What a summer and back to schools….

Well a wheely good day to you all and what a summer we have all had and one we will not ever forget but for many will want to. For me the moment lockdown occurred my work in schools was shut down and that along with all my races, cycle camps, events and trips cancelled left me having to re-evaluate. First was work and this is where Amazon stepped in and I ended up doing 22 weeks there. It was an interesting experience and allowed me to witness a different industry along with gain fitness and lose weight, that’s what 20- 30 thousand steps and more a shift does. This in turn helped my cycling no end and I have hit the Autumn stronger and fitter on the bike as well as now enjoying hills lol!!!

Over the course of the summer I did manage to get some great cycling in and also tried TT racing which I thoroughly loved. I had many adventures on the bike which included the following:

  • Solo gravel adventure to London and back along the Thames
  • Mini trip to the Welsh Black Mountains with my great pal Neil
  • Club trip to the Peak District including ticking off the legendary Cat and Fiddle
  • 425km one day epic ride to the coast with Carlo
  • And last but no means least 8 days bike packing around the gorgeous south west coastline with the Caton Curdler taking in Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and Dorset

As I said I decided to enter some TT races which I have loved so much. I ended up dong six with five of these being on the local Latton 10 mile course. By the end of the series I got a PB down to 23:34 for 10 miles which I am super happy with, I think a TT bike is next on the shopping list. That feeling of just going as deep as possible within yourself against the clock is an amazing feeling and something I am going to develop for next year.

So that brings me on to now and the current time and the best thing for me is being back in the schools coaching the young students of Swindon. After being away for so long it has been a joy to be back with the schools and seeing how all the students have progressed through lockdown with their own riding and now I am back helping them progress further. We have cycle camps back on at Half term so hopefully things will continue to move forward this way.

I can’t end this without a mention to the Tour de France. OMG what a race and in my view the best one ever. A couple of months ago it did not even look like it would happen and so for it take place was a spectacular thing. Then the race itself was just incredible with day after day of the most exciting racing and performances from the likes of Hirschi, Bennett and of course the win in such dramatic circumstances by Pogecar made for three weeks of mighty fine cycling.

So as always everyone stay safe, enjoy your bikes and until next time…….LATERS!!!!

Review of the year……2019

Well here we are approaching the last 24 hours of this year and a wheely good evening to you all. The last few months have been extremely busy and I apologise for the lack of blog and website updates. I intend to rectify this in the new year and will aim to post out a weekly update blog.

This last year has seen a wealth of cycling activities happen and I am going to list some of the highlights. Many of you will know of these and if i do miss something out no offence meant at all. So here we go with (in no particular order) my 2019 highlights:

  • The Paris Roubaix challenge with Tom. A gruelling sportive taking in all the 29 cobbled sectors of the famous race.  It was brutal but equally one of the most fun events I have taken part in with that famous velodrome finish
  • Going to watch many pro races including Tour of Britain, Tour of Yorkshire, Paris Roubaix, Tour of Flanders, Omloop and Kuurne Brussels Kuurne to name a few
  • LEJOG with kim, Andy and Jason. 1500 km’s over ten days raising much money for charity. This is one of those bucket list tick offs that had to be done and was a fabulous experience out riding the length of the UK
  • My epic solo ride from Newcastle to Swindon non stop 482 km’s in just shy of 24 hours. A mental ride with some mega highs and some dark lows but a great challenge netherless
  • Supporting my good friend Matt on his completion of Everesting challenge in the Summer. No mean feat and chapeau to that man
  • The growth of the business and seeing many more children riding is a huge buzz and something myself and the team strive to increase weekly

Finally I have to mention the crash and this was a low point for sure. 5 weeks off the bikes nursing broken ribs, fractured  wrist and a haemetoma. The only plus was getting to see some of the tour on TV while off recovering.

So onto 2020 and there is plenty lined up including a watch this space another huge solo challenge. All it leaves me to say is a very Happy New Year, thanks for all support in 2019 and as they say see you on the otherside.

