BIKE FIT – why do you need one?

A wheely good afternoon to you all from the world of Paul Ashman Cycling. I hope you are all well and if like me willing this cold weather to end. I have to say the last couple of rides have been freezing and last weeks race allowed me to very quickly lose feeling in my fingers and toes. Never mind only 15 weeks and I’ll be out riding in that Majorca sunshine 🙂

So onto my blog for today and it’s all about bike fits. Many people will ask the question do I need one or will it help me? The answer hands down is yes. We all suffer with aches and pains when we ride and those little niggles that won’t go away and most of those is an ill fitting bike. Believe it or not a small thing like seat too high or low, cleat angle wrong or stem length incorrect can have a massive impact on your position on the bike and lead to all sorts of issues.

I had my first one some years ago and back then it sorted me out. Since then I know my position due to weight loss and being fitter has changed so I thought best get checked over again. Also having a new bike can make the difference as every angle of geometry affects the set up. So I took a visit to Danny Clayton my sports therapist who is also a qualified bike fit specialist ( http://www.dc-injury clinic.co.uk ).

The bike fit took in three stages to fully access and look at every aspect. To start with general body shape and posture was looked at. Here it was noted that I lean over onto the outer part of my right foot this due to a bunion and previous ankle injuries. This as a result can have a knock on effect and could be the cause of occasional knee pain I get on the inside of my right joint so this was the first area to address, more on this later.

Secondly Danny assessed my body flexibility and strength in various parts of the body. This was done by means of various flexing and restraint type manoeuvres. This highlighted a slightly weak hamstring but otherwise I am in a good shape which pleased me. That showed me that despite my age my body is in good order and this bodes well for future goals and targets. It’s all about marginal gains and even though this term is a myth to some it clearly does work and every little step makes a difference.

Finally it was time to jump on the bike set up on the turbo. This allowed us to check all angles and position when riding. There is a set of parameters as a guide and sitting in between these measures for a well set up ride position. My angles all work well and showed stem length, saddle height and crank arm length correct for what I need. There is room for a slight raise of the seat post in the future to increase power but this is when my hamstrings strengthen. Back to the knee pain I occasionally get it was decided to address this by way of 1mm shims. These sit under the cleats and raise the inner part of the foot by 1mm increments to offset the outer foot lowering. I will add a shim very two weeks up to a maximum of three to see how this goes but hopefully it will have an impact. Danny has also given me a set of exercises to do each day to build up the hamstring strength.

The overall fit took two hours and was an incredibly interesting and fruitful session. I personally learnt lots and to come away with data, pictures, a full report and ways to improve is a great bonus. I can’t tell anyone how to spend their money but would totally recommend this and certainly suggest give Danny a call and see how he can help you with bike fit or other sports related injuries.

Until next time happy riding and enjoy ticking the miles off rolling the tarmac!

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2017 review and 2018 preview……….

A wheely good evening to you all. So here we are in the January of a new year and it is a very exciting one ahead with lots planned for Paul Ashman cycling. Firstly though let’s look back at 2017 and what a year it was.

The year started with an unexpected 5 week stay in hospital due to a collapse brought on by a blocked artery in my brain. After many tests and appointments as well as five months off work I had surgery in Oxford at the superb John Radcliffe hospital which was a huge success and I have had no relapses of the condition since. Even the non stop headaches I was getting have gone. So even though this was a time that meant I could not do much including cycling and gigging with my band it did give me time to plan Paul Ashman Cycling which was officially born later in the year.

Once out of hospital I set about regaining fitness and putting the plans of the business into place. The summer brought many exciting cycling adventures none more so than mine and Neil’s London to Paris and back by bike in four days. All 600 miles through wind, rain and sun but knowing we had raised nearly £5000 for the Royal Marsden charity. And we got to see the final day of the tour on the champs Ellysee. After returning to the UK it was a brief few days of rest before a week long trip to the alps with Recycles RCC. This was a great week away including climbing the Galibier, Telegraph, Ornon, Ventoux, Alpe D’Huez and more. This was my fifth trip to the alps but one of the best I think down to my base fitness level being much better. This in turn made the climbs easier and allowed me to take in the scenery a lot more.

