It’s here at last!

Well another wheely good welcome to Paul Ashman Cycling again here on the start day of the greatest biggest sporting spectacle on the planet……..yes the Tour de France.
Last night the teams were presented to 100’s of fans in Dusseldorf and a chance to show off new bikes, new kits and their individual ambitions ahead of the next three weeks. Over this time the riders will cover over 3500 km’s, ride through all five mountain ranges in France and hopefully make it to the finish in Paris.
For each rider there is an individual ambition and we all have our favourites but I want to highlight where I think a few key moments will be decided over the course of the race. Without a doubt the general classification this year is going to be on of the closest on record and I think will go right to that penultimate day time trial in Marseille. Chris Froome is still the man to beat booths had an indifferent quiet start to 2017 but I think keeping the powder dry until the race starts. He has a super strong team around him and bar a massive mess up I cant see past him being on the stop step of the podium in Paris. However I do think he will be pushed all the way by Romain Bardet and of course his friend and old team mate Richie Porte.

Then there is the green points jersey and who can this possibly go to!!! Peter Sagan has won the last five years and is looking to equal the great Eric Zabel’s record of six consecutive wins in this competition and who can stop him?! He has that all round ability to win stages, get over the mountains and take sprint points. I certainly wouldn’t bet against him taking his sixth.

As for the rest of the race there is many riders who will be out to prove a point and get those elusive stage wins. Mark Cavendish returns from a long injury lay off to aim for more sprint wins, Steve Cummings fresh from national championship victories will look of r astute or two and of course lets not forget those mountain points hungry riders I am sure we will see battle it out at the summit finishes. 

What I can say is to will be one cracking race throwing up many exciting races and stages and I for now will be glued to the TV each day until I make my way out to Paris for the final stage. Until then happy cycling one and all.

Summer Cycling 👍😊🌞

Good Afternoon and a wheely good welcome to Paul Ashman Cyling and here we go with another update on all things cycling in my world. 
This warm weather really is a treat for us cyclists and gives us a feel for what the pros ride week in week out though the summer. It is enough to make you realise why they drink so many bottles on the stages. I read recently that on one stage in Spain riders were drinking 12 bottles on a stage, wow!!! Having recovered from what was a very successful operation I am now getting back out on the bike and putting miles into my legs in readiness for a solid month of riding in July.

July looks something like this for me…..Velothon Wales which is an 82 mile closed road sportive taking in the Tumble and Caerphilly mountain. Seven of us from my club doing it so all out in team colours will look good for the cameras. Later in the month I am doing London to Paris and back all for charity with my close friend Neil. Recently Neil’s brother at the age of 39 was diagnosed with cancer so a worthwhile cause for sure. 540 miles spread over 5 days with a stop in Paris to watch the final stage of the Tour de France. Then at the end of July off to the Alps for 8 days taking in Alpe D’Huez, Mont Ventoux, Cold de Galibier, Telegraph, D’Iozard and more. So as you can see an action packed but fun month out on the bike for me which I am very much looking forward to.

Just over a week ago I had the chance to witness two great cycling events in our great capital city. Saturday was the London Nocturne organised by Rapha. This event uses a 1.2km closed road criterium type route all in the shadows of St Pauls cathedral. The day starts with fun events including a penny farthing race and culminates in an evening elite race. Rapha pull out all the stops to put this event on and it is clearly a successful event that attracts the crowds in their 1000’s. 



Onto the Sunday and it was the turn of the Womens tour of Great Britain to roll into London for the final stage. Seeing the pro women race through the streets I think is so good to see women racing getting equal coverage and exposure to the men. The sun came out and it made a great afternoon racing. 


Anyway that is all for this time and as always get out on your bikes and ride safe. Please check out and follow Paul Ashman Cycling on Twitter and Instagram. 

Meet Eddy!

