electrical tape.

skirt guards – brilliant!

fully-covered chain case – I can rub my legs right up against it and still stay clean!

Pashleys are built in England, and are hard to find in Canada or the US! I’d be looking at buying one online probably, so I’d have to factor in shipping costs, duties and taxes in order to get it here. That adds up! But it’s well worth it when you’re cycling five days a week or more. I definitely bike more than I drive! (I’m still biking every day, and it’s mid-December. I’m pretty proud of the fact that I cycle rain or shine!)

So the plan was to wait, and save up. And maybe for my thirtieth birthday, or next summer, I’d treat myself to a new bike. Make myself wait, you know, so I appreciate it more? (Wow, do I ever sound like my parents! Not a bad thing, it’s just funny to hear their words coming out of my mouth.)

And then I stumbled upon my dream bike, for sale secondhand, in my city. I was browsing for reviews of the bike and found the listing. Can you believe my luck? It was truly meant to be! What are the odds of that happening? So I set a date to check out the bike, and instantly fell in love. And now she’s mine!

I was so excited to take home my new bike, I rode it home from the previous owner’s place. At night, in the dark, over 12km, uphill! It didn’t matter, I was just so happy and excited. The ride was so comfortable and so much fun. And when I woke up the next morning, even though my legs were sore, I was still excited to ride her in to the office!

So this is Claire, everyone! In my mind, girls named Claire are pretty but practical. I think it suits her.

People love Claire. She gets smiles and waves from strangers on the street, way more so than my first bike. You can’t help but admire her well-built frame, big beautiful basket, vintage styling and shiny forest-green paint. She’s truly beautiful, functional, and practical. An excellent purchase!

she’s got the biggest bike-basket I’ve ever seen!

It’s funny that I’ve gone from a semi-girly bike to a even more girly, classic bike. It’s not faster, but it’s way more solid. It feels like it supports me better. I’ve been riding it for about a month now and I get out-of-breath less but my legs get more of a workout, if that makes sense! Other great features are the puncture-proof tires (yay!) and the big lights. I was re-reading your comments on my first bike post and a couple of you thought I might want a faster bike eventually. Quite the opposite it seems! It takes some time to figure out exactly what works best for you. (Kind of like a sewing machine. You’re still figuring out what you want and need, after you buy your first one.) And I always, always wear a helmet!

I know this has nothing to do with sewing, but I do talk a lot about cycling and bike commuting and what to wear while riding a bike. And the more I talk about it (and walk around with my bike helmet) the more people ask me about cycling. I think a lot of people are curious about cycling without becoming a spandex-clad cyclist. Cycling as a regular person, you know?

I’m all for encouraging more people to ride bikes as part of everyday life. Besides getting exercise and fresh air, each person on a bike is one less person driving a car. The more choices we make that are better on the environment – sewing long-lasting clothing, shopping for secondhand items, recycling and choosing recycled products, cycling rather than driving – the less harmful impact we have on our world. Small steps add up!

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77 Responses to Meet Claire

  1. Nicole December 19, 2011 at 6:13 am #

    Jealous! The Pashley Princess is actually the bike that I have in my blog banner. The shape of the frame is just gorgeous. I ended up getting a different bike for commuting (the Civia Loring), but it’s similar in a lot of ways: step through frame, chain guard, internal gear hub, etc. I still find it difficult to bike in a pencil skirt, but other than that I can just step on and go! It’s lovely.

    • Tasia December 19, 2011 at 9:25 am #

      I can’t bike in a pencil skirt either – I think it’s the stopping and starting that makes it difficult! (Although, I admit I’ve biked in a too-tight skirt before and just hiked it up to my waist, and let my knee-length coat cover it up. You do what you have to do sometimes, when you’re already out the door!)
      I love your bike! Peeked on your blog to check it out – the colour is amazing and the front rack looks super handy!

