Decisions, Decisions,Decisions ..... what size Guv'nor do I need..It can't be that hard a question to answer..... can it?!
You Have Been Warned, The Pashley Guv’nor Should Carry a 'Government Health Warning!', that 'grin' could become permanent!”
The Guv’nor will mesmerise you, with not only its aesthetically pleasing lines but its sheer presence. Once intoxicated their is no escape you will be joining the growing fraternity of 'Pashley' owners who are more interested in how they look then their ‘PB’ or ‘King’ or ‘Queen’ of the mountains tally on Strava!
You will become more accustomed to a picnic in the countryside or a ‘Pub-Lunch’ than the latest sports drink or food supplement. You will have to engage in the lost art of conversation; exchanging pleasantries with strangers with the regularity of a quality Swiss chronometer; musing about your fine looking steed. With this in mind you may like to learn a little more about the history and heritage of the ‘Guv’nor or indeeed ‘Path’ racers generally; thus allowing you to explain in a few simple words why your steed looks the way it does!
As the inevitable will have happened, as it did to me, your heart will have triumphed as the ink on your cheque dries, or more likely your PIN number is being verified, a very straightforward but none the less important question any prospective purchaser must ask is ….. What size do I need? .....
The Guvnor is no 'ordinary' bicycle and this complicates things a little, especially if you have been brought up in the era dominated by the ‘compact’ road or MTB frame! The sizing charts provided by Pashley differ; ‘one’ puts riders that are tall circa 6’, or long legged around 33’ or more on the wrong size frame, in my opinion, by suggesting the 22.5” frame and not the 24”.
I would advocate any potential Guv’nor purchaser who may be a little taller than average to try both sizes, however this may not always be possible.
If you look at the photographs below, look at the light switch and rows of bricks for reference points to see the difference in saddle and handlebar positions between the two bicycles!
My own recent experience of going through this exact thought process was also complicated further by how initially I seemed to be influenced if not driven by aesthetics. I liked the visual appeal of the 22.5” single top tube Guvnor (pictured above on the left) as opposed to the ‘double topper’ 24” model (pictured on the right – this is my bicycle now!): Note I had only seen the 24” model in photographs. Not may I say the beautifully framed pictures shown above!
As I am 6’ plus and have a 34” trouser leg inseam, I am between sizes, according to Pashley. To fit the 22.5” (see above left photograph) I would need to have extended the seat post to its limit, or indeed beyond (2-3” higher than shown in the picture (above left) possibly needing to purchase an after market version as Pashley do not sell longer seat pins.
I would simply not be able to ride the bicycle on the left, for a reasonable distance, without pretty significant adjustments. The adjustments would be way beyond what the manufacturer would have planned for: I would have needed to purchase in addition to a new seat pin, for a few more extra Guineas, a longer handlebar stem (these come as standard on the 24” model).
Being a ‘Roadie’ I am well accustomed to riding more modern compact bicycles made from carbon fibre with the seat post extended but on the Guvnor in my opinion this looked and more importantly felt wrong. Why? I asked myself!
Looking at photographs of the era, when Path racers were the ‘super cars’ of the day, riders could barely stride their machines. (See below)
Looking at the frame geometry of the modern compact frame, sloping top tube, high seat post, short wheel base; then compare this to the Guvnor or other Path racers with a long wheel base, bigger wheels 28”, fatter tyres and high bottom bracket; the bottom of the rear triangle is horizontal, this improved pedal clearance to the road or track. The extra clearance, at least 2”, allowed ‘Racers’ the opportunity to pedal around corners maintaining their speed throughout. On the other hand ‘step over’ height also increased by the same 2” meaning caution may need to be exercised by riders dismounting at traffic lights etc ……….for obvious reasons! (see above picture). This problem is easily solved in reality, if you are so concerned, simply by leaning the bicycle over as you dismount.
I certainly felt far more comfortable on the larger frame and in reality the ‘Double Topper’ looks fantastic and we all like to look good! I don't have metres of seat post showing and the handlebars are about at their minimum height giving a streamlined authentic ‘path racer’ appearance.
After my first decent ride astride the Guv’nor, 12 miles or so, the saddle and handle bars may need raising just a little perhaps an inch or so.
In conclusion I feel the more comfortable riding position on the larger frame will allow me to enjoy longer rides in the countryside and this was the intention when making my purchase.
I am not alone in my thinking as if you care to visit the Guv’nors Assembly website where the sizing issue has been discussed at length. The ‘GA’ are a group of like-minded Guv’nors or other ‘Path Racers’ enthusiasts that offer help and advice where needed; also ‘musings’ as they like to call their stories about cycling adventures; these musings seem to mention inevitable stops at inns or public houses along the roads or pathways for refreshment and sustenance.
The GA attend vintage and classic cycling festivities including the famous ‘Tweed Run’ or Eroica Britannia a vintage festival run along the same lines of the original Eroica run in Tuscany, Italy.
Off to the Taylor's, as it seems to me I need to become familiar with the natural wicking properties of Merino wool or the water repellency, or lack of it, of the woven fabric known as ‘Tweed’ : Not the latest ‘Nano’ or ‘Teflon’ technology used in more modern waterproof outerwear (though I will admit some tweeds now incorporate such technology).
Happy Cycling Charles!
Corking one's Guv'nor
"… In days of old, when bike riders were bold,
and a fixed gear was all they’d need,
with lots of torque they attached a cork,
and rode away with speed.”
“Corks in cycling vernacular date back at least to the 1920’s, probably originating at the steeply banked wood track indoor 6-Day Bike Races. During the halcyon years of cycling in the tens, twenties, and thirties, track side at the 6-Day race was one of the places where the social set went to be seen. Sitting next to the action at their infield tables, it was chic for the “swells” to sip champagne and sine while giving the track stewards money for sprint laps to liven up the sensuous aroma of the various rub down lotions had more than a few femme fatales asking about and turning an eye or ankle to the studly – er – sturdy bike racers.
Soon the jargon evolved. When a cork was popped, power was released, bubbles escaped, the elixir went flat, no more oomph or energy. So, dropping your cork of having no more cork means you’re out of it, flat, dead, pooped, no more stuff. Ergo, the racers would hang a cork on their bikes so they’d never be “out” of cork. There would always be one more effort left for a “jam” or sprint. Conversely, if a rider said he “uncorked” a sprint, well, he “jumped”, “wound” it up, and took off. Or, if he pulled their corks, he went so hard the opposition got “dropped”, “shook” off, and had no cork left. They were decimated. HAH! Great Fun!
Commercially, bar plugs were not yet in standard production. In spills, riders could easily get gouged by the edges of the handlebar and stem tubes. Ouch! Instead of just taping over the openings, our friendly cork came to the rescue! Corks were filed and/or sanded, inserted into the openings, and often painted to match the rider’s bike of team colors. The corks were also used to plug the bottom of the fork crown. Dirt and moisture were kept out. Light, inexpensive and effective.
Now you know why Ted has one on each of his bikes, road and track. A subtle reminder that no matter how tired you think you are, you’ve always got a little cork left!
In the drops, it’s the low down from Ted.”