Sunday, 21 June 2009

Bike of the month - the Pashley Poppy


Firstly, a quick confession. I haven’t owned a ladies’ bike since I was eight and my parents bought me a Raleigh Bianca from a jumble sale.

I’ve always written off ladies’ bikes as impractical and a triumph of style over substance. Then I saw and fell in love with the Pashley Poppy. I don’t know whether it was the fabulous blush-pink shade, the elegant shape or those stunning creamy tyres that convinced me, but it didn’t take long before one was on order. After all, if a pink bike is good enough for Sarah Michelle Gellar, it's good enough for me.

Suddenly instead of hurtling into work feeling smug about my practical choice of boy’s mountain bicycle, I was resentfully slugging around counting down the days til my Poppy arrived.

At nearly £400 the Poppy isn’t cheap, but Pashley is a quality brand and you get what you pay for in workmanship. Depending on your views, it’s probably worth the £400 just for the immense amount of male attention a Poppy commands.

Even just picking my bike up, I was flirted with to within an inch of my life. Polite and uber-charming male assistants flocked around me, painstakingly talking me through every possible aspect of my new wheels.

Considering when I bought my mountain bike I was ignored for 20 minutes, then patronised so heavily I actually left the store and only came back when a female assistant was on duty, this was a definite improvement.

Pedalling home, I was conscious of all eyes on me. Apparently it’s not every day you see a bright pink bike on the streets of Streatham. Again, I’m taking this as a good thing if it can persuade motorists to occasionally allow me right of way and not simply try and push me and my fellow cyclists into the gutter.

The Poppy isn’t just a pretty face. The large, thin tyres mean it can pick up speed a good deal easier than a clunking mountain bike with wide, grippy tyres. It’s also exceptionally comfortable, largely thanks to the wonderful sprung saddle.

But the biggest surprise to me is how user-friendly the Poppy is.

I was a little apprehensive it would be too fragile to cope with the demands of a daily commute, especially as my journey to work takes me down a rather bumpy riverside towpath. In fact the Poppy is solidly put together, and it doesn’t just whizz down the towpath a treat, it actually gets me to work quicker than my old mountain bike.

And did I mention that it’s beautiful? It genuinely is a stunning looking bike, right down to the polished silver wheels and adorable matching silver pump.

There are a couple of negatives. Firstly, it’s a heavy bike, especially if you have a rack fitted for panniers. It’s not the kind of bike you can sling over your shoulder and haul up two flights of stairs, but on the plus side, it’s so pretty it’ll probably charm a nice strong man into carrying it for you.

But the biggest risk of the Poppy is the amount of money you’ll end up setting aside for accessories. Instead of bog-standard lights, I’ve got my eye on a set of Knog Frog lights in ice blue. My old grey panniers will have to make way for a far prettier cherry blossom pannier. The lovely curved silver handlebars are just begging for a traditional wicker basket to be fitted. And the idea of keeping my Poppy outside in the cold and the rain just doesn’t bear thinking about, so until the budget can stretch to this cute little garden shed, she’ll be kept indoors overnight. A bike this gorgeous deserves the best.  

27 comments:

Weenie said...

Having had a go on a Poppy, I too was surprised at how nippy it actually was and how comfortable. I love my Specialized road bike but I'm sorely tempted to go pink with my next purchase!

Cathy said...

You know pink makes sense!

Freddie said...

oh, what a pretty bike! I can only dream ;)

stardust said...

I have a pashley princess sovereign with a basket and panniers and manage to lug it up and down train station steps with all my books and laptop on board. I call it my 10 mininute a day resistance training... LOL! It can be done (and by a woman wearing heels none the less). :)

Kate said...

oh, this is just the most beautiful thing I have ever seen! I think I'd be too scared to ride it or leave it anywhere for fear of it getting stolen or scratched :(

Dottie said...

I have not been able to get this bike out of my mind since I first heard about it. I almost bought a Pashley last year but opted for a Dutch bike. But now that it's PINK. That's a big point for Pashley.

Adam said...

Flippin' gorgeous bike! I've long wanted a Pashley - the style's are just perfect, aren't they?

Just one thing: £400 is not expensive. You know how a new bottle of perfume seems expensive but then it goes and lasts pretty much forever? A quality bike is like that. ;-)

Adam @ The Sexify Blog

Kerry said...

Sold! I've been thinking about getting this bicycle for ages but wanted some feedback from someone who was using it day to day. You have really helped me make up my mind. Im thinking I will get the powder blue one.

Caz said...

I have the pastel blue and lurve it xxx

Weenie said...

Oh God, I actually looked into the price of getting my men's road bike sprayed pink yesterday. Damn you Pashley Poppy for making pink chic!