      • Nicole December 20, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

        Thanks for stopping by my blog! The next time you’re feeling flush, a bike upgrade that I highly recommend is getting a generator hub that will power your bike lights (one of those things that’s terribly common in Europe, but no one’s ever heard of them here…). My SO added the generator to my bike after I got it, and it’s made such a difference! The lights are super bright, and you never have to deal with the annoyance of starting out your commute only to find your light flickering and fading after five minutes in…

        • Nicole December 20, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

          Oh, sigh, and now that I look at your pics again I can see you’ve got a generator hub on there already… oh well, consider it a PSA for anyone else who bike commutes and hates their battery lights!

          • Tasia December 21, 2011 at 11:47 am #

            Yes! But it’s not completely working. I need to figure out what’s wrong with it because it looks so much brighter than the battery-powered lights I add when it’s dark. (Little guys that strap to my handlebars with rubber grips.) That’s great to hear they’re bright and strong and helpful!

  2. Stephanie December 19, 2011 at 6:33 am #

    Congrats on your new bike! I really enjoy cycling and I’m lucky enough to live near a great bike path. I do bike to work/school occasionally but mostly I walk. I got a new bike this summer. It’s not as cute and girly as yours but I do live up the side of a hill! lol.

    • Tasia December 19, 2011 at 9:26 am #

      If I could walk, I’d walk! I thought about it but it would be an hour and a half – that’s too much downtime in a day for me.
      If I lived up the side of the hill, I’m not sure I’d bike either!

  3. Leah December 19, 2011 at 6:37 am #

    Oh, she’s a beauty! It’s cold here in Philadelphia, but I persist in biking along, toning my legs and helping the earth. I’m jealous of your skirt guard, though. Does that stop the chain from dislodging on occasion? Because I hate when that happens!

    • Tasia December 19, 2011 at 9:29 am #

      I’ve never had the chain fall off on this bike and it’s been about a month of daily cycling! (I have no idea how I’d get it back on if it did – the whole case would have to come off!)

      On my old bike, I rode it from May to November and the chain fell off three or four times – so once every month or so. I hate when that happens too! Your hands get all goopy and then you don’t want to touch anything else..

      Good for you for biking in the cold! The more of us that do it, the more other people will think it’s a normal thing to do :)

  4. Rachel December 19, 2011 at 6:38 am #

    That’s a gorgeous bike! so fortuitous that you found one for sale locally. It sounds like the karma gods were giving you a little gift in exchange for riding even in winter!!

    And Nicole, I completely agree, pencil skirts aren’t really possible to ride in, but most other skirts are.

  5. CamberwellGal December 19, 2011 at 6:41 am #

    Hee hee! I’m so tickled you have a Pashly Princess, and I completely get why you want a proper bike to get around on – without having to dress up in Lycra. Actually, I’ve had my Dutch equivalent (it was cheaper second had in the UK than a new PP) much longer than I’ve been sewing, but sewing and cycling spring from the same place for me. Firstly – I enjoy them! But more to the point I find them good spaces for thinking, ‘de-compressing’ from the rest of life, while doing something pleasurable and really worthwhile. I get to be outside, exercise at a speed and pace I enjoy, and be constantly interested and stimulated while I do so (sorry – never been able to summon the patience and commitment to run or go to the gym!). Likewise sewing; I get to put my creativity and skill into something tangible (I love my job in research/teaching – but printed papers have a limited circle of appreciation!). Secondly, as you say, I get to engage with the world, and particularly living in London, the world of high levels of consumption and energy use, in a way that allows me to control my consumption of materials and energy just a tiny bit more. And hey, public transport is great in this city – but it ain’t half slow! I reckon I beat the bust most days, and am only just beaten by the train…

    … the only thing I haven’t sussed, as Nicole notes, is the pencil skirt on a bike. All must have a slit, or some stretch to be feasible. High heels, nice coat, pretty dress? Yup – all do-able!

    • CamberwellGal December 19, 2011 at 6:44 am #

      Oops, should have added, that the whole point of dressing normally, is that then cycling just become everyday, nothing special, just hope on and go. No special clothes, no outlay (bar the bike and some lights!). The Dutch and the Danes have this down pat.

      See: http://www.copenhagencyclechic.com/

  6. superheidi December 19, 2011 at 6:43 am #

    Congrats! Looks a lot like my traditional Dutch bike from the 1950s. So trust me, for your purpose you want a solid sturdy bike, not a fast one. The sporty fast ones are perfect for excercise, but these are lighter in weight and “open” to the elments, so the mechanics can get stuck more easy. A solid bike for commuting in any daily outfit and for transporting all kinds of stuff like grocery shopping is perfect.

