Monday, 2 December 2013

Peak Cycle Performance

Over the summer of 2013, Guy and Will approached me to look into different ways to improve the cohesion of the therapy rooms upstairs of Pearson Performance shop in Sheen with the Pearson CycleFit going on next door. I'm a Chiropractor with 20 years experience of running an very busy private practice and I jumped at the chance to combine two of my passions - cycling and healthcare.

So the concept of a therapy service team of chiropractors, physiotherapists and massage therapists called Summit Wellbeing was born. I didn't want to stop there as I needed to link together clearly the concept of 'get the right fit' to 'get the right body', hence Peak Cycle Performance was created as a project that unites the Pearsons CycleFit with Summit Wellbeing to provide the one stop shop, all under the one roof, caring for all you physical cycling needs.

Summit Wellbeing is a private health clinic, not just for cyclists, with chiropractors, physiotherapists and massage therapists helping you reach your peak of health and wellbeing. We've got Ricky Davis on board who is the lead clinician and chiropractor with heaps of sports specific training. He's also an Ironman triathlete, hence he understands the stresses cycling can place on the body. Doing the massage is Becky Lanigan, she is a fantastic massage therapist trained at the London School of massage and has loads of sports specific experience. She was on Le Trois Etape in 2013 as part of the massage support team for this grueling 3 day event. Lastly is James Vickers, a Physiotherapist who is just back from spending the whole summer with the NZ triathlon team in their base in the Pyrenees. It goes without saying that he understands the mechanics of the cyclist.

The Peak Cycle Performance concept looks to be expanding into not just the services of Pearsons Cyclefit, and Summit Wellbeing, but also physiological testing, blood profiling and training plan support. This truly makes Pearsons Performance the one stop shop for the cyclist.

Please check us out at either www.peakcycleperformance.co.uk or www.summitwellbeing.co.uk

See you on the road...

Friday, 15 November 2013

Cruise Through The Winter Blues

We can no longer deny it. The days have drawn in and the temperature has dropped. It’s about time to put your pride and joy back into the shed for the some hibernation. The question is what is the perfect winter hack? My loyal Pearson Easy Come Easy Go was recently in the workshop for its regular service and I’ve now got to fork out for a new chain, cassette, chainrings, brake pads and cables. This will cost well over a hundred pounds and has got me thinking, are gears really worth all this extra hassle and cost?

For me there are really two answers to this question. Yes, because I still need/want gears for when I ride on the weekends but considering my 17 mile commute is pretty flat I’m starting to think omitting the gears may save me some hard earned cash that I can then squander on that Castelli Gabba jersey I’ve been hankering after. I know what you’re thinking. Three bikes? But to reference rule #12 I don’t think this is really the point. It's more about having a bike for the right purposes than aimlessly increasing the size of one’s bike shed in the name of vanity, narcissism or whatever you want to call it and no I’m not suggesting we all go out and buy snow bikes. (Although I admit I’d quite like one!)

There are certainly benefits to riding fixed through the winter. Singlespeed chains use thicker plates that don’t stretch as quickly as geared models, therefore lasting longer. There are less moving parts resulting in reduced complexity so there’s much less to go wrong. Riding fixed also has its benefits. The ability to reduce one’s speed without using the brakes can spell the end of slipping in icy conditions. You’ll also be getting stronger by lacking that “dump gear” leaving you with no choice but to grin and bear it, this means you ought to be mighty fast by the time spring comes around.

Enter the Pearson “Once More Unto the Breach”. Our latest incarnation of the fabled and much loved Touche – a bike that can be found on every continent around the globe. The Touche was an industry first. We pre-empted the “fixie rush” by taking a standard road frame with a slack head angle for improved stability and adding horizontal dropouts with track spacing, so for a start this bike rides like a road bike rather than like a track bike. It is more stable, has reduced toe overlap and is generally more fun and inspiring to ride, throw in the ability to fit proper full length mudguards and a rack and you have a loyal friend to last through even the harshest of winters.

Constructed from 7005 series double butted aluminium, the “Once More...” features an internal cartridge bearing headset for improved sealing and reliability, replaceable dropouts for better longevity and dual bottle cage mounts for longer rides. You also get a carbon fork to reduce road chatter.

