After falling to the second most cycle-friendly city in the U.S.A (according to Bicycling), Portland might be looking to take the top place back from my hometown- Minneapolis. You go Twin Cities. Even the Portland Art Museum (P.A.M.) appears to be on board with the campaign, hosting Cyclpedia- a an exhibit featuring forty bicycles from the personal collection of Michael Embacher. It was impressive to see the cycles through history and for various activities, racing, touring, tandem, children’s and urban. They even have an Austrian example with a a blade instead of the front wheel to navigate the icy streets in the winter months. If you are in the Portland area, you should swing in to see all there is to see- it is on until September 8.
I have been toying with the idea of adding a new bike to my collection of one. I am perfectly content with my sporty Surly Pacer in British Racing Green with dimpled Velo Orange fenders, but after scooting around Portland on more of an upright set of two wheels, I thought maybe one in Edinburgh would work, even with my hilly commute to work.
The University takes part in a cycle to work scheme which allows employees to ‘lease’ a new bicycle and pay in monthly installments for a year- sounds ideal to add to the collection. For a Friday date-night, Ben and I headed to the Edinburgh Co-operative near a hill to give the Pashley a whirl.
I have been drawn to the Pashley since we moved here, as part of the assimilation process, I am trying to adopt all things iconic and British, Pashley, Hunter, Marmite, Barbour- picture me on my Pashley, wearing Hunter wellies, bundled in Barbour while eating a scone or crumpet slathered in Marmite- I would get definite leave to remain on the spot and maybe and an OBE, like Andy Murray or Bradley Wiggins.
Pashley has been creating bikes since 1926, started in Birmingham, the company is now based in Stratford-Upon-Avon. The Pronto version of the bike is used by the Royal Mail.
I chose the Princess- it is a five-speed tank of a cycle, I had to carry it up from the basement of the shop and out onto the sidewalk for its test. I was not an easy ride, the gears did not shift easily, the built in tire pump fell off and another cyclist ran it over, even with the five gears, the mini-hill I had to climb was a slog. It was like riding a Velib in Paris, only worse. I will remain on the search for the perfect second two -wheeler.