  7. gorgeous things December 19, 2011 at 6:45 am #

    I’m jealous! I would love to bike commute, but I’m usually hauling fabrics one way or the other. Claire is beautiful. Ride her in good health!

  8. Marie December 19, 2011 at 7:00 am #

    Wow, she’s a real beauty! I’m lucky enough to be walking-distance away from my work, but if I didn’t walk (or have to communte for hours by train), I’d definitely consider cycling for sure!

  9. Lauren December 19, 2011 at 7:10 am #

    what a pretty bike! don’t you just love it when fate works out like that? i looove cycling but i will admit that i haven’t done much of it in the past couple of months – the weather has been awful, and i don’t feel safe cycling in the rain during traffic.

    i know this doesn’t help you now, but have you seen the yarn skirt guards that people are selling on etsy (as well as the patterns, if you want to make your own ;))?
    http://www.etsy.com/listing/66978978/crochet-skirt-guards-made-to-order
    adorable! i want to put a skirt guard on my bike, but that would require putting fenders on first… and ewww i’d rather update the saddle & handlebar grips. you know, the fun stuff ;)

  10. Erika December 19, 2011 at 7:18 am #

    Oh, she’s a real beauty! And so practical! What a stroke of luck to stumble over one in your own city.
    I loved commuting by bike, I really hope my legs will heal (darn muscle inflammations!) so I can skip the bus sometime next year =) A word of caution: no warm-up, fast riding and no stretching, combined with no building muscles by lifting weigths, is actually what gave me problems with the legs in the first place. Stretching is a good thing…

    I love the chain guard! I’ve never seen an all-encasing one before! Another great help for bike commuters is stubbed tyres (not sure that’s really the english word… but tyres with small metal “spikes”, like cars are supposed to have during winter). It’s even easier to ride a bike with winter tyres when it’s icy than it is to walk or drive a car! And they’re also great through snow.
    Have fun with your new bike!

  11. didyoumakethat December 19, 2011 at 7:20 am #

    Ooh, you have a Pashley. They’re full of personality. Isn’t that wicker basket just gorgeous? Perfect for cycling along in summer dresses when the season is right. Lucky you!

  12. Pam December 19, 2011 at 7:58 am #

    Hi Tasia,

    I love it – You’re inspiring me to do a bike post (with sewing). . . I spotted your beauty in the distance in a previous post and are glad to find out how it came to belong to you! I have several bikes (and I just ordered a brompton).

    Great post – bring on more bikes and sewing!

    Pam

  13. Nethwen December 19, 2011 at 8:03 am #

    What a beautiful bike! I’m sad I don’t live somewhere where it’s safe or practical to cycle. :(

  14. Clare December 19, 2011 at 8:10 am #

    She is a thing of beauty – and I thoroughly approve of her name! I hope you get many miles of joy out of your lovely bike.

  15. Cynthia December 19, 2011 at 8:26 am #

    Oh, what a beautiful bike! Many congratulations!

  16. Jessica December 19, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    I LOVE it! I’m so jealous! I went from my gorgeous Electra Townie to a vintage Schwinn (after the Townie was stolen) and I love my vintage cruiser! I would absolutely die for a skirt guard though…someday!

  17. Tine December 19, 2011 at 9:26 am #

    Congratulations on your new bike. It really is a beautiful bike and the basket looks great. During my school years I also commuted to school by bike everyday without thinking about it as in Germany almost everybody does that. During university I skipped it because there was a bus station in front of my house. I just realised how much I miss the everyday dose of fresh air and physical exercise that it gave me. As soon as my living conditions will be more stable and I’ll be able to commute again, I’ll do it. You inspired me to think about cycling again. Oh and of course you can cycle in style, I even mastered the mini-skirt-problem with my very own technique ;-)

  18. Claire (aka Seemane) December 19, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    She’s beautiful Tasia!

    P.S. What a perfect name for am English rose such as she ;)
    (Not that I’m biased or anything…. LOL)

  19. patsijean December 19, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    That is a very nice bike; and it’s GREEN!

