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Pashley rides to aid of supermodel student Lily Cole

Stratford-upon-Avon company replaces stolen Princess Sovereign free of charge

Bicycle manufacturer Pashley has come to the rescue of one of its customers who had her bicycle stolen and replaced it free of charge.

But before any other owners of bikes by the iconic British brand who have been left bereft by the theft of their pride and joy start beating a path to the door of its Stratford-upon-Avon factory with their own tales of woe, we should point out that the customer in question is Lily Cole, the supermodel-turned-actress and Cambridge University student.

Miss Cole’s bike, a Pashley Princess Sovereign, was stolen in Cambridge last month, with the Daily Mail reporting that the thieves had first removed its wicker basket.

Following the theft, Miss Cole related how she always took care of her bike, saying that she refused to leave it at the city’s railway station, recently criticised for its full-to-capacity bike parking, which she said was “like a cesspit of cycles,” adding “I don't take my bike there. I don't think it's nice to put it in so much danger.”

With the new university term having started last week, Pashley has come to Miss Cole’s aid, giving her a new bicycle for free. According to the Daily Mail, Pashley managing director Adrian Williams said: "I thought it was rotten to think of Lily losing her Princess, and I didn't want it to spoil her holidays. Plus, Lily looks so gorgeous on the Princess I couldn't bear her being without one."

No doubt creating a PR-friendly story that would be eagerly snapped up by a host of websites targeted at fashionistas presumably didn’t enter the equation, either way it’s a shrewd piece of PR on the part of Pashley, whose traditionally styled bikes pop up regularly on the pages of fashion magazines and websites. Having a supermodel riding one of their bikes can't hurt so it pays for Pashley to make sure she keep riding one… the fact that bing a supermodel Lily Cole hardly needs their largesse is, we suppose, immaterial.

Even in these economically straitened times, it’s unlikely that she would have had to scrimp too much to find the £600 it would have taken to replace the bicycle. According to last year’s Sunday Times Rich List, she is worth some £4 million – enough to replace the bicycle more than 6,500 times over, or to take out more than 83,000 annual insurance policies on it, based on her college’s postcode.


Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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G-bitch | 14 years ago

FFS, I know it's for PR, but there's nothing more infuriating than hearing of freebies for the terminally minted.

mttvrtn | 14 years ago

To those who have, give them more. It's a shame that Pashley's PR doesn't extend to giving one of their bikes to a more deserving cause who couldn't afford a replacement so readily. I wonder if Adrian Williams knows about James Martin's views on cyclists?

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