We custom build every bike to the customer’s specification so you can have your own aesthetic. More importantly we measure you for handlebars prior to purchase and also fit the correct length stem meaning that a much better fit can be achieved without the need for spending additional money like on an “off the peg” bike. If you want something a little more classic we also have a steel offering. The smoother riding “Now You See Me” boasts all the same features as the “Once More...” but replaces aluminium with a Reynolds 520 steel frame.

Upgrades can also be made to include full guards, racks, bomb proof winter tyres, and for the classic look, cuffs and collars with Brooks saddle and leather tape in the colours you love.

All in all, for those who thought they had their stable full, here’s some food for thought...

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Rule 12 - A Customer Review

Rule #12 - The correct number of bikes to own is n+1... (For a full list of the rules, click here)

Dear Stuart,

Many thanks for your efforts in locating the correct frame size for me at very short notice, this was much appreciated. This brings my number of bikes above the minimum required (i.e. 3) and also represents n+1 and s-1, according to rule 12#, making me almost fully Rules Compliant, just in time for the summer.

To the bike: I thought other potential Pearsons customers would like to know what it is like, so here goes.

Straight out of the box, the Domane 4.5 is better-looking than it appears in photographs, it has a snazzy black and white paint job, with coordinating Bontrager R2 25mm tyres. The saddle, spokes, hubs, rims and groupo are all rendered in shades of black and grey and the cables housings are in white. Very nice.

Looking at the tubes, the top half of the bike is sturdy but graceful, with very slender seat stays promising comfort at the rear, and a truly monolithic bottom bracket, that would take a much heavier and stronger rider than me to flex it. The bike looks, and feels, extremely stable in motion.

All of the important parts of the transmission are Ultegra, except the Shimano R565 cranks and the 105 brakes. I am sure they weigh a few grams more than Ultegra but I found no problems at all with them on my first few laps of Richmond Park.

Anyone buying this bike will be looking for long ride comfort and the bike delivers exactly that. My usual ride is a titanium Guru Praemio, itself an extremely plush long-distance cruiser, and I am used to taking it down narrow, gravel-strewn Surrey lanes as well as traversing the scarred and pot-holed hell of London roads, so I am fairly demanding in the area of posterior comfort when the going gets rough. Even so, I was pleasantly surprised by the Domane. Intuitively, I kept on "unweighting" as I approached man-hole covers, gaps in the tarmac and speed-bumps, bracing my arms and legs for the inevitable jarring impact, but each time I was left wondering why I had bothered as the bike took the obstacle in it's stride. Eventually I deliberately rode over a speed bump without lifting my derriere at all and I was amazed to feel the seatpost flex, without it affecting my pedaling stroke at all. There was a springy lift that didn't quite cause me to lose contact with the saddle. I am curious to know what that might feel like over a cobbled surface, but is was a great deal preferable to crashing into the bump and trying not to have my hands go over the top of the hoods, which might have been what I would have expected on an aluminium framed bike.

There is an odd knock-on effect of all of that comfort and stability; at first I thought the bike was a little slow. This idea was dispelled quite quickly by a look at the speedometer and my heart rate. There is so much less vibration and so much less flex that I had simply not realised how much effort I was putting in or how quietly the bike was going about its' business.

In summary:

  • Better-looking than I thought, always a bonus
  • Even smoother than I thought
  • Good basic spec., obvious upgrades would be wheels, tyres, and possibly a carbon bar
  • Not a racing machine, but by no means slow
  • Not especially light, but by no means heavy (around 18 lbs all-in for 58 cm frame, with pedals, cages, and the supplied wheels and tyres)
  • Excellent for fast sportives over varied terrain, and general winter riding.
  • Foul-weather ready with it's concealed Duotrap computer housing and its' vanishing mudguard points.

As always, having this bike assembled by an expert offers enormous peace of mind when descending winding country lanes at over 30 mph.

Thanks again, Stuart.

Written by a satisfied Pearsons' Customer

Monday, 17 June 2013

London-Brighton-London 2013

The Annual edition of Pearson CC's LBL went full steam ahead this year. As usual, a good compliment of riders met at Carshalton Ponds at 6am and joined the BHF London to Brighton ahead of the masses.