    • Tasia December 19, 2011 at 11:52 am #

      Yes! This bike only comes in green or black, and I’m glad I ended up with green. It’s so classic!

  20. Anne December 19, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    How lovely it is to read about your cycling adventures! Living in a country full of cyclist (Holland) it’s always nice to read about other people enoying to cycle to.
    I just bought my very first new bike, a dutch brand with closed chain case and skirt protectors (those are standard over here). And as from january i’ll be commuting by bike again, after 2 years of traffic jam!

    • Tasia December 19, 2011 at 11:50 am #

      Yay! No more traffic jams. It’s great fun to pass by the cars lined up bumper-to-bumper on a bike!
      That is awesome that skirt protectors and a closed chain case are standard – I think if they were standard here, more people would give cycling a try. It’s only through bike blogs and the internet that I even knew they existed!

  21. Sue December 19, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    I didn’t read every single comment above, so I hope no one already beat me to the punch, but…

    you put the ‘cycling’ in ‘recycling!’

    …and that’s awesome!

    What an adorable, functional bike! I wish I was able to ride to work instead of drive, especially on such a cute bike. :-)

    • Tasia December 19, 2011 at 11:48 am #

      Ha, love it! Cycling in recycling! You’re the first to make that comment :)

      I’ve never been able to cycle to work before because of the bridges and tunnels – this is the first time I’ve worked and lived on the same side of the bridge! And had a relatively flat commute, too. I’m definitely making the most of having a cycling-friendly commute option!

  22. Kris December 19, 2011 at 11:37 am #

    Oh wow! What an awesome bike!

    I totally wish I could do the “ride in real clothes” commuter thing, but my commute is up SFU, so I only do it when it’s not raining or icy out at this point. Although, I should go out for an exercise ride at some point now that finals are over.

    • Tasia December 19, 2011 at 11:46 am #

      Up SFU? I’ve seen people cycling up that road, that is one serious ride!! Although going down would be so much fun. :) I’d never do that ride if it was at all slippery, good call. I hope you get a chance for a fun ride soon!
      It’s actually easier for me to ride in normal clothes in the fall and winter, as I don’t get sweaty now that it’s cold out! (Because my ride is basically flat too, and there are quite a few streets to stop and cross, not because I’m in great shape or immune to sweat.)

      • Kris December 19, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

        Yeah, up SFU. It takes me ~45 minutes to huff and puff my way up there from Hastings. I almost walk up faster, but it’s fun to tell people you bike it! Going down is a BLAST. 60 km/h on a bike? WOOHOO! It does require a lot more maintenance, though. I take my wheels off and re-set them every time I ride, to ensure they’re in the right position (My bike is hand built, and the wheels can’t sit all the way into their cut-outs, or they rub against the frame!), and I have a stash of brake pads.

        Another problem I have with cycling in “normal” clothes is that I sweat. A lot. No matter what. My wardrobe is extremely lacking in sweat-disguising-prints, which makes it more difficult. Ahh well. Mostly I just wear whatever athletic clothing – either minimal amounts, or all bundled up. Then I shower and change once I get there. Or I toss my bike on a bus! Actually, I think I might bike-and-bus today.

  23. mala_14 December 19, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    Claire’s a real beauty! Congrats on the new (to you) bike! And good for you on being socially responsible. I try to bike around when I run errands in the summer. (I don’t think it’s possible to really bike here (Winnipeg) in the winter. Too much snow and ice.) Bike riding is just plain fun!

    • Tasia December 19, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

      I’ve been to Winnipeg a few times! My dad grew up there. I remember in March I was able to ice-skate across a frozen lake, so I could imagine it’s not cycling weather right now! I agree, biking is so much fun. I want to bike everywhere! I feel like my commute ride has gotten shorter, it used to feel long enough but now I want to keep on going..

  24. Seraphinalina December 19, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    While reading your post, all I can hear is Coco Love Alcorn singing, she has 3 bicycle songs.
    I Got a Bicycle http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnL4D8PJGoM
    Fiori Mordnea http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_7pfDQVYlI&feature=related
    BRC http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ec8AgZMdMVc

    It’s a lovely bike, I’m particularly fond of the basket. Very pretty and practical.