Hello and another wheely good welcome to Paul Ashman Cycling.
So this is a little blog to welcome you all to my new van known to me as Eddy. Why Eddy I hear you ask? Well the greatest most famous cyclist of all time was none other than Eddy Merckx so with the van being the mobile hub of Paul Ashman Cycling the name seemed apt and a fitting way to honour the great man.
The van was purchased locally and I was very lucky to find one in such good condition and with so many extras. That doesn’t mean it is done and completed by any means, in fact more a blank canvas allowing me to customise as I feel suited. The van needs to fulfil many criteria from my daily drive to a van for my bikes to a cycling trip van for home and abroad.

So far it has a full electric set up and is insulated, boarded and carpeted inside. The interior modifications are down to my great friend Neil who with his skills and vision will slowly transform it. First stop is new windows being fitted along with looking at various sleeping options for the inside. Then bike rack, seating, racking and more will follow. With Neil helping it will become a practical fully useable van for all needs. This weekend Neil (yes that man again) will apply the sign writing to the van so it will adorn the PAC logos, website etc and another step in setting the name seen by all.

Below are a few pics of where it is so far and as always any ideas or comments feel free to fire away. It seems a long way down the line but my ambition is to use this to follow the Tour de France round the whole of France for three weeks in my van.

Thanks for reading and please check out my Twitter and Instagram. Until next time happy riding one and all.

 

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.

The Most Beautiful Race

A wheely great welcome to Paul Ashman Cycling on this sunny May afternoon. I am sat writing this while awaiting my operation. Those who have followed my woes over the last year will know where I am at but having been cancelled this week it is scheduled for next week and hopefully these head pains will soon be a thing of the past and my racing and riding can get back on track.

So as I write this the most beautiful race in the world is on the TV, yes the Giro D’Italia. This race is the 100th edition of the first grand tour of the year and the organisers have pulled out all stops to make this a special one. Starting on the gorgeous island of Sardinia the race has since moved to Sicily for the summit finish on Mount Etna and now it is firmly back on the mainland. The route is one of testing climbs, demanding time trials, explosive sprint stages and parcours made for breakaways. Already the pink jersey has changed hands four times and given us five winners. The sprints for Greipel and Gaviria and a classic summit win from Polanc amongst the stages so far.

The big boys will come to the fore this Sunday with the first serious summit finish of Blochaus mountain and who will bet against the likes of Nibali, Quintana and our own G battling out on the slopes. What we do know is the next 15 stages of this race will throw up some surprises and give us some superb racing. Catch it all on Quest TV and Eurosport and enjoy!!!

I am off to the Spin Cycling Festival this weekend so check out my instagram for updates throughout the day on Saturday from this cool fashionable show and until next time happy riding one and all.

Polanc atop Etna

Greipel sprinting to victory

Cycling Clubs…..we love them!

A wheely good welcome back to Paul Ashman Cycling and I hope with the summer approaching and the weather turning you are all out riding and using those bikes you own in the glorious British countryside.
We have all seen the groups of cycling clubs on the roads adorning matching jerseys and looking smart rolling the roads on their steeds but what is it that gives a club that appeal?

I myself am the secretary of the Recycles RCC club here in Swindon and I have to say it is a position I am proud to hold and I thoroughly enjoy running the club. Here at our club it is all about having fun, the social camaraderie and the feeling of being part of a group. Whether someone to help with a mechanical or just a companion to ride with we pride ourselves on all of the above. The Recycles RCC has been running for eighteen months now and has a healthy membership of 35 members, not bad for a brand new club in a town that already has eight clubs in the town or the immediate surrounding area. 

Some clubs pride themselves on competition and racing and this is where many a pro if not all the pros in the peleton starting their careers. They will all say those early days of the support and help given to them is where it all began and brings me back to what we at our club and all others offer, that support and friendly face to get you on the road. 

Some clubs will specialise in racing whether road races or time trials, some doing sportives and trips away and some doing the regular weekly club ride with a coffee stop. Whichever your club does it doesn’t matter as what you can be guaranteed is a friendly face from a like minded individual wanting enjoy riding their bike like you do yours.

Cycling clubs go back years. While my club is relatively new with a small number of members some clubs go back over a hundred years with upwards of 2/300 members. Currently Cycling Weekly and the Bike Channel are running very interesting articles and TV shows on clubs and going deep into the clubs to talk to the riders and members. What it shows is the clubs are growing, cycling is growing and I think every club ride involves the mandatory cafe stop en route. Lets be honest if the pros can have coffee while out training or before a race then that coffee and carrot cake really isn’t going to hurt us, but remember only one piece of cake!!!

