I'll preface this post by saying that I'm not getting the Princess Sovereign after all... not because I don't want her (quite the contrary - I absolutely love this bicycle and will have one someday) - but because unforeseen circumstances have left me unable to get one at this time.
It's interesting (serendipitous, really) that these circumstances happened when they did - exactly the day I found out the Pashley shipment had arrived, and not after I spent my now-needed $$ on the bicycle. I had not put a deposit down nor was the bike ordered specifically for me; my Princess Sovereign would have been purchased out of the LBS' regular order - so I don't feel badly about not purchasing it at this time. I'm disappointed things didn't work out the way I thought they would, but I firmly believe everything happens for a reason!
I still went to check out the shipment, though. There were some lovely Britannias, a Poppy, and a Roadster Sovereign built... but I was absent-minded and forgot to snap some pics! I did manage to hastily take some crappy iPhone pics of the Princess Sovereign after taking her out in the snow:
Pictures (especially these ones) do NOT do this bicycle justice! She's absolutely gorgeous in person!! I can't even begin to describe how pretty she is when she's all shiny and sitting amongst a bunch of fellow Pashleys. And she rides like a dream... my test ride was awesome.
I'm a huge fan of the upright position while riding this bike. I felt tall (well, as tall as someone 4'11" can feel), which allowed me to better see and be seen. The upright position also allows you to better take in your surroundings. I love riding a bicycle simply for the experience of it - the sounds and sights of the road, the feel of the wind against your face, etc. and this bike almost forces you to simply enjoy the ride. My position also felt natural, not cramped or stretched out or anything like that. The swept back handlebars allowed me to keep my arms and wrists in a nice, relaxed position.
Despite the snowy and icy roads on my test ride, the bike handled very smoothly and felt sturdy. The steel frame and sprung Brooks saddle also made for a smooth ride. She would be a great winter bike for these reasons and because of the internal gears, hub brakes, fenders, skirt/coatguard and full chaincase. No messy clothes or fiddling with frozen brakes and derailleurs!
I felt that the gearing was on the higher side but that can easily be improved with a new cog. I guess that opinion might be different with dry road conditions so I wouldn't make any changes before riding this bike a significant amount of time first.
The other details also make for a wonderful bike - sturdy Pletscher rack, roomy front basket, rear wheel lock, dynamo front light, battery rear light (I'm ok with that), and smile-inducing ding-dong bell. There is really no need to further accessorize this bike, save for maybe a double-leg kickstand and a more secure lock. I would not use the rear wheel lock as primary bike security.
So where does this leave me? I'm not sure. I hope I'll soon be able to get my dream bike, but it won't be both the Princess Sovereign and the Betty Foy at the same time. Ultimately what I want is a bike that's comfortable, able to take me on long-ish rides on varied terrain (namely hills), and built for practicality (carrying my stuff!). Seems to me that Betty Foy fits the bill... I'll see what the next little while brings!