  25. Brumby December 19, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    I have a rusty old raleigh 3 speed I bought for a steal, it’s ironic that you’ve written this post today because I’m just about to head out and start fixing her up. I have a whole bunch of inspiration pictures on pinterest which I compiled into a blog post so I know where it is I’m headed with final look. Plus I have another board for outfits that are practical to cycle in! It all started after seeing a picture of a royal blue Pashley at the start of the year & knowing I could never justify the $1500 and up price tag. They really are a beautiful bike, and clearly inspiring to many, yourself included!

    • Tasia December 19, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

      Oh fun! I hope the fixing-up goes well! I know, the price of these bikes is crazy. That’s why I couldn’t pass up the second-hand one! It’s in great shape, barely used. If I knew anything about fixing up bikes that would be a fun project. I love old cars and old bikes but know nothing about restoring them!

      • Brumby December 22, 2011 at 1:58 am #

        He he, me neither, I’m just hoping for the best! Luckily the older ones are much simpler than these modern fan dangled things!

  26. Amelia December 19, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    It’s a beauty. Congrats!

  27. Bella December 19, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    So inspiring, Tasia!

    And Claire is gorgeous.

  28. curious gem December 19, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    Claire’s beautiful and she’s not just green, she’s British racing green.
    I too fell in love with Pashley’s but they’re a bit too rich for me so I have a lovely purple Dawes city bike instead that I swear I’ll go out on soon.

    • Tasia December 19, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

      You’re right! British racing green, that’s exactly it. Though I loved my first bike too, it’s all about getting outside and feeling the wind rush by. Enjoy your bike ride when you get out again!

      • Cidell January 6, 2012 at 6:32 am #

        Butter London actually makes a nailpolis called British Racing Green. Of course, I had to have it :)

  29. Amy December 19, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

    Oh my goodness, Claire is charming! So glad you got the bike of your dreams. I’m curious, though – are bikes fairly safe in Vancouver? When I lived in Seattle my friends were always lugging their bikes inside and upstairs because they were so frequently stolen, even with super heavy duty locks and chains. Claire looks fairly sturdy, so I wondered where you keep her and if theft is a problem.

    • Tasia December 19, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

      Hey Amy! It all depends on where you keep it. I keep it in locked storage at home – you have to get into the parking garage, then you have to get into the storage room, then you have to get into my individual storage locker, so she’s pretty well secured! At work I get to lock her up in the gated parkade, so only people who have paid extra for gated parking get to go in there. (And they have fancy cars and hopefully aren’t interested in my bike.. and even then she’s locked up securely.)
      I sometimes park in front of the grocery store or the mall or the post office and lock her up to a post, but I’m never longer than half an hour. (And I worry about her the whole time! Especially the mall..) My main places (at home, at work) are very safe, it’s the random places I have to worry about.
      She weighs over fifty pounds so it would be really hard to lug her up stairs! Once I had to lug her down stairs and that was hard enough..

  30. Caroline December 19, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    I just got home from picking up fabric from the printers AND a big birthday cake — on my bike! I’m so excited for you that you have a bike with carrying capacity and are into making Claire a big part of your life. I adore the lifestyle that being car-free affords me. Strangely, I do *more* traveling since I sold my car in 2009. (Maybe because of all the money I’ve saved not paying for the car, insurance, and repairs!)

    Does Claire have an internal Sturmey Archer 3-speed hub, or?

    • Tasia December 19, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

      5 speed hub – although, I rarely make it into 4th or 5th gear! My old bike had 21 speeds.. no, 3×6 = 18 speeds and I found I don’t need that many gears to get from here to home.

      Carrying capacity, for sure! I could fit myself into that big basket, that’s how big it is :) Plus the back rack, plus the possibility of adding panniers. I can haul all kinds of stuff now!

      I admire your car-freedom! If the city weren’t so sprawling with scary bridges and tunnels (and my family didn’t live at opposite ends) I could see myself riding my bike everywhere and never using my car. Right now I drive maybe once a week, cycle five or six times. That’s great to hear that you travel more since you sold your car – I’d imagine I might feel like my world got smaller, so that’s encouraging!