Once home it was back to the business as Paul Ashman Cycling officially went live on September 1st 2017. The main aim is to bring cycling, news, education and events to the people and in particular young people of Swindon. The work came in much quicker than I imagined and very quickly I was seeing children all across the borough teaching them all manner of cycling related things. The main basis to my work is a thirty week bespoke plan I have written to deliver to students of all ages. This involves practical on bike lessons looking at bike handling, safety and maintenance as well as classroom activities around history of the sport, diet, fitness, nutrition, route planning and much more. As we speak I am seeing upwards of 800 children a week and it is a pleasure to be able to bring cycling to the people.

2017 closed with more riding, the club going from strength to strength and the business growing at an alarming rate of knots. So then onto the new year……..

2018 is going to be a packed fun year with lots going in the world of Paul Ashman Cycling. Here is some of the things I have planned with the business, the club and my own cycling activities and trips.

• Paul Ashman Cycling expanding into more schools with more after school provision taking place

• Sportives I am riding include White Horse Challenge, Tour de Yorkshire, Etape Caledonia in Scotland, Crudwell 24 hour and I’m sure one or two more along the way

• Trips to the cyclocross World Cup in Holland, Paris – Roubaix, Majorca, The Alps and the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in the Vendee

• Racing more extensively starting with the Odd Down winter series

• Continue to expand the Recyles RCC

• An exciting charity endurance ride to raise money, more on this will follow in future weeks

As ever there will be lots more fun things happening and I will continue to develop, promote, encourage and get more people into this wonderful sport we all love. Until next time get out on those bikes and enjoy riding.

Laters!!!

Meet my pair of S-Works bikes 😍

A wheely good welcome to this latest blog from Paul Ashman Cycling. Over the last few weeks you will have read and heard a lot about my s-works bikes well here is the final instalment on these. This is for all the geeks that want to know spec and more technical details.

The two s-works bikes I have are both Roubaix models with the winter/race one being a 2008 limited edition Quickstep model and the Summer one a 2013 SL3.

So let’s start with the winter bike. The Roubaix was designed by Specialized for the cobbles and provides great comfort and a more forgiving ride but not lessening the performance of the bike. This one is the limited edition Quickstep model and was made famous by Tom Boonen. It is a full carbon frame and forks with the zertz inserts to soften the bumps. The groupset is Ultegra bar the chain set being a carbon FSA model. I am running a race set up with 53/39 on the front and a 11-25 cassette. This is for two reasons, I will use this for racing and I feel this set up will make me stronger through the winter. The wheels are Cole wheels and even though aluminium come in very light shod with the Continental GPS 4000 SII rubber. This combination gives a solid feel with great grip and running through the corners. Flat line speed feels great as well. The finishing kit is an s-works carbon seatpost, Specialized stem, 3T aero flat bars and a toupe pro saddle. Along with prologo bar tape, elite bottle cages and 105 pedals it rounds out a great well specced bike for the winter and racing going forward. This bi,e I have owned for two years now and is a very comfy ride coming in at 7.67 kg.

Next up is my summer bike or as many of you know my ‘dream build’. I have built this up over the last few months sourcing all the parts individually and making sure weight was always at the forefront of the build. The frame is a gorgeous 2013 in a gloss red and white with internal cable routing throughout. Again it is a Roubaix model but has a slightly more racey geometry than my other one. The groupset on this is full Dura Ace with a compact 50/34 chainset and a 11-28 cassette. This will predominantly be my summer bike so I wanted a groupset that would climb hills and ride distance better for the likes of Sportives, The Alps etc. The wheels are carbon clinchers made by Far Sports. They come in at 1200g for the pair so are very light and at 40mm deep very aero. I have them shod with the S-works turbo cotton tyres, I like these as the tan sidewall gives a slight vintage look. Finishing kit is an S-works carbon post and bars, stem, bar tape and saddle and along with elite cages and dura ace pedals complete the set up. This comes in at 6.91 kg so very light and it really is my dream build. I cannot wait to be slinging this up and down the Alps next summer and taking it over over the likes of Alpe D’huez, Colombiere, Glandon and more…….