Resplendent in Pearson kit, we rode gently out into the Surrey countryside. After gathering pace off the North Downs, the group broke up into two parts after the London Dynamo caught us at Smallfield, increasing the pace to race speed for a few miles before we regrouped at Turners Hill. We soon cracked on to the famous Beacon and raced up at max effort, as is traditional here, to then enjoy a fantastic descent to the seaside. As usual, the lovely Regency café on the Brighton front welcomed us as well as the riders from the Norwood Paragon, Addiscombe CC and the Dynamo.

Everyone filled their bottles for the journey back and set off at a brisk pace, winding our way through leafy lanes at various speeds and so again breaking into smaller groups. One rider who took an early bath was Will Tilbury who broke his bike riding out of the town. He had to get a cab back to Gatwick, then a train direct to Pearsons to get it fixed..

Inevitably, the front group got faster with a couple of hitters cranking up the pace. The groups split again so most people finished the ride in ones and twos. Most riders had done a hundred miles or more, the quickest done at 19mph.

It's one of the best days riding the club does and we shall continue doing it, so come along next year!

Written by Guy Pearson

Monday, 13 May 2013

Ridley Excalibur

Ridley Excalibur - Carbon Di2 Ultegra

White Ridley Excalibur

RRP £3300 Now only £1999. White Green or Black options available.

Black Ridley Excalibur

Our Opinion

Ridley bikes have been developed from a true cycling heritage of the Belgian cycling scene. Ridley's slogan - "We Are Belgium" sums up where the bikes stem from; long one day races, cobbles, driving rain and cruel winds all thrown into the pot to create bikes with real grit and pedigree.

My brother guy and I noticed the rise of Ridley as a manufacturer for more reasons than one, starting our partnership with them over ten years ago. The company was aligned with where we had come from in cycling. Cold, wet cross races in winter, and cold, wet road races in summer! These were the type of bikes we aspired to ride when we were school boys, through our racing years, to what is now more sportive orientated activity (and the odd foolish notion to race again!)

The range is tight and avoids the "fillers" that so many brands seem to unnecessarily show to pad out their product offerings. Their designs have always had a certain point of difference and stand apart from the humdrum of the everyday that manufacturers churn out year on year. Each model has permission to be there, from simple, make sense models such as the versatile Tempo Race, to the development of the jaw dropping flagship models such as the Fast. Ridley covers all genres of performance cycling in a well-conceived and concise way.

The Frame

Quality has been the key to the popularity of the Excalibur over the past few years. It's supremacy has been maintained by using one of the highest grades of very tough, lightweight carbon fibre in a monocoque frame.

Over the years, the Excalibur has remained a cut about the rest by adorning the latest innovations from top level professional racing, making it the best friend of any aspiring leisure rider. Stability and efficiency is provided by an oversized down tube, oversized lower headset bearing and full carbon fork. The addition of sleek, vibration damping seat stays keep comfort levels high. Any finer road temors are filtered throughout by the combination of 25 and 30 ton carbon fibre.

Fitting

Rider position is all important, some background -

Pearson Cyclefit is designed to enable our customers to reach their optimum position on a bike. Needless to say, this is not necessarily the position Sir Wiggo would be seen in when pounding down the Champs Élysées! There are many factors will determine a rider's optimum position, such as body shape, type of riding, suppleness, injury issues and often other surprise factors we find when interviewing a customer for Cyclefit.

If you can bend it like Bikram (the god of hot yoga) then fantastic! You could probably ride this bike with the handlebar 'slammed to the top of the head tube in a super aggressive, traditional road racing position. The reality is most riders have limited range of movement, aches and pains and require more sedate positions when riding.

This is where the versatility of the Excalibur geometry plays it's unassuming part. The longer head tube is naturally higher, assisting the rider into a less back-cramping position. Compare the Excalibur to typical road bike geometries and notice the difference. Steerer heights (the gap between the top of the headtube and the lower part of the handlebar stem) have been maximised to give the option of keeping the bars high. The spacers in this gap can then be moved above or below the stem to fine tue height. Once a customer is happy, any remaining fork column above the stem can be trimmed to size. Some customers simply leave this to future proof the bike for resale, or to allow for any need to move to a more upright position again.