  31. Laura December 20, 2011 at 1:13 am #

    Pashley bikes are beautiful. My family come from Stratford-upon-Avon where they are made, and I have a beautiful bright red, adult size, tricycle made by them. We have nowhere to store it where we live in London at the moment, and your post has made me totally miss it! You are so lucky!

    • Tasia December 21, 2011 at 11:54 am #

      Oooh! I’ve seen the tricycles, they’re fantastic! (And you’ll never tip over with an extra wheel of support!) It sounds amazing, I hope you get to ride it again soon!

  32. Sassy T December 20, 2011 at 3:53 am #

    Welcome Claire. Yes if the bike is made in England it will stand up to the poor weather as that is all we get 99% of the time lol.

    • Tasia December 21, 2011 at 11:53 am #

      Same here! 75% of the year, it’s cold and rainy and generally gloomy.

  33. Alessa December 20, 2011 at 5:08 am #

    Oh, how wonderful! She’s totally pretty and I love the basket and the saddle-on-springs!
    I’m still biking on my got-it-when-I-was-12 trekking bike, which has the hardest saddle ever, the light is broken and the gears froze a few months ago. Also, no chain case and it’s kinda built like a man’s bike. Difficult to get up in a short skirt… I still love riding it, when the gears aren’t frozen it’s quite fast and I like the speed while biking. But yours is a fine looking bike, and I’d love to try riding one like it, to see if I could bike ladylike… ;)

    • Tasia December 21, 2011 at 11:52 am #

      Thank you! It all depends on how much you ride, the kind of bike you need. (And how much money you’re willing to spend.) I could only justify upgrading my bike because I ride daily! Then it’s worth it. I do love looking more ladylike when I ride, and drivers are nicer too! They’re nicer in the daylight, when they can see my bike and me clearly, and they’re nicer when i’m in a dress. This morning I had no problems crossing the crosswalks, drivers stopped well before the crosswalk! (I’m in my red dress.) Normally, I can wait a long time at the optional crosswalks before anyone will stop for me. Random, but true!

  34. Cynthia December 20, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

    She’s beautiful. I love commuting by bike. It’s toned my lower half so much, Bonus! Have you noticed any benefits from commuting?

    • Tasia December 21, 2011 at 11:49 am #

      Absolutely! My legs are way stronger, way more solid. They’re the same size, but instead of being squishy, they’re solid. (Which even when I ran all the time, never happened, I still had soft upper legs.) I feel like it’s also helped tone my stomach a bit – strange, but makes sense as you need to keep your core strong when you pedal! I might even be brave enough to wear shorts this coming summer, now that my legs are stronger. And the more we bike, the better our bodies will get!

  35. Caroline December 21, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    mmm, yes. I would love more posts about wearing “normal” clothes to cycle and getting to your destination able to go straight about your business without having to change – at least in decent weather. In 110 degrees Texas summer I know that’s not possible, but for the temperate six months of the year …

    • Tasia December 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

      You got it! I’ve decided it has to do with your bike, how far you have to ride and how hard your commute is, and your standards of how you want to look when you get there. Low-maintenance hair surely helps! (When I had bangs it was hard to get them to behave after being under a helmet in the heat.) There will definitely be more bike-related posts in the new year!

      • Caroline December 22, 2011 at 4:15 am #

        Definitely true – mine is not “step thru” like yours (though I love my bike!) and skirts can be …. interesting. I also use toe clips so footwear is limited – I don’t want to mess up good shoes with toe clips. BUT – I can do better than what I have been! I only recently discovered I could cycle in a skirt. The actual cycling is fine, getting on and off – not so great. :)

  36. kristin January 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    OMG she’s GORGEOUS!!! i love her to pieces and wow, what a great find!! happy new year!!!

  37. Eleonore January 4, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

    Claire is a beauty indeed, and i love your beautiful upright position.. I ride a fair bit but am quite fearful of riding on the roads. Drivers in Australia do not seem to have that ‘cyclist awareness’ thing. But good for you- cycling, commuting, through winter, up hills and in a skirt. You (and Claire) are just awesome.

