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.


Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.