Remember it's not all about flat, aerodynamic, contorted backs. Optimised Cyclefit positions are designed to allow riders to be efficient and comfortable, enabling faster and longer rides.

Size Comparison Chart

Excalibur  XS     S     M     L     XL     
Tarmac       S       M       L       XL       XXL  
Roubaix     S     M     L     XL     XXL  
Madone       S       M       L       XL       XXL  
Domane     S     M     L     XL     XXL  

Do You Need Electronic Gears?

Yes! Of course you do. It's a bit like a mobile phone - it took a while for people to come around to the idea of having one with cost and reliability being the main considerations. You wouldn't even think twice now.

Shimano Di2 has been around for a while. It was first trialled in the 2009 Tour De France and the research and design initially poured into the concept seems to have proved itself flawlessly since. This can be substantiated by the huge sales of DuraAce Di2 henceforth, firmly establishing it's place in the current market.

The launch of Ultegra Di2 in 2012 seems to continue this trend. The groupsets have been used on everything from road bikes to cyclocross bikes and still works like a dream in every conceivable condition.

Truthfully, back in 2010 we still had our doubts, always thinking the purist would still hanker after mechanical gearing. Those who have committed have not been disappointed. To our great delight, the smooth running and effciency of electronic gears has even led customers to retro fit their second bike with ACDC. Now, given the relative price of Di2 coupled with this high grade carbon bike, it suddenly becomes a very attractive offering.

Who would buy this bike?

At it's original price point of £3300, the Excalibur would normally grab the attention of the second time buyer. Notably one that has already bought into the idea of cycling with an aluminium road machine and aspires to something for the weekend. Also, the long term rider whose constant need for something new and exciting will also love this sort of bike for the calibre of frame and their yearning to embrace the latest in transmission technology.

It is still entirely relevant to these indiciduals. However at the lower price, it is now also relevant to the first time buyer. who may wish to future proof a purchase, thus avoiding the need for any further major upgrades or a second bike.

I hope this helps with a little insight as to why we would scoop purchase the Excalibur Di2. Apologies too, but if your are tempted then please strike while the iron is hot. We only have limited numbers and sizes to go around! You won't regret it...

Written by Will Pearson

Bicycle Specification - CLICK HERE

Green Ridley Excalibur

Excalibur Reviews

Ultegra Di2 Reviews

Ridley Videos

This video from Ridley will tell you about the Flandrian version of the Excalibur. There are some useful points, but our version has a full Di2 Ultegra groupset and the bike is available in white, green and Lotto black.


Thanks to our friends at Wiggle for this video.


Learn about the Ridley company - make yourself comfortable first!

http://vimeo.com/48194421

Jonny Hoogerland testing his Ridley through a barbed wire fence in 2011, straight back on - what a legend!

Ultegra Di2 Videos

Apologies in advance for the cheese.


Poor Shimano rep is interrogated by this delicate lady, thanks for the expigation...

Order Yours Here

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Mavic Ksyrium SLR

The humble wheel has graced our planet for aeons - since around 3500BC to be a little more (but not completely) precise. These were simple, solid blocks of wood cut into a circle and stuck onto an axle. Fast forward a couple of thousand years and this design was revolutionised with the advent of the spoked wheel, reducing weight to be predominantly used in chariots. Stay with me folks this is actually relevant. Fast forward another 2000 or so years and the beautiful thing we know as the common bicycle was born. Wheel design now uses steel spokes hooked into holes in the hub (where the axle of the wheel is located.) Tension is applied to the spokes using threaded nipples that are inserted through holes in the rim. This collection of components and the way in which they are married together has been the benchmark construction process for almost all wheels on bicycles. Some might say the wheel had been perfected. And it had.

Until Mavic arrived with the mighty Ksyrium SL in 1999. This design completely changed the way we look at wheels. The nipples were integrated into the rim by way of being threaded directly into the structure, removing the need to have holes straight through the rim thus creating a more structurally sound component. The steel that had been used for the spokes for so many years was replaced with high grade aluminium which created an unparalleled level of torsional stiffness in the wheel, translating to unbeatable acceleration and superb handling properties.