So there you have my geeky detailed breakdown of my bikes. I feel very proud to own them and ride Specialized which in my opinion make the greatest bikes. Until next time happy riding and good luck to those embarking on the Rapha festive 500! It all starts on Sunday! 😊👍🚴🏻

Froome, The Rainbow Bands and Paul Ashman Cycling

So a wheely good welcome to you all from Paul Ashman Cycling and I hope you are all still enjoying these last bits of Summer and sun and getting out on your bikes. 
This last week to ten days has been exciting in many ways. Chris Froome delivered his second Grand Tour of the season and did so in style. Taking the Vuelta‘s red jersey on stage three he never looked back and troubled securing the victory. This was his first Vuelta victory but I think not his last. He has five Grand Tours to his name now and the big question I think on everyone’s lips is will he take on the Giro to give him the chance of the clean sweep of all three and join that elite club of riders who have done that. Only time will tell but at the moment he clearly is the rider of the moment and the one to beat in a Grand Tour stage race. 

So this brings us on to the World Championships and the rainbow bands. Yesterday saw young Tom Pidcock smash the Junior time trial to take gold and add this to his growing collection of accolades and all at only 18 years old! What next is the question but you can be sure he has a superb future ahead of him in the cycling world. Today is men’s time trial day and clearly a shootout between Froome and Doumolin. The climb near the end I think will play it’s part and it’s down to who can keep that momentum to the end, whatever we are in for a treat and of course still the road race to come on Sunday. Keep tuned and let’s see who takes the rainbow bands. I’m going for Froome today and Kwiatkowski on Sunday. 

Finally an update on Paul Ashman Cycling. Things are going full swing for me at the moment with the new business taking off really well. New projects have come in already and a wide range of activities taking place throughout the week. It’s early days but I feel it’s going to grow and become a worthwhile business venture that will give many access to bikes and fuel my passion for the love of cycling. 


Until next time one and all happy cycling, stay safe and see you soon.  

Tour of Britain 2017 Stage 4

A wheely good evening to you all as I bring you this from the car on my way back from the Tour of Britain. This country gets knocked for so much but sure knows how to put on a bike race. This was stage 4 of this years Tour and a cracking stage it was. 

We started out at 6:00am from home for the trip North to Mansfield and to soak up the action before the stage started. In a sunny Mansfield town centre it was buzzing with fans clambering for that allusive autograph, pose for a selfie and get the best spot for the roll out. 


As the riders rolled out we made a dash for the car and took a stop at the feed zone to see the riders pass and deposit musettes and bottles aplenty for all us fans to grateful pick up and return home with. At this count 6 musettes and 5 bottles and still the finish to go. 


After a quick stop to see the peloton pass through Retwoth we hit Newark for the finish. They had it set up to a tee and we found a great place to see the finish on the big screen amongst the 100’s of fans in the fan village. As expected it came down to a sprint finish and Fernando Gaviria duly delivered for the Quick Step team (see pic of me and him above prior to race starting). All this left was the sweep of the coaches for more selfies, bottles and more. It was a pleasure to meet G and get the selfie and his signature on my yellow jersey. All in all a fab day and now looking forward to seeing the last two stages at the weekend. Until then happy riding one and all. 

Alps done and dusted 👌🚴🏻

A wheely good evening to you all on this chilly Sunday evening, well it is to me after 7 days of continuous 30 degrees plus!! This was my fifth trip out and the rides on this surpassed all before. After the early part of the week I have written about there were still more col’s to enjoy/enjure/persevere!!

