When I first got to Ireland, I was in the market for a bicycle. Being a fan of BSA, I wanted to buy an old BSA Parabike. The Army designed fold-up bicycles for British paratroopers in WW-II. The grand scheme was to have troops jump out of airplanes with bikes strapped to their backs and then ride quickly to the front lines. Germany won't expect soldiers riding bicycles, ah-ha! (Maybe when you're in a time of war, even the most zany ideas make sense.) Anyway I guess they weren't used heavily because there are a lot of these things left in England. I contacted a collector who had five and wanted to get rid of one. The only problem: I didn't have a job at the time and he wanted 1200 euro.
So I kept looking and found this really great company in England that makes NEW parabikes! Pashley to the rescue. The new parabike looks just like the 1940's namesake but it has modern conveniences and costs half as much as a WWII collectable. I bought mine through my company and they are taking tax-deductable payments out of my monthly paycheck.
The modern Parabike bike comes with lightweight Cro-Mo steel tubes, a five-speed Sturmey-Archer hub, a top-of-the-line Brooks B67 saddle with comfortable springs, and puffy 26" x 1.75" tyres. The frame is surprisingly light. Modern materials are awesome. Oh hey, here's something else that's cool: I may own the only Ash Green Pashley Parabike in Ireland. This shop is Ireland's only Pashley importer and they have only imported one other Parabike so far in Dusk Blue.
The bike was purchased in town from the Eurocycles - Eurobaby store. Please don't ask me why the store has combined bikes with baby accessories. None of the Irish people understand it either. The only reason I can think of for combining two non-sequetir themes like that is a husband-wife team; perhaps they each wanted to do their own thing and take advantage of combined retail/warehouse space. Who knows? This might be just an Irish thing; there is a combination Bar, Hardware Store and Bike Shop in Dingle called Foxy John's.
Here are some photos from my ride home today. Thanks for reading.
My new bike at the cash register inside the shop
The shop on South William Street in Dublin
What a classic look!
Hand Built in Stratford-Upon-Avon (nice badge!)
Detail of the dual-tube frame
The Famous Brooks Saddle
Two-tone chrome bell, (bong-bing!)
Five-speed all-weather planetary-gear Sturmey-Archer hub, yeah baby!
On the road to adventure