Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Design Students on a Roll with Pashley Cycles

Pashley Guv'nor
Retro 1930's pathway racing cycle

Students on the MA Product Design course at the Birmingham Institute of Art & Design, Birmingham City University, were asked by Adrian Williams, Managing Director, Pashley Cycles  to work on new accessories concepts for the Pashley Guv’nor. 

Pashley Cycles is England's longest established bicycle manufacturer, having been founded in 1926 in Stratford-upon-Avon.  Its dedicated team design and hand-build a unique range of specialist bicycles, tricycles and work bikes.

London's Annual 'Tweed Run'
a chance to indulge in cycling and style at the same time

One of Pashley's most notable design classics, the Guv'nor, a retro 1930's pathway racing cycle, is favoured by many as 'the bike of choice' for the classic Tweed Run - an annual cycle through London and a chance for the lovers of bicycles and style to indulge both their passions at once!

MA Product Design Course Director, Graham Powell
pictured with Nicolette Lowe, takes part in the London Tweed Run 2010

Course Director, Graham Powell, split the students into six groups with each asked to consider specific products – either a water bottle, reflector, repair kit, mudguard, bell or a pump.
To ensure that students fully understood their chosen category they were asked to research them from an historical perspective and analyse them through observational drawing. 
Concept Drawings for Pashley Guv'nor Thermos Flask Accessory by Alexia Delas
Pashley Guv'nor with Retro-styled Thermos Flask concept
designed by Alexia Delas

Observational Drawings for the Pashley Guv'nor Bicycle Bell Accessory
Each student proposed four simple and affordable adaptations of an existing product, based upon aesthetics, interactions, cost and an alternative or new technology – with the intention that the new pieces might suit the Guv’nor better.

Exhibition of Pashley Guv'nor retro-styled accessories at BIAD Winter 2009

All the concept designs were brought together into an Exhibition which took place in Winter 2009.

The project formed part of the Product Evolution module, looking at the rise of retro within product design. Adrian Williams, Managing Director, Pashley, said he was "blown away" by the quality of the 22 student concepts shown to him. 

Adrian Williams, Managing Director, Pashley Cycles (right front)
viewing MA Product Design Guv'nor Accessories concepts with colleagues
Having viewed all the entries, Adrian was so impressed by the calibre, brand authenticity and attention to detail demonstrated in the students' work, and was so keen to work with one of Graham’s students he offered Jon Cumberpatch, who had completed the MA Product Design the previous year, a design contract with Pashley Cycles.

For further information about the project and/or the MA Product Design course at BIAD contact  and on twitter

Retro-styled bicycle pump design
by MA Product Design Student, Thomas Slack


Pashley Guv'nor with retro-styled concept reflector designed by Peter Whitehouse

David Nicolle, MA Product Design Student with Pashley Guv'nor
and student designed Retro-styled Accessories

Pashley Guv'nor with retro-styled water bottle designed by Chien Chien Chu

Pashley Cycles Guv'nor
with Concept Mudguards in Brass, designed by David Nicolle
Retro-styled Thermos Flask designed by Alexia Delas
Retro-styled Bicycle Pump designed by Thomas Slack
Retro-Styled Reflector designed by Peter Whitehouse

Model David Nicolle

To view video of Adrian Williams and his colleagues at Pashley discussing the design and hand-build processes employed at Pashley Cycles visit

For further information about Pashley Cycles visit

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