In 2008 Mavic were back reinventing with the R-SYS. This time replacing the aluminium spokes with tubular carbon units. This worked on the same philosophy of the wheels used in chariots - working in traction and compression (conventional spoked wheels only work in traction - otherwise known as tension). This improved upon the already excellent stiffness offered by the Ksyrium at the same time as improving comfort and reducing weight.

Today Mavic have merged these two technologies into what I feel is one of the most versatile wheels on the market - the Ksyrium SLR.

Weighing in at 1440 grams for a pair without tyres and tubes, the SLRs represent the pinnacle of conventional, serviceable wheel design. Using a Ksyrium SL front wheel paired with an R-SYS rear wheel. This combination offers good aerodynamics thanks to the deep bladed spokes up front and huge levels of stiffness from the rear wheel thanks to those TRACOMP (see what they did there?) carbon spokes. The wheels are then treated to Mavic’s own Exalith process. The exact details of this process remain behind closed doors at Mavic headquarters but we do know that it penetrates the aluminium of the lightly machined rim keeping the braking surface a constant anthracite colour for apparently thousands of miles. This process not only improves longevity but also boosts braking performance by up to 18% which is most noticeable in the wet. Mavic have also designed this as a "wheel-tyre system" claiming the tyres are designed around the wheels. Personally I can't really see the point but the fitted tyres are very similar in ride quality to a Schwalbe Ultremo and they add to the value of the wheel.

Out on the road the SLRs show no signs of wind up, transmitting every ounce of your effort into forward momentum. They iron out a suitable amount of road vibrations thanks to those carbon spokes. They handle with pin sharp accuracy but what really strikes you when riding these wheels is when you hit the anchors. I'm talking hold onto your eyeballs because you might lose them! The braking has more power than the grip in the tyres will allow and there's loads of control and modulation. The tyres hook up well when slung into an apex at high speed and seem to carry speed pretty well. There's also the look of the wheels to take into account. Is your bike looking a little dull? Freshen it up with a pair of SLRs available from your friendly Pearson performance stores in Sutton or Sheen.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Trauma of Snow and Ice

Like many of you, as an avid hater of public transport (especially when it can't cope with a bit of snow and ice) and someone who definitely gets cabin-fever when I can't ride my bike, I have been guilty of taking the bike out on the roads when common-sense really should have prevailed. So, with ice and snow still lying on some of the roads outside, I thought it quite topical to write about a traumatic injury that cyclists ofter sustain - a broken collarbone. Whilst overuse injuries far outweigh traumatic injuries in non-competitive cyclists, hiting the ground at this time of year is not entirely uncommon.

But firstly, in an attempt to keep us safe, here are a few simple tips for riding on icy roads courtesy of road.cc:

  • Use a slightly wider tyre and lower your tyre pressure.
  • If you have a fixie, use it. You can slow a fixie down on ice without using the brakes whilst maintaining power and traction to the back wheel.
  • Keep to the main roads - they will be much clearer of ice than quiet back roads.
  • Stay away from the kerb.
  • Give yourself longer to stop, gently using the back (not front) brake.
  • Choose your line carefully.
  • Watch out for roads with cambers.
  • Keep your pedalling smooth. Sometimes a harder gear than normal will help you to maintain traction.

Oooops!

Should this fail to keep you upright, an unfortunate consequence may be that you land directly on your shoulder or on an outstretched hand and fracture your clavicle (collarbone.) Fractured clavicles are the most common type of fracture suffered by cyclists, with 70-80% breaking the narrow middle-third of the bone, which lacks the muscular and ligamentous attachments of the ends. An X-ray will diagnose your fracture, so the first stop should be your local A&E department!

If your clavicle proves to be intact, other sources of shoulder pain from this type of fall can be acromioclavicular joint (ACJ) sprains, rotator cuff tears or shoulder disloactions/subluxations just to name a few. Your Sports Physiotherapist will be able to help you in these cases.

Conservative Management and Physiotherapy

For minimally displaced fractures, the injury is usually managed by immobilisation in a sling for 4-6 weeks. In the past, a figure-8 bandage has also been used although it is less common these days. During this time, it is very important to begin an early supervised exercise program to prevent secondary complications such as stiffness ("frozen shoulder") poor postures and compensatory movement patterns. This program will be gradually progressed to improve strength and flexibility of the shoulder as the injury heals.