LATERS!!!!!!! Paul

Bike Packing Adventures…..

A wheely good evening to you all and as I sit here 5 days after my debut bike packing adventure to Belgium I still cannot believe I have done my first solo trip. All I can say is if you have never tried it then do it as it is an absolute must!!! When I was planning the trip I did not really know what to expect and the packing was a key thing, too much and extra weight is incurred and too little and I would be shopping over there. As it was I got this part down to a tee and I had just what I needed.

As i boarded the ferry at Dover there was one thing I really wanted more than anything, dry weather and bar the last 500 metres 4 days later in Dunkirk I got my wish. My first day took me up to the Dunkirk beaches and then over to Ypres my first stop over point. This was an evening ride and left me with 40 miles in the dark to Ypres. I met Tom Coley on the ferry who was also doing a similar thing to me all be it a longer trip and was great to become friends with a virgin bike packer like myself. The B&B was a welcome sight that evening and although only covered 55 miles on day one it was a challenging day with the night ride.

Day 2 I woke to gorgeous blue skies and sun streaming through the window and today was going to be a great day. First off I rode north to Tynecot cemetery. This is the largest one place that commonwealth soldiers are buried and was a moving experience to say the least. Having served in the Army myself it really brought home to me just what all those men went through serving our country those 100 years ago. After spending some time here I headed south to watch the Great Centenary War Race. The line up for the inaugural edition was good and a chance to see the pros racing on foreign soil. After watching the race in various point including race past Christmas point memorial I got back to the centre of Ypres for the finish. That evening I stayed for the incredible last post ceremony under the Menin gate before another late night ride to get to my next stopover in Avelgem. Arriving at 11pm I was met by Andy my host who I had met through warmshowers.com bike packing website. That day I had put nearly 100 miles in the legs with a fully loaded bike and was ready to sleep and that I did very well in the caravan accommodation in his back garden.

Day 3 again I woke to blue skies and bright sun, just what I needed for this days ride. Today allowed me to ditch all the bags and ride the bike in its naked state, this was needed as 105 miles of Belgian lanes, bergs and cobbles awaited me. Andy had put a great route together for me for this day and it encompassed all the famous areas of this part of Belgium. First up the Koppenberg, followed closely by the Kruisberg, Muur, Taienberg, Kwaremont and finally after 99 miles the 19 percent slopes of the Paterberg. All these climbs are steep brutal narrow cobbled climbs and the cobbles make it a challenge beyond any words one can describe. The one thing that was going for me was it was dry, I really would not want to do this in the wet!!! This ride was just superb and gave me the chance to fulfil my ambition of riding these immense roads. On getting back to base after some 8 hours in the saddle there was only one thing for it…….a piping hot bath and a couple of chilled blonde beers. Bring on day 4!!!!

So day 4 arrived and this was my final day of my mini adventure and the journey home awaited. I had 8 miles ahead to get me and my bike back to Dunkirk and today was dry but windy!!!!! The wind was battering me from all ways and the last 45 miles down the coast was a block headwind. Of course I would rather have had it behind me but it actually served as a really good training tool and allowed me to work on concentrated continuous power output. As I went through the likes of Middlekierk, Nieuwport, De Panne and Dunkirk all I could do was hope the rain stayed away. I knew from social media the UK was battered by storms all day and these were due to come across the channel to Europe so I kept pedalling and as I said earlier beat the rain by the skin of my teeth. All that was left was a ferry and drive from Dover back home to Swindon.

So my bike packing adventure was over and wow it was superb. I have already started to plan the next one and I seriously am considering the Trans Continental in 2020. If you have never done this try it as you will not look back. And all it leaves me to say is ride safe, stay safe and keep those pedals turning. Laters!!!!

What a wheely good summer on the bike…..

First and foremost a wheely good evening to you all and an apology for the lack of blogs over the last few weeks. I have to say this is down to being out riding my bike so much and boy have I taken on some great rides and trips. I will try and take you through the highlights and what is ahead and I assure you not such a delay on another blog post!!!