Wednesday was a rest day but a short spin of the legs is what we told Jason, like a club run to flush the legs through. Haha this turned into a 1000 metre climb of the Col D’Ornon. The road wound its way up through the valley as the morning sun sprinkled the tarmac with golden rays. Once at the top it was the fast sharp descent back to the chalet before heading off to Grenoble sight seeing. 


So that took us to Thursday and what a day. In any Grand Tour they have the Queen stage, regarded the most brutal day of the race. Well this day was our Queen stage day as we took on the Croix de Fer, Col du Telegraph and Col du Galibier. Over 15,000 feet of elevation, nearly 10 hours in the saddle and some brutal leg burning riding, Yes this was a cycling holiday!!! But boy so glad we took it on and even though fell short of getting back to camp before dark (massive thanks to Andy Caton Curdlér for picking us up in the van) had an epic day in the saddle. This was almost the same route as stage 17 of this years tour and to follow the greats a couple of weeks later just amazing. 


So Friday was our last day riding and we left a true gem for this day………the Col D’Izoard. This mountain held its first summit finish of Le Tour back in July and what a climb. For me this was the gem of the week with gorgeous scenery, sweeping bends, sharp hairpins, magnificent views and of course the Coppi monument near the top. A truly great day in the saddle and in my five years of riding probably one of if not the best day cycling ever. To add to this day while we were on this climb Dennis who came out with us rode the Alpe D’Huez climb, all 21 switchbacks at 84 years old, what an absolute legend, totally brillaint. If that doesn’t give you inspiration to get on your bike nothing will!! 



So that was this years trip to the Alps with Paul Ashman Cycling and Recycles RCC and we all had a blast. So much so we have already booked the chalet for next year and not just one but two chalets as 11 of us going across.

As for this week I am off to Bournemouth for some chill time with my girls, kim and my parents.  Will the bike go with me……well you never know haha. Until next time bye for now and happy riding all of you 😊🚴🏻

Alps Day 1 and 2

A wheely good evening to you all from the sunny Alps. Paul Ashman Cycling and the Recycles Road Cycling Club are enjoying a week out here cycling the iconic mountains of the Alps. It has been an awesome two days already with many more beautiful rides still to do. 
Yesterday we took on the most famous of them all, Alpe D’Huez and it’s iconic 21 stages. We all set off together from the start as a group but clearly weren’t gonna stay together. Andy, Matt and Jason laying down the hammer from the off!!

Having already done this climb three times before I wanted to savour the switchbacks and the famous plaques of riders who have won on this mountain along with taking in the magical views. Switchback 3 is honour to The Pirate, one of Cycling great losses. 

Once at the top we all reconvened for coffee before heading out to go up further over the Col de Serenne, some 2300 metres up this was new territory for myself and allowed me the chance to explore new terrain. Road surface wasn’t great but this added to the challenge and what it did present to us was the most amazing views and cracking descent back down to the valley. Quick Coca Cola stop and we had the final push back to base. Day 1 over and a well earned BBQ enjoyed by all. 

So this took us to today and our trip south to Mont Ventoux. Otherwise known as The Giant of Provence and one look tells you how it got its name towering in the distance from 30 miles away. This was going to be a challenging day with temperatures reaching 40 degrees. The first part of the climb is up through the trees to Chalet Reynard and here a welcomed cold drink awaited.  

From here we were left with the final 6 km’s to the summit and took us past the Tom Simpson memorial. Here 50 years ago the legend Tom Simpson collapsed during the Tour de France and lost his life. The memorial is a fitting tribute to a hero and legend in the cycling world. From here we were left with the final kilometre to the summit where a well earned cold drink awaited. The wind was getting up and this was going to make the descent interesting however didn’t stop me touching 55 mph!! From the bottom after a light lunch we had the final climb over the Col de la Madeleine before getting back to the van and setting off back to our chalet. 

Apologies for no pics as poor internet here in the Alps but please check out some on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Tomorrow is just a flush of the legs and day off the saddle. Until Thursday happy riding one and all.