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!!!

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. 

We only went and did it!!!

A wheely good morning to you all and I hope you are all doing well. 

So yep we only went and did it Paris and back in 5 days with 552 miles done. I know I have bombarded my social media streams over the last few days with our trip but we both just want to say a massive huge thanks to everyone for all the support along the way. It was a challenge and we have ended up with a couple of aches and pains but worth every minute of the trip. 

When Neil suggested the tongue in cheek idea of riding there and back to watch Le Tour I have to say I agreed not quite realising the scale of the trip. However after many hours of planning, some huge headwinds, rain and loads of fun we had a scream. And the best bit raising over £3500 for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity which is close to our hearts as it’s the charity supporting Neil’s brother. 

So again a massive thanks and until next time happy riding folks 👍🚴🏻😊

Only one day to go….

Evening and hope you are all wheely well. So this morning we set off from Paris on the penultimate leg of our journey. It was a chilly but dry start so at that point all looked favourable for a showed days riding. 


Anyway we set off from Paris and made great time getting to Amiens at lunch for a refuel at subway, not as French as we would have liked but it did the job. Setting off for the final 90 miles to Montreuil is where it all changed!! The wind turned to a head on, the rain came along and it made a grim journey. Legs were burning, wind was howling and and rain was cold but we kept in great spirits to land at the hotel by 6pm. And even better the hosts had a chilled beer waitin for us 👍😊


After a quick shower it was time to get dinner and that was a well earned meal. After over 9 hours in the saddle today I could have ate a horse but settled on omelette. It’s now bedtime and tomorrow we have the final 140 miles back to London. 

This trip has been epic and thank you so much for all the support along the way. All the tweets, texts and messages mean loads. It’s time for zzzzzzz’s now here in Montreuil. As always check out all the Paul Ashman Cycling social media streams and will be back tomorrow with a day 4 update. Cheers. 

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.