So how do you get into a club? Well every part of the land has a club so enquire at your local shop or google cycling clubs in your area. What I can guarantee is a friendly welcoming smile and support and friendship like none other, certainly thats what we at Swindon Recycles RCC pride ourselves on.

Check us out at http://www.recycles-swindon.co.uk and if in the area please get in touch with me via email or phone and come join us.

Until the next time stay safe and ride happy.

My first Paris Roubaix 

A wheely good welcome back to Paul Ashman Cycling. 

In a previous blog I wrote what is a classic, well this weekend just gone I witnessed what truly is one of the greatest if not the greatest of them all. Sometimes known as Hell of the North I had the pleasure of being at Paris Roubaix for the weekend. 

Saturday I headed out of Swindon early en route to Compiegne chauffeured all the way by Richard (thanks for driving mate👍). Compiegne is a beautiful riverside town North of Paris and here on the Saturday afternoon all the teams are paraded in front of the fans. The sun was shining, chilled beer flowing and it involved cycling….pretty good afternoon I’d say. As the  teams arrived there was a stampede for the coaches as fans wanted to meet their heroes and get the autographs they craved. For me I had two on the agenda, Peter Sagan and Tom Boonen. As the Bora bus came into town it was clear it wasn’t just me who wanted the world champions signature as the coach was totally mobbed. I always have this knack of right place at the right time and this was no different as I successfully managed his autograph on my yellow jersey and of course a selfie!!


I have to say aside the crowds he was cheery and made time for all the fans, good on him. Getting his signature on my yellow jersey along with the pen of Eric Zabel and Greg Van Avermaart over the weekend took my tally to 23. I’m seriously struggling to find more space on the jersey. So this now left me to hunt down Tom Boonen. Tom was riding his last race before retirement after nearly 20 years in the sport. He has won most classics including Paris Roubaix four times, Flanders, worn the yellow jersey at the Tour and for many the highlight in 2005 him winning the coveted raindbow bands. This was where I was interested as I had a replica jersey of that season and my mission was to get it signed. Well if the Bora bus was busy then the Quick Step bus arriving signalled carnage. Grown men, women and children running and scrabbling for a place to meet the man himself. Again luck was on my side and I got the man himself to sign the jersey. 


After the delight of getting these I took some well earned time out to watch the team presentation in the sun wearing my new purchase, a Lotto Soudal team cap.  This rounded off a great first day before we headed North to Roubaix for our overnight stop. 


So the main day arrived and we woke to sun, not just a splattering of sun but bright clear blue skies and clearly a sign that the hottest day of the year was upon us. To be exact later that day it hit 27 degrees in the velodrome. Having either of us never been to this race before it was a case of find our bearings and work out which entrance to the velodrome we would use. Priority would be once inside a great view of the track and the main screen to watch the afternoons race unfold. 


Well we found our spot and hooked up with Scott from Brisbane. He was telling us how he had flown over from down under to purely watch Flanders the previous weekend and Roubaix, now that is commitment for you if there ever was. Throughout the afternoon the race took many twists and turns and every time Tom Boonen appeared on the screen the velodrome erupted. Sadly it wasn’t to be his day because as five riders contested the sprint Greg Van Avermaart conquered to take his first monument of his career and cap a stellar classics season having already taken E3, Omloop and Gent Wevegelm. Few would have said otherwise as he truly deserved this having crashed and punctured twice during the race. After the race we got to wander the buses and team cars before the journey home. This race was a dry one but seeing the backs of the cars and riders faces you realise just how dusty and mucky it is out on the cobbles. 


So all this left was the small matter of the journey home which went smoothly and we were back in Swindon late Sunday evening. So a few questions I pose:

Will I go again? Most definitely yes!

Was it as good as it’s made out to be? Better by far!

Would I change anything? YES……take suncream haha!!!

So this leaves me to say enjoy the sun and happy riding one and all and until next time stay safe out on your bikes.