Back in June I was out in Mallorca for the first time riding this great island. Everyone had said how majestic it was and what great riding there was well I was not disappointed at all. My goal was the Sa Calobra which I didn’t do just the once but twice while out there. the first time was more a chance to see what this legendary climb and descent is like and get a feel for the road etc. two days later I was back to really go for it and did a 46 minute ascent of the climb which I was very pleased with. Another great descent was off the top of the Puig Major, 9.7 miles of pure smooth flowing tarmac right down into Soller. The other great ride was out to the Cap Formentor lighthouse. This road is a great rolling road all the way out to the headland with some fun switchback turns and hair raising descents. Mallorca really is a cyclist paradise and I will be back soon, all being well for the legendary 312 sportive in April.

Following on from this was two great club rides of a greater distance than normal. One was a return trip over to Chepstow. Riding across the old severn bridge is a spectacle in itself and one I won’t forget in a rush. A week after this we went over to the Isle of Wight. Starting out from the New Forest we rode down to Lymington and then took the ferry over before taking on the island anti clockwise. this is the first time I have does it this way and it was a pleasant challenging change none more so than the heat we had that day.

This brings me to my annual trip to the Alps. The 7 days awaiting me at the end of July was something eagerly anticipated. I love my trips over to this beautiful part of the world and this trip allowed me to try some new rides and also take my club members on some new mountains for all of them. One of these was the Col du Glandon. This is a great challenging climb of nearly 20km and putting this at the end of a tough day in the saddle tested everyone to their limit. Another new climb for me was the pas de confession. This takes you up to the balcony road above Bourg D’Oissans and the views are truly magnificent. From there you come out on to hairpin 6 of the legendary Alpe D’Huez and have the choice of up or down!!! I have said this over an over but if you have never been to the French Alps do it as it is great riding and already I cannot wait for next years trip back out there.

This leaves not much left of the summer but I still have some exciting trips ahead. Shorty I will embark on a short solo bike packing trip around Belgium. I have never done this before but inspired by the great riders of the Trans Continental I want to try this type off riding. Mine will only be a short trip but still self supported carrying all I need with me on the bike. Keep an eye out for future posts on this trip. And then the first week of September it is the Tour of Britain and this race I intend to get away to about five stages, mostly by bike. I have heard Geraint Thomas our newest Tour winner will ride so that will certainly bring the crowds out.

Well until next time which won’t be as long happy riding and stay safe. Laters!!!!!

More kids on bikes…..

A wheely good evening from Paul Ashman Cycling. I hope you’re all enjoying the increase in temperature and getting out on your bikes more, I certainly am and even nicer to be a bit warmer on the playgrounds of Swindon schools. Apologies for the lack of blogging recently, I blame it on bikes, cycling and out training too much!

This blog is an update on the current schools work and also about the inaugural Paul Ashman Cycling Easter holiday camp. The Swindon schools that I am working in are taking on the cycling at an alarming rate and more and more children are on bikes and enjoying the sense of two wheels and the fresh air more and more. Recently I have been busy expanding into new areas and in particular within the White Horse Federation including soon to be visiting schools across the county. Things are certainly expanding at a phenomenal rate and it is great to have Jennifer Purcell on board to help deliver the projects. Currently we see nearly 700 children a week and this will only increase. As I always say get more kids on bikes and let’s see more riders out on the roads. Only too often I see adults not riding or out enjoying cycling and I firmly believe this stems from grass roots level so my mission is get that sorted and we will have so many more out cycling the Swindon cycle paths and roads. Let’s aim for less car use and more bike use. If you have any questions or enquiries around Cycling in schools please get in touch.

As you can see from the poster we have the first Paul Ashman Cycling holiday camp coming up in a few weeks time. There are just a few places left so please get in touch if you want to sign your child up. The aim of the day is to have fun with challenges, games and competitions, learn more about cycling skills and maintenance and take the children on to local bike paths and trails. It promises to be a fun filled action packed day.