When can I get back on my bike?

Riding a bike places significant loads upon the arms and shoulders and your bone needs to have healed sufficiently for it to take this load i.e. >4-6 weeks. A turbo trainer is the most sensible place to start and riding should be relatively pain free with no increase in symptoms afterwards. You may need to alter your riding position (raising the front end) and it may also be a good opportunity to work on getting those core muscles to do some more work to offload your arms! Returning to the road carries far more risk as another fall could re-break the clavicle before it has fully healed. Your orthopedic surgeon will advise you on this, but it will not be less than 12 weeks, usually more.

Do I Need An Operation?

There are advantages and disadvantages to having your fracture managed surgically. We've all seen Tour De France riders breaking their collarbones and being back on their bikes in a matter of weeks. However, they ARE professional cyclists! An early consultation with a shoulder specialist should determine whether it is appropriate for you. They will consider factors such as your age, activity level, personal preference, fracture type, damage to blood vessels/nerves and other injuries sustained.

Early fixation of clavicle fractures has some advantages, such as:

  • Earlier return to work and activities.
  • Less pain (if the fracture is stabilised)
  • Better chance of healing (as the bone ends are lined up together.)
  • Less chance of deformity and mal-union.

However, there are potential complications, which include:

  • Risk of infection.
  • Risk of numb patch below scar.
  • Possible scar problems (which could be cosmetically unattractive)
  • Failure of fixation.

One final point on bone healing - Both NSAIDs (e.g. ibuprofen, naproxen etc) and smoking have been shown to retard bone healing, so it may be an idea to lay off the anti-inflammatories (paracetamol can be used as a painkiller) and cigarettes until you are healed!

By Nicole Oh - Pearson Physiotherapy

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Vittoria Open Pavé CGs

So who enjoys going slow? Nobody? So why, I ask you, do so many people insist on fitting hard compound, heavy, stiff tyres to their bikes in the winter? Puncture resistance some of you may say but frankly, I think that's a bit of a cop out. Don't get me wrong, products like the Conti Ultra Gatorskin are fabulous tyres for the money - they roll well, have good puncture resistance and have good grip. If you want something a little more performance orientated you could do no wrong by going with a Continental GP4season which may sacrifice a small amount of puncture resistance but it is lighter and rolls better. I spent years on the 4seasons running them over thousands of miles and never really had any gripes.

Then I tried a set of Vittoria Open Pavé CGs. The Open Pavé is the tyre of choice for most riders through the Paris-Roubaix, a gruelling, cobbled 250km race through France. It is fabled for it's exceptional grip, good puncture resistance and buttery smooth ride quality.

There is absolutely nothing in my mind that compares to these tyres. The 320TPI (more on that in a minute) core spun casing offers an unparalleled ride quality, almost tubular like. The tyre smoothes out road imperfections beautifully at the same time as taking the edge off the Surrey potholes. Puncture resistance is good - over 4000 miles last winter I reckon I only picked up one or two flats. And then there's the grip. Winter brings greasy roads, but with these tyres you can rest easy knowing you can hit a corner guns blazing and really lay the bike down flat. They really are much more confidence inspiring than any other "winter" tyre I've used.

Based on the fabled Open Corsa CX, the Pavé uses the same 320TPI casing. TPI standing for threads per inch. What this means is that you get a much more flexible carcass with a larger contact area to the road and an increased air volume - hence the "magic carpet ride" of the tyres. This high tech and relatively expensive carcass is bolstered by Vittoria's PRB 2.0 Kevlar breaker for added security which brings a 24c width tyre in at 240g.

There are of course some drawbacks. All this performance doesn't come cheap - £54.99 a tyre. They also won't last you as long as some of the continental offerings as the soft compound cuts up quite easily and will wear out faster. Be that as it may I wouldn't use anything else. Yes they're expensive but what's that got to do with anything? They roll better than any other comparable tyre, are more comfortable and grip and grip and grip. Head down to your friendly local Pearson Performance store at Sutton or Sheen to check them out.