It all started with an open letter by Jemma Leahy, in which she made fair points on the under-representation of women in our catalogues. We invited to Jemma our head office and she gave us some useful feedback about our catalogue. We asked her to test ride the all new Pinnacle Californium bike for us. This is her review of the bike and this is her opinion of the bike two months on:

Six weeks ago I posted my first impressions of the Pinnacle Californium bicycle from Evans Cycles. I have since spent the whole summer riding ‘the dreamboat’ around London and testing out the full force of what she is made of. Is she all style and no substance? Or is she a commuter’s companion?…

The look

If Mary Poppins didn’t have her magic umbrella to travel around with, then this is the bike she would ride. In post-box red, the Californium stands out from the crowd with its cheerful exterior and gracious curves. Uplifting on a rainy day ride and dazzling on a summers day. The ‘mixte’ frame makes it unique to the other classic sit-up-and-beg bicycles on the market. Another stylish touch I admire is having the skirt and chain guard in the same post-box red as the frame, I also love the vintage style brown handlebars.
If you are after the ‘I’m-buying-my-baguette-on-a-Saturday-afternoon’ look then this is the bike for you. Top it off with some red lipstick and a Breton top for the full Parisian chic. This bicycle is pretty!

Comfort

From someone who is used to riding a cheap 1980’s bicycle, cycling the Californium was a shock to the system. I didn’t realise that bikes can glide along so smoothly! I have been on a couple of long distance rides and found the bicycle really comfortable and forgiving over bumps. The wide handlebars add to the comfort factor and I am yet to get saddle sore!

Speed

The Californium comes in three gears. Not much? Well, if you are only interested in city/town cycling and getting from A to B without turning into a sweatbox then three gears is enough. If you want to compete with the lyrca folk then this bicycle is a no go! Although it’s always fun to take over one when you can!

Maintenance

Ah maintenance……..my WORST THING ABOUT CYCLING! Let’s keep things basic. The wheels aren’t quick release which can seem annoying if you want to take them off quickly, but good if you don’t want them nicked. The bicycle has hub gears so won’t rust quickly and also means you can change gear when stationery at traffic lights. The chain guard looks stylish and also protects your chain from rusting. HOWEVER, it can be difficult to put your chain back on if the entire thing has fallen off  (which has happened to me 3 times! I think we can say, I live up to my blog name!).

Can I carry it easily through my house/flat/stairs/garden?

This bike is surprising lightweight compared with the other sit-up-and-beg bicycles on the market. I have to carry my bike through my flat everyday and with the Californium, I didn’t have to get my pop-eye muscles out. The only thing is the wide handle bars can make manoeuvring tricky, but these handlebars are worth it for a comfy ride!

Can I wear my high heels?

Like riding in a skirt, you can pretty much wear heels on every bicycle. The Californium has slightly larger pedals than what I am used to which adds more surface area for support. Get those heels on!

Easy to wear a skirt and cycle?

Some bicycles accommodate a skirt better than others. The Californium is perfect for cycling in a skirt because of the upright style. I’m a bit of an advocate for skirt cycling, so I have highlighted the features of this bicycle which makes this fashion statement possible:
  • By not leaning forward like on a mountain bike, you can get more skirt to sit on and keep in    place.
  • There is plenty of space to put your legs together when pedalling avoiding any unfortunate flashes!
  • Being a step-through style means you can hop on and off with ease.
All in all, this bicycle is a DREAMBOAT! There really isn’t much to fault. It is the perfect companion for commuting, easy to ride, comfortable and pretty in the looks department. Retailing at £350, this bicycle is affordable. Mary Poppins sure is missing out!