This morning I had my first ride on the Pashley Princess Sovereign, after her purchase. I wanted to take the bicycle into town (which is about 8 miles or so one way), but the heat is exhausting me, so I decided perhaps our first ride shouldn't be quite that far. I decided we'd head to the grocery store out here in the boonies, which is only about 2-2.5 miles from the house one way. I had some interesting observations on this ride, even though it was short.
First Observation: The standard handlebar grips aren't horribly comfortable, and I imagine that on a longer trek, they would be even less so.
I'm wondering if this style of grip works for anyone on long trips? I recall having similar ones on a bicycle as a kid, and I didn't even like them then. They weren't killing my hands or anything on this trip, but as stated, I suspect that a longer ride would yield different results. It's something about the ridges on them and rather than being a cushion, they become a nuisance to my hands. I actually have a slight imprint from them on my hands. Fortunately, this is probably one of the easiest things to remedy on a bicycle, so I'm not horribly concerned, and intend to see how it goes on a longer ride before making a final judgment. I believe I may also need to bring the handlebars up slightly to avoid any pressure on my hands. Perhaps this adjustment first would help me see if new grips are really a necessity.
Second Observation: I am surprised that the Brooks saddle is not killing my back and/or rear end. Of course, it wasn't a horribly long ride to test this out, but in the past, any time I've tried a Brooks saddle, they just haven't worked for me. In fact, on one ride with the Amsterdam, I had to turn around after two miles to come home because I was in such agonizing pain. Now, I'm used to having constant back pain, so if it was so bad I had to turn around, you know it couldn't have been pleasant. I am, thus far, pleased with my rides on this saddle, and am hopeful that this will be the one that works for me.
Third Observation: I really enjoy the position on this bicycle. While it is upright and a more relaxed position, I am using the bigger leg muscles to peddle. While peddling I am using the quad and calf muscles rather than feeling it so much in my knees, hamstrings, and a bit of calf muscle, as I would/did on the Amsterdam, cruiser and even the Ticino. I think in the long run it is far better for me to use those large quad muscles. The really exciting thing is that I can actually stand up and peddle to get up a hill or start off at a stop, unlike the Electra's that caused me to have to sit in the saddle so that I couldn't power through things.
Final Observation (for now at least): I was a little surprised that the smaller wheels didn't seem to bother me. While I realize that the 26" wheels aren't that big of a deal to most people, I've become used to the 700c wheels, and thought perhaps it would be a big adjustment. As you can see, I made it home just fine with my little bag of groceries on the back, and it honestly didn't feel any more difficult.
Overall, I found myself really enjoying riding the Pashley. I think if temps were at tolerable levels for me, this couldn't have been a nearly perfect ride (well, perhaps some softer grips would've made it complete), and I am really happy that this bicycle has found her way here. I'm looking forward to doing a longer ride and really testing her on some of these "fun" hills around here in the near future.