HanaFubuki said...

Hi there

I am about to purchase a poppy myself and just wondered about the flatter handlbars. Do they force you to lean forward a little?

I have a Pashley PRincess at the mo and love the upright seat it gives you. In fact the more upright the better!

Just wondered whether the handlebars affect the seating position?

Thanks, Tam

Cathy said...

My other bike is a mountain bike so for me the poppy is quite upright, but I don't think it's as upright as the 'sit up and beg' bikes like the Princess. I find I do lean forward a bit. But I have quite long arms and legs so that might be why.

Circus21 said...

I have recently purchased the Pashley Poppy through the Ride2Work Scheme. It is an AWESOME bike! I completely concur with your review - everything is excellent about it apart from the weight, but as you say, with such a fabulous bike, any big strong man close by is bound to help!

Britblah said...

Just ordered my blue Poppy from Bobbin Bicycles. I am so excited about it arriving that I keep looking at pictures online - I can't quite believe it will be mine. Only one problem - I need a basket for it. Does anyone know where I can get a basket that fits? Apparently it's difficult with the narrow handlebars?

Tory

Lynda said...

I'm seriously thinking about getting a blue poppy, but I am confused as to where you can get a wicker basket for it? Can anyone help who has one, or who knows?

Cathy said...

I have contacted Pashley and as soon as I hear back re a basket, I'll let you all know!

lazywaves said...

Hi there
thanks for this blog post .. i have been thinking about buying a poppy in powder blue for a while .. but .. I am supposed to be buying a practical bike to take on a trip to South of France .. cycling with panniers and pulling a surfboard on a trailer behind (a Mule) .. do you think the poppy could cope? could i cope on the poppy for 20kms a day pulling a surfboard? I am not a big cyclist, any advice you have from owning a poppy would be gratefully received ..

Beth said...

Hello! Wow. I love this bike SO much that I bought it on the cycletowork scheme after walking past it in a window. It felt like fate!
Anyway, as a total newbie to cycling I only have one thing that is worrying me about Poppy. I have no idea where to find a helmet that will not ruin the look of a little blue Poppy scooting round Holloway with a wicker basket. Has anyone got any ideas? I want to keep my head safe!
Thanks, Beth

Emily said...

Hi! I love your blog! I'm looking for the perfect bike, preferably vintage looking dutchy style. The poppy is exactly what I'm looking for! Where can I get my hands on it?
Check out my blog for some London Zest! www.londonzest.blogspot.com

Cathy said...

You can buy a Poppy directly from Pashley or from Evans.

Tallulah said...

I just bought a Pink Poppy, and a detachable wicker basket! But I'm worried it will get stolen somehow.
tallulah

broniaclare said...

I bought my Poppy today in Pastel Blue and can't believe how much attention my bike got cycling along the seafront in Southsea. I bought my basket from Haslemere Cycles in Southsea for £27, it fits perfectly and is removable. I love it.

Alice Wood said...

Ah these are the most beautiful bikes. I've had a custom painted pink mountain bike for a few years and I can honestly say pink bikes rule!! Now I am sorely tempted by the powder blue Poppy as a pootling road bike, they would make such a lovely pair. I saw them in Evans last week and so nearly went in!

suziedouglas said...

Hi again Caz,
My Poppy has arrived! Still haven't been able to ride it though as just coming out of half term I haven't yet had a moment without my three kids. I just have the baby tomorrow, but still no child seat... Roll on Saturday when I can leave them with Daddy for an hour or so!

I have a question for you - I would like (I think) to buy a stand for it. Do you have one on yours, do you find it useful (or do you find life fine without one?) and if you do have one, where did you get it?
I haven't been able to find any info online, but will email Pashley too for their advice.

Many thanks
Suzie

pumakel said...

Heeeey.I love this bike .I've been trying to ignore it..but no other bike compares.The reason ive been trying to ignore it and settle for cheaper options is due to fear of theft.Im scared to death after investing all that money someone will just come along and steal my baby.Like i even said to myself buying this bike would be stupid as its obviously going to get stolen or at least vandalised...how does everyone else cope with or overcome this fear

Titania said...

I love, love, love your site and my new poppy, which i bought after reading your blog! Now i have a princess sovereign and a poppy but i'm thinking we have more than 1 handbag?!?

Oh, and i love my Sawako Furuno leopard print helmet from your site and will post pictures soon. Thank-you, again!

foxy b said...

Help! I am undecided between a princess or poppy (wish I could have both) I originally had my heart set on the pink poppy and have ordered all accessories with it. But, I am torn as I love the upright riding position of the princess and wonder if the black is more classy. An option is to go with the poppy and change the handlebars to princess ones. All advice welcomed