Until next time cycle safely and most of all enjoy it. Laters!!!

My Interview on Swindon 105.5 FM

A wheely good evening to you all and I hope you are well and enjoying your bikes as much  as me!

This is a very short blog to give you information about a recent interview I did for local radio. Jo Garton who I have know for many years asked me to go on to Swindon105.5 FM to talk about my cycling business and my work in the local schools. Obviously I was delighted and didn’t hesitate to say yes. What followed was a fun interview allowing me to share the work I am doing in the schools in Swindon and the local area. Please click the link below and have a listen and of course let me know what you think.

*****MY INTERVIEW STARTS AT 31 MINUTES INTO THE PROGRAMME*****

Many thanks and until next time happy cycling.

Rouleur Classic 2017 – What a night!!!

So a wheely good welcome to you all and I write this on the late night train back from London having just been to the 2017 Rouleur Classic in London with my good friend Karl and his dad Roger. This is our third time on the trot and we enjoy more each year. Once again the venue was the amazing Victoria House and yet again Rouleur didn’t fail in putting on a superb night surpassing previously visited years with oozing amounts of quality, memorabilia and stars of the cycling world. From the Mavic service course cars parked up outside I knew this was gonna be a treat. Entitled Monuments it was to celebrate the great riders who had conquered on the cobbles and roads of Flanders and Roubaix. 


On entering the event it was awash with the creme de la creme of brands showing their products under the dazzling lights. I could go on for an eternity but one that stood out for me was the s-works stand complete with the latest SL6 tarmac and some very nice custom frames. I know I am biased but s-works bikes, components and frames for me are the epiphany of top drawer bike manufacturing and I know my good friend Paul Jackson in Northern Ireland would not diasagree with me. 


Of course any show is not just about the products but it’s meeting the pros and people from the industry that make it all tick. You can imagine my delight seeing Sir Bradley Wiggins once again. This guy is a legend and chatting to him about tattoos and bikes was just great. Every time I have met him over the years he’s always made time to talk and just generally be cool as he is. 

Of course the main stage hosted a wealth of top names. From Jonathan Vaughters talking about the new Drapac team to Johan Museeuw reminiscing on all his classics victories every guest had a story to tell and entertained the packed crowd. 


As the evening drew to a close all it left was one more skirt of the stands, collect our goodie bags and head off into the crisp London night air. Once again a totally amazing evening and I would recommend get a ticket for next year as rumour has it with the theme being World Champions we may see a visit from Peter Sagan, now that would be special.

Just leaves me to say thanks for reading and subscribing and please check out my twitter and Instagram. Until next time happy riding and laters!

Recycles, Le Tour, S-Works and more……

A wheely good welcome from Paul Ashman Cycling. I’m sat writing this on a London Underground tube journey and just thinking how can people live and commute like this all the time. It’s hot, packed and seems so stressful all the time. Give me my bike, the freedom and the fresh air any-day.

Things are continuing to pick up at PAC with the possibility of taking on a new assistant to meet the demand. One area that he will help with is a trials/bike stunts club. Teaching young students how to do this in a safe and proper way and even create the next Danny McAskill. Who knows?!?

Just last week we had the Recyles RCC Tourist Trophy which tied in with the clubs second birthday. We had a great turnout for what was a fun packed day. I can’t believe it was two years ago myself and Simon formed the club and it has grown from strength to strength. The day involved a hill climb, a free wheel descent, a speed test and guess the weight of the bike competition. It was a great fun day and Simon came out the winner with me a close second. The hill climb let me down so a little more weight needed to trim off I think to keep me sprightly up those hills lol!! A big thanks to Denis for planning the event.

So last week the route for the 2018 Tour de France was announced and crikey what a brilliant route they have put together. Individual and team time trials, cobbles as well as the Alps and Pyrenees shows a challenging and very entertaining route. I will be heading out to the Vendee region for the opening three stages which I am really looking forward to. This edition also sees the first time that teams will have only eight riders, will it deter Team Sky…..no chance. Froomey all the way for his fifth title I think.