  38. Cidell January 6, 2012 at 6:30 am #

    Oooooh. What a gorgeous bike. I also would like a second (or third) bike. I’d love one like Claire and I would love a road bike for longer rides. I would also love to have a bike at the office.

  39. Cidell January 6, 2012 at 6:33 am #

    Oh, a friend of mine bought a very cute and feminine folding bike this summer. She rides it far more than she ever did her other bikes. It’s great for her house becuase it’s tiny and it’s easy to put away. But, it is by no mean ‘light’ enough to carry around, etc.

    • Tasia January 9, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

      Oh neat! I’ve seen those folding bikes before, they look cute and useful. I thought they were light, I guess not!
      I also want a road bike now for longer rides, and this one for the daily commute. Funny how the more you ride, the better you can figure out what your needs are and what you like!

  40. Majella January 9, 2012 at 3:57 am #

    I’m with you Kris! I live in hilly, muggy Sydney, which I love, but my clothes are too precious to cycle in! I can only imagine the dry cleaning bill. I’ve actually been composing a “What’s wrong with lycra? You all wear it” post in my head the last couple of days – must write it.

    • Tasia January 9, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

      It all depends on the type of bike, the type of commute and the weather I’m sure! Here it’s chilly, my bike is designed for wearing regular clothing, and my commute is average in length and not too hilly. I’m thinking of trading my first bike for a road bike, so I can go faster and do longer rides, and in that case I’d definitely be wearing more technical clothing! For me, the key to enjoying biking to work is the ability to wear somewhat regular clothing on my way in. There’s nothing wrong with lycra at all! If I lived in a hilly and muggy area, I’d think differently about what I wore on my bike too.

      • Majella January 10, 2012 at 1:25 am #

        Tasia, I LOVE Claire – she’s absolutely gorgeous by the way! You’re absolutely right. It all depends on the type of ride – the purpose, the distance, the conditions. I think it’s great for more people to ride full stop and I can definitely see the arguments for wearing regular clothing when you ride as a good advertisement for riding. But I don’t understand some people (not in the comments above! I’m talking about my local media) who seem to be passionately opposed to “lycra-wearing cyclists”. 1. Why do they care what someone else is wearing? 2. I know cycling-specific clothing is pretty ugly, but a lot of people wear ugly clothes that aren’t cycling gear, and 3. Once I get in to the office and shower, change and do my hair I look freaking awesome!

        I realised that when I rode my scooter all the time, it really affected my style. You don’t get changed after a trip on the scooter somewhere when you get to your destination. So I was 100% in jeans or pants (safety) – never skirts or dresses. Now on my bicycle, with a little organisation (and of course my new hobby of sewing!) my wardrobe is so much more flexible and interesting.

        Sometimes I can plan my activities and my outfit in such a way that I can just ride up to where I’m going, rockstar park and go right in looking cute and nonstretchy, but a lot of the time I like the flexibility of changing – it only takes 10 minutes, and that way I can wear a pencil skirt too!

        Great to see so many cycling sewists, or sewing cyclists, out there!

        • Tasia January 12, 2012 at 11:54 am #

          I totally get it! Hey, I have padded lycra bike shorts. And they were awesome last summer! Funny enough, the seat on Claire is so comfortable I don’t even think about wanting padding. But in the summer, with wearing skirts and dresses, lycra bike shorts were awesome to keep things modest. I wave and smile to the lycra cyclists while I ride :) there’s no way any of them would be wearing a wool coat and a dress, so to each their own!
          I wish I had a shower at the office! In the winter it’s fine, but in the summer it would be awesome to freshen up. I just need to dress lightly and ride slow. :)
          It is super awesome to see so many sewing cyclists/cycling sewists!

  41. Majella January 10, 2012 at 1:27 am #

    Oh and also, do you know the formula for the ideal number of bikes to own? It’s n + 1, where n = the number of bikes you currently own.

    For me, the formula is currently n + 3, *sigh* Are some people like that with sewing machines?

