The Gov'not - An attempt to turn an old frame into a copy of a vintage path racer - Pashley Gov'nor- for 50 pounds.

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Picture of The Gov'not - An attempt to turn an old frame into a copy of a vintage path racer - Pashley Gov'nor-  for 50 pounds.

This is the Pashley Gov'nor . . . it is simply beautiful . . . sit and stare at it for a while, it will make you feel nice . . .


It is based on the model made by Pashley in the 1930s but is equipped with modern components, (either single speed or internal hub 3 speed).

I want one, but at £800 I am afraid that it is not ever going to happen, even if I had the money.

I am attempted to make a passable copy for under £50, using scavenged, swapped and Ebay parts. . . I failed but it is still a bargain bike eventually costing  £111.07.

This guide is straightforward step by step but for a more comprehensive explanation of the thought process please go to this version which is a day by day diary of the project' ups and downs.
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Step 1: The frame.

Picture of The frame.
After putting the word, out a guy has given me a 23 " Raleigh flyer frame from his loft.

Its not a good or rare frame but that means I can modify it without guilt.

This frame originally had 27" wheels.

I have some old 700 C's wheels , which are slightly smaller diameter and, with the current tyres, wider.

I sanded the frame and found lots of rust under the original paint.

I like matt black and I paint every bike I own with the following method.

Front door paint dabbed on with a washing-up sponge; It doesn't look so good in the photographs but it is a very matt  finish with a slight texture and it is durable.

Step 2: The gears and brakes.

Picture of The gears and brakes.
Yahoo, just now I won these on Ebay; I was waiting all week to bid for them.

A 3 speed rear with hub brake and a front with a hub brake.

They cost , with postage, £67.50 but that is my brakes and gears sorted and these are the actual set up used on the Gov'nor.

swiftyfool6 months ago

I had forgotten all about this bike until today. I am finally setting about my own version after much discussion about yours as you were building it.....I will show you one day soon hopefully.

Tinworm1 year ago
Great job; love it!

Like the name, Gov'not too ;)
It reminds me of a scooter club who made Harley style choppers. They had a badge which looked like the Harley Davidson one, except that it said, "Hardly Rideables"

I'd love a bike like yours. Too many projects to do first, but no way can I afford a Pashley, either.
rimar20002 years ago
Very good work. Maybe you could reorder images in step 5.
FriendOfHumanity (author)  rimar20002 years ago
Muchas gracias. Bien vistos. Volveré a organizar el orden.
derte842 years ago
I know what it take to restore a rusty bike.. GREAT JOB!
Very cool. I love it.
Thank you kindly.
Wasagi2 years ago
Hooray! I'm really glad to see this project come to fruition. Those hubs were an awesome find, the originals and everything. And the head badge is an awesome touch!

I actually really like the texture you get from dabbing the paint on, it looks like it has a vintage patina, but also really modern. Great Job!
FriendOfHumanity (author)  Wasagi2 years ago
Dear Wasagi,

I know, I couldn't think of anything else but those hubs when then were on Ebay . . . and of course, making the badge was the best part.

Kind Regards

Cavechild2 years ago
Excellent work and a great write up.
Need to go and read your project journal instructable for this bike now :)
notingkool2 years ago
Beautiful bike, it look's almost exaltly to the original, even better your bike.
That drum brak that you use, they work fine? because i use to have ones but i never be able to make them work properly.
FriendOfHumanity (author)  notingkool2 years ago
Hello Notingkool,

Thanks for the comment.

The drum brakes that I used were the X-RD3 and the X-FD.
They do not stop as sharply as a well set up V-brake but they are still pretty effective; so to answer you, yes they work fine.

I did read somewhere that they can be made more effective by filing them into a shape that makes a better contact with the drum, but you would have to google it to get the proper information

Also ,I know that if the pads have come into contact with grease or oil, ( by over liberal spray oiling of the bike for example) they become unfit.

Also, I could be wrong but I have a feeling that in certain circumstances the pads can become glazed; in which case, they need to be lightly sanded.

If you have the same model as mine, I can assure you that they are easy to take apart.

There is also a PDF manual on the Sturmey Archer site.

Good Luck.

well, the pads if they are ceramic or metal can cristalyze and don't brake at all.
The drum brakes that i use to have were chinese. The brake but not as well as a v-brake or a cantilever.
your bike is awesome, i'd like to build mostly every bike that i like, hahahha. But now i'm building bike parts for bmx freestyle and unicycles.
When i was in the school (technical school) with a couple of frined we build two Penny Farthings, one with a 26" front rim, and other with a 56" custom rim and custom spokes, all hand-made.

Good luck.