Finally I must just mention my dream s-works build. Those of you who follow my instagram or facebook will have seen the developments and now it is ready to be built. This bike will be fully kitted with Dura Ace and S-Works components and the final build should tip the scales sub 7kg. Please check out my instagram or facebook and follow to see finished pictures once all completed.

That’s all for now folks so until next time enjoy your bikes and riding. I’ll be back after the weekend with a report from this Sundays Surrey cycle show I am attending. Laters!!!

 

PAC Update

So a wheely good morning to you all and I hope you are all well and enjoying the lovely Autumn weather we are currently experiencing. Its been a couple of weeks since my last blog and I thought it would be good to touch base on whats going on in the world of Paul Ashman cycling.

The term has started in a rather manic busy way but all is good and great to be out there working with so many individuals on their bikes. I have started new projects in four primary schools on a weekly basis helping teach children everything from bike safety and handling through to the history of cycling and much much more through my 35 week course I have devised. The children turn up every week with their bikes and are loving the fun sessions we are running. Alongside this I have started three after school and one lunchtime club in schools. These run much the same way as the structured programme but with more emphasis on out on the bikes with a practical element.

For more older students I have started running an after school club in a secondary school as well as a cycling club in a sixth form college. The college club has a high calibre of riders and we have been out on some great training rides already this term. The plan with this club is to enter some sportives, races and take a trip abroad next year. With more new projects on the horizon it is all looking good and boding well for the future.

On a personal level my riding is going well and I have managed to keep up the training regularly. Just this weekend gone I raced in the Richard Kell memorial race in the cat 3/4 section which was a great race. Not until the last few laps did the peloton split probably due to the wind whipping across the circuit. I will be back there in two weeks for the final race of the series and then the week after I am racing at the Mountbatten centre in Portsmouth.

In terms of the pros most will be on their well earned end of season holidays and with the World tour drawing to a close attention turns to the cyclocross season. Roll on next year with the new season seeing some new riders with new teams. I am looking forward to some trips next year including The Tour, Paris – Roubaix, Tour de Yorkshire, Gent Wevelgelm and maybe a couple others thrown in the mix.

So all that leaves me to say is happy riding and enjoy those bikes.

 

All over for another year!

So as the curtain came down yesterday on one of the best if not the best Giro ever it left us in awe of Tom Domoulin. This 26 year old from the Netherlands lit up the race from start to finish showing grit in the mountains, patience on the flat and pure raw time trialing talent in the the time trials. A little over three weeks ago the race rolled out of Sardinia with one word on everyones lips, the Colombian Nairo Quintana. Could he do the Giro Tour double? How would he do in the Dolomites and Alps? And many more questions.

Well over the next three weeks all would be revealed and it did not go to plan for the young Colombian. He was out raced by the Old Shark himself Vincenzo Nibali in the mountains and outwitted all over by Tom Domoulin.

Before any of this there was plenty of other stories to keep you on the edge of your seat from the crazy police motorbike wiping out our own G, yes bloody motorbikes again!! To another young Colombian in Gaviria taking the points jersey and four victories on his Grand Tour debut at 22 years old. Lets also not forget the epic maintain battles involving Sky’s Mikel Landa who took the mountain jersey and of course the ‘natural break issues’. That along with Quick Step Floors having there best Grand Tour in a  long time it was a race full of stories.

So fast forward to yesterday and needing to overturn a 53 second deficit the current Dutch Time Trial champion Tom Domoulin truly delivered his country their first Giro victory and first Grand Tour win for over thirty years. At 26 years old he clearly has more Grand Tours in the tank and I can see him one to watch for the future.

So back to that Colombian Quintana where does it leave him? Well Le Tour is only 5 weeks away and the battle between him, Richie Porte and Chris Froome is going to be epic. All I can say is ‘Viva La Froome’ and bring on the the Tour de France.