    • Tasia January 12, 2012 at 11:59 am #

      Ah, perfect! That formula makes complete sense. No wonder I’ve been looking at road bikes!
      I think a lot of people are like that with sewing machines, for sure. For me I have hardly any space here to add sewing machines, but I could make room for a second bike.. It’s all part of loving your hobby I’d guess, and also not being able to find one machine/bike that satisfies all of your needs. Like Claire weighs 50 pounds, so she’s not ideal for hills. And a vintage sewing machine might only sew straight stitch and zigag, so you’ll need something else for buttonholes and whatnot.
      You really have 4 bikes?? Or, you have 1, and want three more. (Both seem logical to me!)

      • Majella January 12, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

        I have 2, and want 3 more. (Including the xtracycle radish)

        I don’t hanker for extra sewing machines, but I can imagine it! There’s a sewing machine dealer in the neighbourhood of my hairdresser so I usually pop in after
        the salon and pick up some feet & needles so that’s becoming a collection!

        We won’t way anything about the formula for the ideal number of patterns to own, shall we?

  42. Rosemary February 5, 2012 at 3:16 am #

    Lovely bike.

    I currently ride an old mountain bike i bought 13 years ago to work everyday. It is rusty, warn and at some point long ago i thought it was a good idea to remove all extras like mud guards. I love it, but it does require me to dress like my bike especially in the winter. Old warn out jeans and a coat that is now the same colour as the road. Its a dream of mine that i will one day buy a practical, stylish bike with mud and skirt guards. They have these in a couple of bike shops near where i live and i often go just to look at them.

    Enjoy riding her.

  43. Leigh Ann November 17, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

    Hi, I like your blog. I started reading it about a year ago, when I first started to sew. I just found this post about the Pashley, so I am late to the party. But I have been reading everything I can find about the Princess, since I want one so much I can hardly stand it. I want a city bike, with a chain case and dress guard. I don’t care about going fast. I do want a bike that will last a very long time, and since I’m 5’2″, the smaller Pashley seems a better fit size-wise than the Dutch bikes, though I am still a bit uncertain about whether I need the 17.5″ or the 20″ (I have long legs for my height, but a shorter upper body). Also, the Princess is so beautiful, she has stolen my heart. None of the other brands make my heart beat faster the way the Princess does! I’ve never ridden one though–they are not sold around here, so I will have to travel quite a distance to do that. I’m saving my money, and dreaming of owning one. In the meantime, I am reading about them. Do you still own yours? What do you think of her after several years of ownership? How wonderful that you were able to find one, and in green (love the green!), and in fantastic used condition as well.

    • Tasia November 18, 2013 at 10:22 am #

      Hi Leigh Ann! I LOVE my Pashley. I’m still riding every day, in rain and even snow. I also don’t care about going fast, which is good, because she does not. Unless it’s downhill, and then she flies because she’s heavy!

      I have the 20″ I believe, and I’m about 5’4″ with shorter legs and a longer body. I feel very comfortable on my bike the size it is. I love the green. I broke the original basket when I fell once, so I’ve replaced it with one that’s not as big and awesome, but it still does the trick.

      The chain guard is awesome, the chain NEVER falls off and I’ve never got my skirt or coat caught in the tire because of the skirt guards. If the tire blows, that’s a bit of a pain because you have to remove the whole wheel and dismantle the brake, but that’s only happened once. (and bike maintenance is way cheaper than car maintenance so when it’s $60 to fix the tire once in two years, it doesn’t bother me.)

      Basically, I love my bike. It looks great, it’s great in rain and snow, and if I can’t make it up a hill, I just walk it to the top. No big deal. I was really lucky to find my secondhand one because you can’t buy them here, either! And I imagine shipping a bike is pretty expensive. Good luck with your search!

  44. Leigh Ann November 19, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

    Thank you so much! I really appreciate your taking the time to tell me how much you still like your beautiful bike!

  45. Leigh Ann April 13, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    Hi, I ordered my Pashley Princess last week! In green! We went to Denver for the weekend and I was able to ride one, and I rode a few of the Dutch bikes as well. But the Dutch bikes they had in stock were all too big for me, and anyway my heart belongs to the Pashley! I love her. I should have her in a few weeks.

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